Hever Castle from London

Jan 26th, 2009, 04:13 AM
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Hever Castle from London

My family is visiting London this June, and my history loving daughter would like to visit Hever Castle in Kent. What is the best and cheapest way to get there from London? Thanks!
mnapoli is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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ttt
mnapoli is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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I took a train to the Hever train station then a footpath the mile or so from there to the castle. A lovely rural stroll.

Or you can take a train to some other nearby town and a bus direct to the castle i believe

the Hever station is in the middle of nothing but countryside - did not even see taxis there but may have been a taxi phone?
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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How to get there (I'd get the train)

http://www.hevercastle.co.uk/Home/Pl...irections.aspx
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Jan 26th, 2009, 11:02 AM
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mnapoli -- I swore I would never do this in a reply -- but why does your daughter want to visit Hever Castle?

I am not trying to be rude but we visited Hever and were actually pretty disappointed. This was not the Castle's fault but our own because we didn't do enough research. I read the part in a description of the castle about it being Ann Boleyn's childhood home. But apparently I stopped reading before I got to the part where William Waldorf bought and restored the castle.

"In 1903, the wealthy American, William Waldorf, purchased Hever castle and commenced an extensive restoration of the castle, the creation of the lake and gardens and the construction of a Tudor style village to provide more accommodation."

It is a beautiful castle, as are the grounds, but knowing that they were restored and or built by an American a hundred years ago sort of left us a bit disappointed.

But -- if all of that is part of the appeal for your daughter I am sure she will really enjoy it!



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Jan 26th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Here is my story of our visit to Hever:

And then there was the day we went to Hever. The ticket agent at Victoria Station told us there was trouble on the line and we should change trains at East Clapham. We dutifully got off and asked the agent which train to get for Hever, and he pointed to the one we had just got off of and was then moving on, saying we should change at Oxted for Hever which was what the man at the departure point at Victoria had said. So we waited half an hour for another train to Oxted and then another half an hour for the train to Hever.

The station at Hever is not manned but does have a painted board with directions for walking the mile to the castle. However, a U.S. couple from CT got off, he waving a map and saying this way to the castle. I should have known better than to go with them because she was wearing jeans and (gasp) white walking shoes, but we followed along a pretty deserted road, eating wild blackberries and avoiding horse droppings along the way, while walking up a long and fairly steep hill. Lisa and I fell somewhat behind after more than enough time to have walked a mile and then saw the couple coming back with the news that they had seen a sign pointing to the castle back the way we had come.

Let me say here that Hever is a VERY small place with the castle, a church, the Henry VIII pub and a few houses scattered along those quiet roads. We had passed another pub on that wrong road, so the CT guy went in, asked directions, and was told to take the footpath just beside the pub which would take us directly to the castle.

Okay, we started out on a very narrow path lined with brambles and littered with sheep droppings, and then we came to the first stile. It was pretty rickety but climbable, so over we went only to find ourselves in a farmerís field complete with cow droppings and a sign saying it was private property but could be used to connect to the footpath further along.

Did that, climbed another stile, back onto the footpath which then came to a dead end with stiles to the right and to the left. The Connecticut Yankee wanted to go right, which was back in the wrong direction from which we had just come. At that point even his wife protested, so we climbed left and saw more footpath that at last led to the village.

We did enjoy seeing the castle, learning some history, and seeing the beautiful Italian gardens and the rose garden that still had lots of bloom. It was a brisk sunny day for all our walking but did start to rain while we were in the gardens. When we turned to look back just as the rain ended, there was a beautiful rainbow just across the river that lies beyond the arches at the end of the gardens.

We got back to the train station following the correct road, got the train back to Oxted, changed trains properly, and then found that the trouble on the line was on the return portion to London. Instead of getting back to Victoria, we ended up at London Bridge station, got on a District Line tubeóheaded in the wrong direction! Well, that was pretty easy to correct, got off, changed sides, got on again, and didnít get caught outside our tube pass zone.

The moral of this story is donít follow strangers equipped with internet maps and look for the rainbows.
carolyn is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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BKP,

Am not sure why that would disappoint you (the castle's restoration by an American). A great deal of that has happened.

Two I can cite without looking anything up, are an enormous infusion of Rockefeller money into Versailles in the 20th century (1930s I think) and American funds, including Robert and Susan Massie's foundation, to help restore Pavlovsk outside St. Petersburg, after Nazi destruction.

European cities destroyed during WWII have fortunately, for the most part, been well-restored. American money played just a small part.

My point is, restoration of some degree is everywhere you look.
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Jan 26th, 2009, 01:36 PM
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Cathinjoetown -- you're right. I am actually grateful for restoration, by anyone, because it does allow us to experience things that we wouldn't otherwise be able to.

