A day out at Hever Castle, England

Hever Castle England History MelBTravel UK

Hever Castle & Gardens England is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I. It is one of my favourite castles to visit on a day trip out from London and I never get tired of bringing family and friends here to learn and to explore the stunning castle grounds.

The castle is open all year round and offers various activities for both children and adults. As well as an opportunity to spend the night in the castle grounds in either their B&B or Luxury cottage. If you want to make the most of your time, then check online before you go what activities and programmers are running during your visit.

View of Hever Castle from the surrounding grounds

Days out from London – Hever Castle England

A day out from London to Hever Castle

If you are looking for a great day out from London then Hever Castle & Gardens and you enjoy history then this is your place to visit.  It is located in the county of Kent, England, around 48 km’s (30miles) out of London.

It is especially pretty in spring when the flowers are blooming. From wandering around inside Hever Castle learning about its rich history, exploring the colourful gardens or getting lost in one of the two mazes, you can see why it is easy to spend a whole day out here.


History of Hever Castle

It is hard to believe the History behind Hever Castle formed the unlikely backdrop to a sequence of tumultuous events that changed the course of Britain’s history, monarchy and religion. Like Henry VIII breaking from the Roman Catholic Church and forming the Church of England so he could divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn.

Side view of Hever Castle

Hever Castle and Gardens

Dating back as early as the 13th century, Hever Castle & Gardens has everything that you would want from a castle, a drawbridge, a moat to protect the castle, a Grand Hall, detailed pieces of furniture like four-poster beds, panelled rooms the list goes on. 

 

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What I find interesting about the Hever Castle is that up until the early 1980’s it was used as a family residence. So you have a mixture of modern and antique furniture that somehow works really well together. 

The ivy covered entrance of Hever Castle

Hever castle history – The drawbridge entrance

Much of what you see today is the result of William Waldorf Astor, an American millionaire who used his fortune to restore and extend the Castle in the early 20th century, before selling it on to the current owners, who have opened up the gardens and castle to the public. 

There is an exhibition inside the castle that contains pictures and memorabilia relating to the Astor family, who were the owners for 80 years and responsible for most of the restorations.

Tip 
  • Look out for the two prayer books which belonged to Anne Boleyn and bear her inscriptions and signature, in The Book of Hours Room. 
london to hever castle

The Moat around Hever Castle – England

Walk around the spectacular Gardens

The gardens are just as impressive as Hever Castle itself and are a spectacular site to walk around especially during the spring season when all the flowers are blooming and bursting with colour. Set in 125 acres of the grounds the stunning gardens are a mix of Italian and Tudor design dating back over a 100 years in some areas. 

From the 4,000 rose bushes, the dramatic hedges the eye-catching wall features to the various water features. The gardens of Hever Castle is the place is a garden lovers paradise. 

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Hever Castle always had a pretty garden but it was not until William Waldorf Astor acquired the castle that he set about having the gardens transformed to display his collection of Italian sculptures. Over 1,000 men worked on the ground design with around 800 men taking two years to dig out the lake, situated at the end of the gardens with the Loggia. 

Colourful flowers in the gardens

Things to do at Hever Castle England

There is a lot to see and do, from relaxing on the Loggia and Piazza while overlooking the lake to strolling along the gardens admiring the water features and grottoes, to the Rose Garden Wall containing over 4,000 bulbs. You can understand how you could easily spend a few hours just in the gardens wandering.

Read more about Anne Boleyn the 2nd Wife of  Henry VIII

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Please note;  That you can not walk on the grass inside the Hever Castle Gardens.

Tip
  • There is a little shop that is adjoined to the Loggia, it is a great spot to grab a snack and have a break.
Tours of Hever castle from London England

Looking through arched columns over the lake – Hever Castle

Hever castle mazes

Who does not love exploring a maze and seeing if you can reach the middle before everyone else? Hever Castle has two fun mazes that are completely different from each other. The English Yew Maze made of hedges and splashing Water Maze made of steps above the water. 

Both will keep your family and friends amused for ages and will test your sense of direction and of course your memory as you try and make your way to the centre!!

Tip
  • Both Mazes final entry is 45 minutes before the grounds close. 

Yew Maze

The Yew Maze is located near the front of the entrance to Hever castle on the forecourt and with its hedges reaching up to eight feet in height, you can’t miss it. The 100-year-old Yew Maze is one of only a few traditionally designed mazes in the country and is very popular with all the visitors of Hever.

It does not matter how many times I have gone into the Yew Maze, I always forget where to go.  

