near Hever, Kent, England
Hever Castle is set in the village of Hever 35 miles south of London.
The beautifully restored castle is set in formal gardens and protected by a moat. The castle comprises of the three storey stone keep accessed over a stone bridge with a Tudor manor house and village behind.
The castle is open daily between March and December with the grounds opening at 10.30am and the castle from mid day. During the period between November and December the castle is open between Sunday and Wednesday only.
Visitors to the castle can take an audio guide or visit the interior with the help of a guide book. Other famous things to do are getting lost in the castle's yew maze or hiring a traditional rowing boat for trips out onto the lake, there are also Italian and Tudor gardens to wander through.
The castle has two self service restaurants one near the lake the other overlooking the castle, a gift shop and the lavender courtyard; a place to purchase items for the garden.
The Astor Wing of the castle is also licensed for civil wedding ceremonies. The Tudor suite is an oak panelled sitting room which overlooks the castle and can accommodate up to 64 guests, weather permitting drinks can be taken on the lawn. Following the ceremony guest's transfer to the magnificent dining room with its oak panelling and large open fireplace. During the winter it is possible to marry in the castle's Inner Hall seating up to 40 guests and although dancing is not permitted in either location it is only a short walk through the grounds to the Moat Restaurant which can be transformed into an evening reception venue suitable for dancing
As well as a wedding venue the castle also offers Medley Court, a luxury four bedroomed property to rent. Renovated in traditional style the luxurious property can sleep up to seven people.
The oldest parts of Hever castle are the walled bailey and the gatehouse dating back to 1270.
The Boleyn family purchased the castle in the 1400's and in 1505 Thomas Boleyn and his family, including Anne Boleyn the future wife of Henry VIII, came to live in the castle and added a Tudor mansion within the walls.
After the death of both Thomas and Anne the castle came into the possession of Henry VIII and in 1540 he gave it as a settlement to Anne of Cleeves following the annulment of their marriage.
The castle passed through many hands until the early 1900's when it was purchased by the American millionaire William Waldorf Astoria, he renovated the castle and used it as a family residence. In 1983 the castle was sold to Broadland properties who developed the site as a tourist attraction.
Other Castles in the Area
Allington Castle, Kent
Eynsford Castle, Kent
Rochester Castle, Kent
Scotney Castle, Kent