Discover 700 years of history in the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
The splendid rooms of the double moated castle contain fine furniture, tapestries, antiques, an important collection of Tudor paintings and two prayer books inscribed and signed by Anne Boleyn herself.
The stunning award-winning gardens transformed by William Waldorf Astor include the Italian Garden with its 38 acre lake and the spectacular Loggia with its very own Trevi Fountain.
Some visitors might not be aware of the circular walk around the lake which takes around an hour at a leisurely pace. There are lots of birds to see as well as three second world war pill boxes built to defend a key crossing point on the River Eden.
Hidden gems in the gardens:
New areas of the gardens have been discovered. While clearing damaged trees and debris after a mini-tornado swept through the grounds in 2014, the gardeners unearthed a pathway leading on from Sunday Walk (the walk used by the Astors to stroll from the Castle to the church in Hever village on a Sunday morning). Further excavation revealed the original terraced slopes as well as the remains of three wooden bridges that had been buried in undergrowth for the past 50 years. Renamed Church Gill Walk, the area has been planted in a woodland style.
Hever has its own rose – the Hever Castle which was launched by Dame Judi Dench in 2011.
The wisteria in the Italian Garden is thought to be 100 years old and some of the dahlias are over 30 years old.
Dogs are welcome:
Dog owners might not be aware that pooches are permitted in the grounds, on a lead. Hever Castle featured in the More4 programme Walks with My Dog which saw comedian Katherine Ryan bring her dog, Dalai for a walk in the grounds.
Best places for a picnic:
Hever Castle is a lovely place to enjoy a picnic. There are a few picnic benches located outside the Hever Shop. Otherwise Horse Shoe Lawn provides a perfect setting with sun and shade and a picturesque castle view. Half Moon Lawn is another popular choice with views of the pond, fountain and pretty bridges across the moat. Venture further afield and you will discover Two Sisters Lawn adjacent to the Theatre which is surrounded by delightful flower beds and an abundance of ornamental trees. Or follow signs for Lake Walk and choose a secluded spot.
Away from the gardens children and adults alike will marvel at the intricate detail in the fabulous Miniature Model Houses, which can be accessed via the Hever Shop. This unique collection of 1/12 scale model houses, was commissioned by the current owners of Hever Castle, from the master English miniaturist furniture maker, John J. Hodgson.
The models are set in a permanent display and each house was designed to faithfully reflect architectural features and every aspect of the period. The models are set within a permanent 12th scale exhibition to illustrate the development of English country houses through the ages, from Tudor to Victorian times.
To enjoy all Hever Castle & Gardens has to offer, allow around 4 hours for your visit.