Ornamental floral display at the entrance to the hedge maze

The Yew Maze – Hever Castle England

Water Maze

As they say ‘Looks are deceiving’ and that is what comes to mind the first time you see the Hever Castle Water Maze, it is a maze with a difference. What looks like a straightforward walk on a few stones to the middle is not as easy as you think once you step onto that first stepping stone.

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Located on Sixteen Acre Island the Water Maze Heaver Castle is a series of tilted steppingstone walkways that sits above the water.  If you stand on the wrong one, water jets shoot up underneath getting you all wet. The aim is to reach the stone grotto in the centre without getting wet.

Please note; Children under the age of 5 need to be accompanied by an adult.

Waterfall at the centre of the water maze

How to get to Hever Castle from London

Hever Castle & Gardens is located in the county of Kent, England and is roughly around 30 miles away from central London and the best way to get there is via either a car or by an organised tour group.

However, if you do not drive, then you can get a train from London to either Edenbridge or Hever but both a bit of a distance from the castle.

⇒ Travelling by train to other parts of England, Wales or Scotland? Then how about the Interrail Great Britain Pass, making train journey’s more convenient. (and you can book your tickets at the same time) 

Driving from London to Hever Castle

Driving to Hever Castle is the most convenient and easiest way, especially once you are out of central London. The drive is pretty straightforward and once you are on the M23 and you get closer there will be signposts to help direct you to the castle. 

Front view of Hever Castle England

The front of Hever Castle on a rainy day – England

Hire a car for the day

Alternatively, if you don’t own a car you can hire a car for the day to Hever Castle, especially if there is a group of you or if you have a family. There are numerous companies in and around London where you can hire a car. If, you are worried about getting lost it should not be a problem, as most car hire places do Sav Nav hire too.

Postcode for Hever Castle

  • If you do decide to drive the postcode is  TN8 7NG


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Please note; that you will be out in the country and horse riders will be in the area. Please make sure you slow down and pass wide if driving.

hever castle history

The Loggia and Piazza – Hever Castle England

Trains from London to Hever Castle

Catching a train from London to Hever Castle is another option and they leave from either London Victoria or London Bridge (via Oxted or East Croydon) to Edenbridge Town Station. Then it is another 3miles from the station to Hever Castle & Gardens.

I am not aware of any buses that leave from the station to the Hever Castle, so you should either get a Taxi or Uber.

Castles out of London - Hever Castle England

The side of Hever Castle with the Moat – England

Additional Information 

  • Type: – Full Day
  • Duration: – 3-4 Hrs depending on what you see and do
  • Car Park: – Is available and it is FREE
  • Multimedia Guides – £3.75 ( Available in English, French, German, Dutch, Russian & Chinese)

⇒ Looking for other things to do in Kent area, while visiting Hever Castle? How about some of these suggestions and tours?

Pricing Castle & Gardens Together:

  • £17.25 Per Adult,
  • £9.75 Per Child (5-15) Children under 5 go FREE
  • £15.60 Senior (60+)
  • £45.50 family (2 x Adults 2 x Children)

You can also purchase an annual membership, which will also get you discounts and priority booking for events in and around the Hever Castle & Gardens. 



Opening Times

Even though there are different closing times depending on what time of season at Hever Castle and the Gardens. Opening times for both always stay the same. 

  • Grounds open at 10:30 am and inside Hever Castle at 12:00 noon
  • Main Season – Late Mar – Mid Oct Closes 18:00 (Last entry 16:30)
  • Winter Season – Mid Oct – Late Nov Closes 16:30 (Last entry 15:00)
  • Christmas Season – Late Nov – Late Dec Closes 18:00 (Last entry 16:30)
Tip
  • If you pre-book your tickets online you can get a small discount
Things to do at Hever Castle England

Manicured lawn with rectangular lily filled pond in the centre

Top Tips for visiting Hever Castle and Gardens

  • You can take your dogs into the gardens and grounds but they must be on a lead at all times. 
  • Why not visit Chatwell House the home of Sir Winston Churchill which is only 4kms away
  • There is a great little historical English pub called King Henry VIII which is across the road from the entrance of Hever Castle & Gardens. It is a good spot for a drink or a bite to eat.
  • Check when the attractions are on, like the jousting, as it is such a fun experience to watch, especially with a family
Jouster on horseback in full blue and yellow uniform

Jousting at Hever Castle – England

Other places of history England

If you are interested in discovering more of England or other places of  History, feel free to read my following articles. All are great days out of London for groups of friends or family. 

