Hever Castle

hever-castle

Medieval defenses, a royal courtship, and a great flood have been a part of Hever Castle’s more than 700 years of history.  Built in 1270, this double-moated castle and surrounding gardens located in rural Kent County about 45 miles south of central London makes for a perfect day trip.

Following our visit to Dover Castle and the surrounding coastline, we were in no rush to drive straight home and decided to investigate places to visit along our route home.  Luckily we found the perfect place.

Because it was a weekday and most English Heritage sites were closed, we were left with only privately-owned options (not that we’re complaining).  We initially thought the £44.50 family admission fee was a little pricey (mostly because we’re cheap), but upon taking one glance at the immaculate Hever Castle grounds, we knew the cost was well worth it.  Booking our tickets online the night before saved nearly 10%, bringing the total to £41.05.

hever-castle-moat

Fit For A Queen 

These castle walls watched a common girl grow up to be courted by the king (along with her sister) and become queen of England.  Tragically, the young queen would die just three years later by beheading in the Tower of London after accusations of adultery.  If you haven’t guessed already, this 13th century Tudor estate was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII.

the-house-of-tudorCastle and Garden

We began our visit by touring the castle itself.  Once inside, we snaked through the various rooms on a self-paced tour following a pre-described route through the castle.  This place is a treasure trove of history.  There is so much to see and read!

Our kids on the other hand (ages 8, 7, and 4 at the time), did not share this enthusiasm.  Their short attention spans quickly had their fill of Tudor era artifacts.

Fortunately, the gardens were absolutely amazing and provided tons of space for them to roam around and be kids while the adults strolled around soaking in the scenery.

hever-castle-gardens

hever-castle-gardens-toward-lake

Although it was a little chilly, we couldn’t ask for better weather in November.  We wandered the gardens, hedge maze, and castle grounds for quite some time just taking in nature and enjoying the day.

A restaurant and a few small shops are located on the premises.  Spaces can also be reserved for weddings and other special events.  In total, we spent about four hours on site.

houses-behind-hever-castle

At just about an hour south of London, Hever Castle makes a great day trip for anyone with some free time in southern England.

To fully take advantage of everything Hever Castle has to offer, try visiting on a day with nice weather.  The gardens really are the highlight of the visit.

 

 

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