My disappointment was my own fault. We entered through the gardens and walked pass the lake, the whole time imagining what it would have been like for Ann to be walking through those gardens, to stand at the edge of the lake, etc. After paying better attention and realizing that those gardens and the lake weren't there in her time I was let down. Again, that was my own fault of course.

I just wanted to make sure that mnapoli's daughter didn't create the same incorrect daydream that I did!
BKP is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 02:01 PM
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Hold on to the daydream, BKP, there might have been some sort of garden and/or ornamental pond back in the 1400s, and probably the restorers just didn't have any written account to work with.
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Jan 27th, 2009, 04:34 AM
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My daughter loves English history, in particular the Tudor period. We thought it would be nice to get out into the countryside (our experience of England has been primarily London) and see a smaller, less tourist-ridden estate. On their web site Hever looks lovely...
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Jan 27th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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Restored or not Hever is lovely. I especially enjoyed actually being in Ann's bedroom. Your daughter will love it. She must also go to Grenwich and take the tour offered at the Tourist Centre. They will point out the tree under which Ann Boleyn was probably sitting under when they came to take her to the Tower.
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Jan 27th, 2009, 05:19 AM
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Thanks Micheline! I don't ask for a lot of info from this site, but it's nice to have someone not think you are an idiot for asking!
mnapoli is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 05:28 AM
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I love Hever castle too. It's even got an interesting selection of ancient torture accoutrements!
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Jan 27th, 2009, 06:34 AM
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I also enjoy Hever and I think it's wonderful that you are encouraging your history loving daughter. My mother did that and it has been the source of many wonderful holidays and adventures in my adult life. I'm sorry I can't help with public transportation to Hever, but I'm sure you could arrange for a cab to meet you at the Hever train station. This site has the name and number for a taxi company: http://www.southernrailway.com/stations.php?crs=HEV
This site shows a walking map from the station: http://www.visitbytrain.freeuk.com/kent/hever.htm

The grounds at Hever are lovely (as is the inside) and it is a moated castle, which kids always find fun.

My favourite castle is Sudeley, near Winchcombe in the Cotswolds. But, again, we always rent a car so I can't help with public transportation. It was the home of Katherine Parr, Henry the VIII's last wife and is full of wonderful rooms - and Tudor mementos - and a beautiful chapel where Katherine is buried. http://www.sudeleycastle.co.uk/

Hope you have a great visit.
rickmav is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 06:47 AM
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Thanks for the information! We don't mind the 1 mile walk from Hever station because we're hikers. I'm looking forward to the trip and hope for good weather!
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Jan 28th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Be careful about finding the footpath thru the farm.

I got off the train clueless and set off on foot - i saw some crude map on the station wall (not really a station but a halt) but ignored it and took the main road to the left and then the main road to the right

and these roads are rather main roads with very little room for pedestrians - cars whipping around curves and of course on 'the wrong side of the road'

So study the map at the station and find the footpath (i believe it was rather muddy when i was there or i thought it would be and took the main road.)

The station is unstaffed or was when i were there so no one to ask.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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"a smaller, less tourist-ridden estate"

That might disappoint you --- it is definitely not "undiscovered" -- it is one of the most visited properties in the SE. The castle itself is not original at all. But that may make it even more interesting in some ways because it was how an American Anglophile w/ bottomless pockets thought it should be modernized into an early 20th century family home.

But Hever's main claim to fame (besides the Boleyn connection) is its truly amazing gardens/grounds. It is massive and can fill half a day even w/o stepping inside the castle. While it is a very popular attraction - the grounds are large enough that it absorbs the numbers quite well. There are at least 3 restaurants on site) June is the perfect time for a visit. http://www.hevercastle.co.uk/Home/Gardens.aspx
janisj is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 11:51 AM
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Yes janis - the gardens are neat and vast - i had a nice pot of tea and some crumpets in a garden-side cafe.

I also enjoyed the castle tour though, being the Dumpkopf i am, did not until reading this thread realize it were rebuilt near entirely recently by American moneys.

Kind of like Carcassonne though - the way it really looked back in the Boleyn era - a pristine medieval castle.

But yes the gardens are great.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 12:00 PM
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I am a bit surprised - they really talk a lot about the Waldorf Astor connections . . . . . . Hard to miss/avoid.
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Jan 28th, 2009, 12:41 PM
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Well it were some years ago i did that day trip - during that hot hot summer where temps were always in 90s

i do remember something about that but i guess forgot that it was basically rebuilt from rubble.

does that make a difference? Well that's a tough question to answer - the history is still there but i know what folks mean that the structure is really Ersatz - same for the Shakespeare Properties i think in Stratford - esp the Bard's Home - does make it less than authentic for sure.
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