Bodiam Castle England History  Bodiam Castle, Inside the Walls of a Medieval Castle – East Sussex, England

New World Map Pembroke Castle Wales UK History    A Backdrop for Romance Stories Pembroke Castle – Pembroke Wales

Things to do Chantilly Chateau France Looking over the watercourse to Chateau de Chantilly France   A Palace fit for a KingChateau de Chantilly France – Chantilly France

Marble statue surrounded by stone wall with arched windows in the Italian Garden

Thank you for reading this article ‘A day out at Hever Castle, England’ I hope it helped you to decide what to do while in London. It is truly a beautiful place and definitely a great all year round attraction just outside of London 

Hopefully, my pictures of Hever castle in the spring will hopefully inspire you to take a visit and enjoy everything it has to offer.

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Have you been to Hever Castle and gardens or other Castles or Palaces in England? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.

Here are some other amazing activities you can book for days out in London, England

Disclaimer: I paid to go to Hever Castle, England. All views are my own and based on my own experience.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you if you click on one of the product links, we may earn a commission.”  For further details, you can view our Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions or contact me directly.

 

32 Comments

  1. We’re so pleased to hear that Hever’s one of your favourite castles to visit, Mel! Great photos and we’d love to have you back any time to get even more stunning snaps. Looking forward to the history review 🙂

    1. Would you believe me if I told you that I have already been 4 times 😉 Glad you like my pictures and I will definitely be back again to bring friends. Enjoy your day 🙂

    1. Thank you very much. I love anything history especially castles and palaces. Drop me a line if you ever go, I will be happy to give you any tips.

  2. I visited this place last year with my children when I was over from America. It really is a stunning interesting place. Great pictures

  3. The castles and the forts in UK have always fascinated me. The history behind them is so interesting. This post is quite creative with the idea of a picture trail. Love to visit it. Castles always have this aura of mystique which is enderaring.

  4. I am from England and have lived in Herfordshire for a couple of years but I have never heard of this castle. It looks beautiful. I will have to add it to my UK day trips list 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  5. I had no idea that Hever Castle was restored by an American! Interesting to connect that part of history. I haven’t been to London yet, but I really would like to visit the Castle when I go. The gardens look to be my favorite part and I LOVE Yew Maze! Do they always have some kind of flower theme or was that a completely special occasion for the Queen’s 90th? Really beautiful place!

    1. I was there in Spring and the flowers always bloom like this… They have things on all the time, so I assume that it might of been for the Queen’s 90th. Definitely worth a visit if you can get out there for sure.

  6. What a charming castle and it is always intriguing to know some of the history about such a place. I want to take my children here.

  7. I’m a big fan of castles, and am lucky to live near lots of them here in the UK. Hever’s gorgeous, and I really love the idea of that water maze; it’s as though Peter the Great had some ideas left over after he finished the trick fountains at Peterhof! If you’re in the Midlands, I’d suggest checking out the Welsh border castles like Goodrich, Stokesay and Ludlow, if you haven’t yet visited.

  8. The Loggia and Piazza are so beautiful, especially when you see that spot overlooking the Lake from them. And the mazes, both the Yew and the WAter, would be enchanting for me! What a unique castle. To think a family lives there!

  9. I’m a huge fan of history too and would looove to visit this castle. I had no idea the castle was still a resident in the early 1980s. That must be so odd to see modern and antique furniture in this castle!

  10. I recognized the moody England weather from the first picture! 😀 I feel bad for not reading this before our trip to London tho, it would’ve been an interesting day trip!

    1. This is a great place to go for a day and so interesting to read the information when you get inside. It is a good excuse for you to come back for another visit.

  11. I’ve never heard of Hever Castle before now, but it looks like a perfect day trip from London! I’d especially love to visit the gardens – they look like they’re absolutely bursting with color! And the water maze sounds like fun as well. The Boleyn history has always interested me and this castle must be absolutely dripping with it.

  12. It’s kind of weird how many historic European structures were restored by Americans – we were in Reims a few months ago and got to hear what a huge part steel and oil money from the States played in restoring their Notre Dame and a few other significant buildings in the early 20th century. That said, this looks like a wonderful daytrip, and one I’m certainly adding to our ever-growing England bucket list!

  13. I’ve never heard of Hever Castle before now, but after reading your post and looking at these beautiful pictures, it looks like a perfect day trip from London! I will definitely plan a day to go there.

    1. I really enjoy going here especially if my friends have kids, as they have some many activities for them to explore. Definitely a great day out and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to drop me a line.

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