Hever Castle | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

If you’re a fan of anything related to the Tudors, then you’ll be really excited to know that I visited Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn (Henry VIII’s second wife and mother to Queen Elizabeth I). The castle is not as large as Leeds Castle (takes just about an hour or less to cover), but it still has a lot of charm and is very stylishly maintained thanks to William Waldorf Astor who spent a part of his fortune restoring and extending the property.

It took us about an hour and 15 minutes to drive to Hever Castle from northern London. I was a little annoyed that it was such a busy day at the grounds as there was a car show going on as well – so I suggest you check if there are any activities going on when you plan your visit. It’s too small of a castle for you to enjoy it with that many people around…

The size, uniqueness and beauty of the gardens totally made up for the mass amounts of people though. It has ponds, lakes, fountains, sculptures, rose gardens, and whatever else you can think of! It was so romantic and perfectly laid out – I could definitely spend a weekend there.

However, the most spectacular part of the property for me was the area around Hever Lake. It all just felt so dreamy! I didn’t find out until later though that most of the grounds were marshlands and were turned into beautiful gardens in the early 1900s. I also think that Hever Lake (below) is man made… If I read the information correctly, it took 800 men 2 years to dig out this 38-acre lake!!

Now that’s dedication to landscaping…

Hever Castle | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

Hever Castle | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

The interior of the castle is like Leeds Castle in the sense that the rooms have been styled to reflect its different owners. Some of the rooms were staged to highlight Anne Boleyn’s life and others to show William Waldorf Astor’s influence on the property. As you can see from the pictures, the castle is mostly covered in wood paneled walls, paintings, and gorrrrgeous tapestries.

Also take a look at some of the furniture and all of the stunning carpets in these rooms. They’re to die for!

Hever Castle | THE DESIGN SOUK | www.thedesignsouk.com

Like I said earlier, the gardens were quite unique at Hever Castle. Many of the areas felt very secluded and almost like multiple secret gardens dispersed all over the grounds. One of the pathways that I absolutely loved was surrounded by trees that had been planted over a hundred years ago, and which led us up to a beautiful waterfall on the top of a stone staircase.

Click on the picture on the left side and you’ll be able to see how large the tree is in comparison to the people walking right next to it. Kind of amazing…

While I have to admit that I loved Leeds Castle the most, Hever Castle would probably be number 2 on my list. If you want to enjoy the castle in peace though, just make sure that you’re not going on a day where they have a car show…


For more information on English historical sites…

While Hever and Leeds are not on this particular list – if you want to check out historical locations in the UK, I highly suggest visiting the English Heritage website for some great trip ideas. Dover Castle is part of the English Heritage list!

 

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