A fan of the Tudors growing up, I was fascinated by the legacy of Henry VIII and his wives. On my first visit to England, touring Hampton Court was a must.
Having crossed a second visit to Hampton Court off my ‘London to-do’ list last summer, I set my sights on another Tudor related escapade- visiting Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
An easy day trip from London, the castle’s grounds are stunning. I ventured to the castle via train from London Bridge to Hever station. At the station, I walked a mile to the castle. On the return, I scheduled a taxi for pick-up to ensure I made an early evening train on time.
Open year round, the castle offers plenty of activities for visitors- you can wander the castle, explore all of the beautiful gardens, lose yourself in a maze, practise archery or catch a joust.
The castle grounds are so idyllic, it’s hard to believe they’re the backdrop to a sequence of events that changed the course of England’s history. Of course, I’m talking about Henry VIII breaking from the Catholic Church and marrying Anne Boleyn.
The castle itself is everything you’d want in a castle- moat, drawbridge, maze, extensive gardens, and a Grand Hall.
The gardens, in particular, were one of my favourite parts of the visit.
In Boleyn’s time, the gardens were nice but it wasn’t until the Astors took over ownership that they were really transformed. Simply put, the Italian gardens took my breathe away. At the far edge of the gardens, there’s even a picturesque lake you can rent boats to paddle around. Talk about tranquil perfection.
Post-garden wander, don’t miss out on exploring one or both of two mazes on the property.
I visited on a Monday afternoon, so no events were on. During some of the summer weekends, there are jousting demos and other processionals. Definitely worth it to check Hever’s calendar of events before you visit.
But, even if there aren’t any events happening, it’s still worth visiting Hever. It’s a gorgeous castle, worthy of an afternoon out from London.
And, before you head back to the city, don’t miss popping into the King Henry VIII pub for a pint. Their back garden is the best spot to enjoy a tipple in the sunshine as the cheers to a day of adventuring.
Have you ever visited one of England’s castles? Which one is your favourite?