Hever Castle, best castle ever!

Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London Blog

One of my favorite things to do in the UK is exploring this country and discovering more about its history. A few months ago, when the summer was just about to slip away, I went (quite excited) with my family to Hever Castle in Kent, to learn more about Ann Boleyn’s childhood home.
We headed straight away to the south east of London and after a 2 hour drive we arrived at Hever Castle. We were actually very impressed by what we discovered. If you want to know why Hever Castle may be the best castle in the UK, just read on !
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Castle with rich history

Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogHever Castle dates back to the 13th century. It was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn (second wife of Henry VIII and Mother of Elizabeth I).
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogIt was the backdrop to a succession of tumultuous events in Britain’s history, which makes it even more exciting to discover!
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogThe splendid rooms contain many remains of the past: fine furniture, tapestries, antiques, important collection of Tudor paintings and two prayer books inscribed and signed by Anne Boleyn herself!
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogThis room (above) is said to be the one in which Henri VIII has slept “on several occasions during his courtship with Anne Boleyn”. No need to say there is a strange excitement in the air when you stand in this room. Henri VIII has marked history in such a way I had shivers up and down my spine examining his bedroom!
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogThose boots are … huge (even if it does not show on the picture). But that’s intentional. They are Postilion’s boots (and the large leather and iron postilion’s boots date from 1690!). “A postilion was a man who rode one of a pair of horses that pulled a coach. It could be very dangerous if a leg became caught between the two horses, so each postilion wore one boot on that leg to protect himself from injury”. Clever !
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogAfter the Boleyn’s ownership, Hever Castle belonged to another of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne of Cleves, and from 1557 onwards it was owned by a number of families including the Waldegraves, the Humphreys and the Meade Waldos. Until William Waldorf Astor invested time, money and imagination in restoring the Castle.

Spectacular gardens

Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogEven on a grayish rainy day, we were stunned by the beauty of the gardens.
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogThey were laid out between 1904 and 1908 by Joseph Cheal and Son, turning marshland into the magnificent gardens we can admire today.
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogCounting a lake, Italian sculptures, cascades, grottoes, its marvelous collection of trees and flowers, these “award-winning gardens set in 125 acres of glorious grounds” may be a source of joy for some, a source of inspiration for others!
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogThose fond of roses will even be happy to know that Hever Castle has its own “Hever Rose”, which was launched by Dame Judi Dench, the award-winning British actress, in 2011.Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogWe really enjoyed our stroll in the gardens and promised to ourselves to come back later on a sunny day when the colours will be at their best …
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London Blog
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London Blog

Major fun attractions

Due to the high number of activities and things to explore at Hever Castle, I can only recommend you to plan a full day of visit with a lunch on site, to make the most of this amazing place. Here are the fun attractions organized at certain times of the year (details below).

Jousting:
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogThis is one of the main reasons why we decided to visit Hever Castle. We had heard about jousting tournaments taking place throughout the summer holidays every year, and we were eager to experience such a thing!
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogEach tournament begins with a procession (all kids can join) from the Castle forecourt when Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn lead visitors across the grounds to the Jousting Arena.
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogThen the tournament starts and spectators choose which knights they support, and cheer them to glory (and THAT is exciting to witness!). This is a very funny performance full of action, stunts, falls and fights (as the “brave knights compete for points to find the season’s champion knight”) that everyone (no matter the age) will be thrilled to attend!
https://youtu.be/rBvi-GUJ57Q

Archery
This is an excellent way to get to know the ancient sport of archery. This attraction is available during the school holidays and at weekends until (and including) the autumn half term, for both adults and children. Unfortunately we had not enough time to have a go at archery as there were too many things to explore at Hever Castle !! Next time, for sure …

Shield Painting
Another amazing activity for you to enjoy at Hever Castle: painting your very own shield and/or crown to take home as a souvenir of your day out. It is available every weekend and during school holidays from 30 March until the end of October.

Commando Series:
Commando Series returns this week end actually (Sat 9 & Sun 10 Nov)! This is a course full of fun and challenging obstacles, organized annually through the Hever Castle Estate for everyone from 8 years old (under 11s must be accompanied by an adult). There are different levels from the toughest ‘Treat Me Like a Commando,’ to the more supportive ‘Just Get Me Round’ and ‘We Are Family’. Tempted?

Amusing Maze

Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogNear the Castle you will find your way through the Water Maze and the 100 year old Yew Maze.
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogYou will end up completely soaked but very happy! Adults are very welcome to join in the fun …
Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London BlogTwilight Christmas:
If you want to experience an after dark visit of Hever Castle, you can book a “Twilight Christmas” ticket online. This must be an incredible way of exploring the Castle and Gardens, for sure!

Hever Castle Doyouspeaklondon Lifestyle London Blog

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found inspiration here. If you are planning to plan a visit at Hever Castle, please share your experience and opinion here!


To go further:
Hever Castle: Hever Rd, Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG
Website


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6 thoughts on “Hever Castle, best castle ever!

  1. Myriam says:
    Yes , I’ve enjoyed so much this post.The Amazing pictures beautifully recreate the ambiance of Hever Castle and its beautiful gardens.
  2. elialand says:
    hum! a twilight Christmas !! it could be very exciting!…..a ghostly meeting whith Henry VIII brrrrrr….and I’m quite sure the postillion’s boots will fit me well . What a nice visit Your blogs are always full of amazing surprises
    Magnific portrait of Anne Boleyn

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