Nestled in the rolling countryside of Kent in the south of England, Hever Castle is a magnificent historic castle that offers visitors a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the English aristocracy.
Originally built in the 13th century, the castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the second queen consort of King Henry VIII of England, who spent her early youth there after her father, Thomas Boleyn, inherited it in 1505. It later came into the possession of King Henry VIII's fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.
One of the highlights of Hever Castle are the stunning gardens. Covering over 125 acres and featuring a wide variety of plants and flowers, they include several fountains and water features. The Italian Garden is particularly impressive, with its ornate statues and immaculately manicured hedges.
Hever Castle also boasts several other attractions, including a boating lake, a maze, and a Tudor village, a replica of a traditional English village from the 16th century providing visitors with an immersive experience of what life was like in that era.
Inside the castle, visitors can explore the various rooms and see some of the family's extensive collection of art and antiques, Anne Boleyn's prayer books, instruments of torture, a large collection of Tudor paintings, several magnificent tapestries, as well as a number of rare books and manuscripts. One of the most impressive rooms is the Great Hall, with its impressive stone fireplace and ornate ceiling.
There is an annual programme at Hever Castle which includes jousting tournaments and archery displays in the summer months. The castle can also provide accommodations for visitors who wish to stay overnight, including 28 rooms that can be rented in a B&B format.
If you are interested in the history of the castle, there are several exhibits and displays that provide insight into the lives of the various owners and residents over the centuries, from the Tudor era all the way to its use as a military hospital during World War II.