Fodor's Expert Review Hever Castle

Hever Castle Castle/Palace/Chateau Fodor's Choice

It's hard to imagine a more romantic castle than this: nestled within rolling hills, all turrets and battlements, the whole encircled by a water lily–bound moat. (There are even fabulous beasts swimming in its waters, too, in the form of enormous Japanese koi carp.) Here, at her childhood home, the unfortunate Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I, was courted and won by Henry. He loved her dearly for a time but had her beheaded in 1536 after she failed to give birth to a son. He then gave Boleyn's home to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, as a present. Famous though it was, the castle fell into disrepair in the 19th century. When American millionaire William Waldorf Astor acquired it in 1903, he needed somewhere to house his staff. His novel solution was to build a replica Tudor village, using only methods, materials, and even tools appropriate to the era. The result is more or less completely indistinguishable from the genuine Tudor parts. (Today it is mostly... READ MORE

It's hard to imagine a more romantic castle than this: nestled within rolling hills, all turrets and battlements, the whole encircled by a water lily–bound moat. (There are even fabulous beasts swimming in its waters, too, in the form of enormous Japanese koi carp.) Here, at her childhood home, the unfortunate Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I, was courted and won by Henry. He loved her dearly for a time but had her beheaded in 1536 after she failed to give birth to a son. He then gave Boleyn's home to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, as a present. Famous though it was, the castle fell into disrepair in the 19th century. When American millionaire William Waldorf Astor acquired it in 1903, he needed somewhere to house his staff. His novel solution was to build a replica Tudor village, using only methods, materials, and even tools appropriate to the era. The result is more or less completely indistinguishable from the genuine Tudor parts. (Today it is mostly used for private functions.) Astor also created the stunning gardens, which today include an excellent yew maze, ponds, playgrounds, tea shops, gift shops, plant shops—you get the picture. There's a notable collection of Tudor portraits, and in summer activities are nonstop here, with jousting, falconry exhibitions, and country fairs, making this one of southern England's most rewarding castles to visit. In one of the Victorian wings, B&B rooms go for upwards of £125 per night for a basic room.

READ LESS
Castle/Palace/Chateau Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Off B2026
Hever, Kent  TN8 7NG, England

01732-865224

www.hevercastle.co.uk

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: £16; grounds only £13.50, Closed Jan.–late Mar., and Mon. and Tues. late Nov.–late Dec.

What’s Nearby