Hever Castle

Hever Castle is located in the village of Hever near Edenbridge, Kent, 30 miles (48 km) south-east of London, England. It began as a country house, built in the 13th century. From 1462 to 1539 it was the seat of the Boleyn, originally ‘Bullen’, family. Anne Boleyn, the second queen consort of King Henry VIII of England, spent her early youth there, after her father, Thomas Boleyn had inherited it in 1505. He had been born there in 1477, and the castle passed to him upon the death of his father, Sir William Boleyn. It later came into the possession of King Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Today it is a popular tourist attraction.

Hever Castle is a very popular tourist attraction. Visitors are drawn by the castle’s fascinating history, particularly its links to Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, its mazes, elegant gardens and beautiful lake. There is a yearly events programme with assorted events including jousting tournaments and archery displays in the summer months and an annual patchwork and quilting exhibition in September. The castle has also become the venue for a popular triathlon.

The castle offers much to see with three floors containing antique furniture, Anne Boleyn’s prayer books, instruments of torture, and a large collection of Tudor paintings. There is also a museum of the Kent Yeomanry. The remains of the original country house timbers can still be seen within the stone walls of the fortification, while the gatehouse is the only original part of the castle. It has the oldest working original portcullis in England.

The grounds of the castle include a famous yew maze, planted in 1904. There is also a water maze, opened in 1999, the object of which is to get to the folly at the centre without getting wet, while in the children’s adventure playground there is a tower maze (the secret is to know the order of Henry VIII’s wives). The castle gardens contain a wide range of features including an Italianate garden, rose gardens, a herb garden, and interesting topiary shapes.

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