Last month we went on a day trip to Hever Castle in Edenbridge, Kent. I haven’t been here since I was a child, so it was like seeing it first hand all over again! This castle was actually the childhood home of Anne Boleyn as well as the place that Anne and King Henry VIII used to meet in secret before their marriage. At the entrance to the grounds of Hever Castle you’re greeted by this beautiful archway and gate-house, you can just imagine the horses and noblemen riding through this archway 600 years ago.
Before we even get to the castle you have to admire the grounds, they’re just beautiful! There are so many different types of trees and shrubs and you can see a few of the trees were probably babies during the Tudor era so it was really special to think of all the people throughout history who might have enjoyed those trees too. There are various different areas around the castle, not just grounds but a lake, a maze, and an orchard with some holiday homes open to the public.
I couldn’t leave this out, just want to mention all the adorable topiary trees that were cut into the shapes of different animals! My favourite was this cute little piggy, complete with his curly tail and his apples for lunch!
Walking around the grounds, you come across these quiet places that are hidden away from the main pathways where you can just sit and rest. As it was a bit rainy that day it was very quiet, which meant we appreciated these quiet corners all that much more.
Then we got to the lake, this part of the castle grounds is used for weddings and events and I think you’ll agree it’s a beautiful place to get married. On the lake, there are also little boats that you can pay separately for and go out on a relaxing river cruise during the sunnier months.
This was my favourite part of the whole grounds, this incredible fountain that backs on to the lake. It reminded me of a mini version of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, and just like the fountain in Rome we threw in a coin each and made a wish! I’m sure, like me, you can really imagine the weddings that go on here and how beautiful they’d look with this backdrop, as well as imagining what Anne Boleyn thought of this when she lived here, maybe she used to go down there for a bit of peace away from Henry!!
Walking back towards the castle we came across a little snack stop and this adorable nursery! The plant nerd in me couldn’t not take a picture and appreciate all the baby plants, I think in the summertime you can buy all the plants and herbs they grow too!
So now we come to the castle! To get in you have to walk over the draw-bridge and over the moat full of HUGE koi carp. Once inside the castle we were really surprised at how homey it was, we expected cold stone walls and dimly-lit rooms but the whole place was covered in both original Tudor wood and newer adaptations too as well as the floor of the castle being decked out with beautiful Persian rugs, it felt more like a home than just a castle, which is so rare and really helps to see this place as an actual family home (well…it was until Henry got his hands on one particular family member).
The castle was full of original Tudor artwork and furniture but one of the most impressive pieces was this original Tudor suit of armour! I think we’ve all seen pictures of Henry VIII’s gargantuan suit of armour so it was really cool to see a “normal” one too. The castle was full of original copies of classic books as well as some 600-year-old tapestries that were commissioned by the Boleyn family during their time there.
Much like the topiary pig, inside the castle I managed to find one thing that was pretty personal to me…my initials above the fireplace!! Ok, ok, so they aren’t actually mine, a previous owner of the castle had his initials put on the fireplace when it was built BUT it was cool, and let's pretend they’re mine and maybe I lived there in a past life, as long as my name wasn’t Anne Boleyn! I just thought it was funny to see a little bit of me carved into Hever Castle!
And that was everything. The castle had so many rooms to explore including “the long room” full of portraits of important figures within Tudor society including the monarchy (we got BAD vibes in that room), Anne Boleyn's bedroom, an interesting more modern bedroom from the 1970’s when a seemingly normal family lived in the castle and the icing on the cake was the torture room! It’s exactly what you would expect, a turret room with floor to ceiling weapons of torture and instructions on how to use them, the worst part was that some of them you could clearly see had been used…alot.
All in all the castle is great fun for all ages, they have an audio tour to walk around with too, and if like me you don’t do spiral stone staircases they even have more accessible staircases hidden in the castle walls so even people with light mobility issues can still enjoy each floor. Both the castle and grounds are good for any weather, with the number of gardens, lakes, trees, castle and torture rooms to look at, I don’t see how anybody couldn’t not enjoy this awesome place!
Oh! I couldn’t forget to talk about the awesome gift shop, they had everything from Christmas decorations, stationary, soaps, kid's toys, and alcohol! I got a cute fridge magnet and a gold feather as a new Christmas decoration. Right next to the gift shop is the cafe, there was a queue to get in so you knew it was good! They had alot of good options for veggies and vegans, I got a vegan sausage roll with lashings of ketchup and it was delicious! The perfect snack before walking the grounds and castle. All aspects of Hever Castle are great and well worth the money, I would encourage everyone to get down there if you can!