Forget snow-white steeds tossing their manes and knights in chain mail, baring swords. All the modern princess of today needs is a train ticket, a great friend with exquisite taste in music and a glass of bubbly in the sunshine. Disclaimer: we were guests of Hever Castle.
Leaving London quickly behind (it’s only a 40-minute train ride, the perfect day trip from London Bridge Station.)
This is just the gatehouse at the entryway.
Hever Castle is located in the village of Hever, Kent, near Edenbridge, 30 miles south-east of London, England. It began as a country house, built in the 13th century. From 1462 to 1539, it was the seat of the Boleyn family.
Yes, that Boleyn family, the ancestral seat of Anne Boleyn herself, the ill-fated Queen of England.
What they may not (yet) mention in the annals of history is just how epic the topiary creatures are around the Hever Castle are, how fascinating some of the beautiful medieval books are or how delicious the cafe ice creams are in the sunshine.
Did I mention the amazing moat bridged to a gorgeous drawbridge?
Then you step over the ancient threshold (after a brief queue) you tip toe backwards in time. Into a fairytale. Through a tapestry of history. Layers of stories overlapping through generations.
Not to mention some pretty incredible door jewellery.
It was an utter delight to meander around, two freelancers AWOL and soaking in the sunshine.
“Dating back to the 13th century, Hever Castle was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and Mother of Elizabeth I. It formed the unlikely backdrop to a sequence of tumultuous events that changed the course of Britain’s history, monarchy and religion.”
“Today, much of what you see is the result of the remarkable efforts of William Waldorf Astor, who used his fortune to restore and extend the Castle in the early 20th century. The Astor Suite is dedicated to its more recent history, showcasing pictures and memorabilia relating to the Astor family and the Edwardian period.”
There are 125 acres of glorious grounds at Hever Castle – award winning gardens that sprawl along lakes, up gentle hill and down dale. There are many cascades, grottoes and fountains, the Tudor Garden, the Blue Corner or the Rhododendron Walk.
Wander further afield and enjoy Sunday Walk and Church Gill Walk that follow the course of a stream through peaceful woodland or Anne Boleyn’s Walk, with its impressive collection of trees planted more than 100 years ago.
Cheers to that!
Trains run from London Victoria and London Bridge (via Oxted or East Croydon) to Edenbridge Town Station, and then you can take a taxi for three miles to Hever Castle. Relyon Taxis Hever Castle suggest that visitors book a taxi in advance for both legs of your journey. Or, Hever Station is the next station on the line, but is unmanned with no taxis, and is a one-mile rural walk to the castle. (Map of walk from station to castle).
What’s your favourite castle – real or imagined?
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