I drove all the way to Kent this weekend to collect my daughter from University as she has a reading week. As this was a 4 hour drive, I decided to stay over and drive back the next day, meaning that we could visit somewhere on the way back. I visited Hever Castle and Gardens years ago but have always wanted to go back as it’s such a pretty place to visit.
Hever Castle the Home.
Hever Castle was built in 1270 and was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn who went on to be one of the most influential woman in Tudor History. She insisted that King Henry VIII marry her; she wasn’t prepared to be just his mistress. This led to the creation of the Church of England after Henry renounced Catholicism, changing English history forever. I always thought that Anne must have been a fascinating woman using whatever skills she had to get what she wanted! Anne was queen of England for a mere 1000 days. Henry soon tired of her when she didn’t produce a living male heir although she did give birth to Elizabeth; the future Elizabeth I.
The castle was bought by William Waldorf Astor in 1904. Thankfully, the Astor’s were one of the richest families in the world at that time and William Waldorf Astor refurbished and extended the castle. He added the gardens and lake which are just magnificent and are worth a visit in their own right. We visited in October and the castle and gardens are open from March to October.
The Hever Castle Gardens created by Astor
This stunning garden was created over 4 years to display Astor’s collection of Italian sculptures; some of which are over 2000 years old. It took over 1000 men to dig the entire 125 acre garden and over 800 men, 2 years to dig the lake, which is 38 acres. It’s such a splendid place and we loved it! I could have spent all afternoon here to be honest. There are many water features here and a Loggia fountain inspired by the Trevi fountain of Rome.
The Hever Castle Rose Garden
The Rose Garden is within the Italian garden and is surrounded by pillars and a wall. The roses are planted in large groups but they were past their best when we visited. This did not worry us though as there were still many blooms. I expect the best time to enjoy this part of the garden would be in June.
Other parts to the garden we loved.
There is so much to see at Hever Castle that you really need a full day to see all the gardens and inside the castle. Here are some other parts of the garden that we enjoyed.
I hope you have enjoyed a flavour of the gardens. It is an amazing place to visit and full of history.