Hever Castle: Kent, England - PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |   follow us on

Hi, Guest!
Globetrotting Planning Articles

Globetrotting Traveling Articles

Globetrotting Lodging Articles

Globetrotting Touring Articles

Globetrotting Dining Articles

Globetrotting Making Magic Articles

Globetrotting General Travel Articles
12 Tips to Hotel Bliss
Assateague Island National Seashore
Back To Barcelona
Bellagio of Las Vegas
Bonaire, Antilles
Cairo, Egypt
Cape Cod
Carcassonne, France
Carlsbad Caverns
Chateau de Chenonceau
Chincoteague, Virginia
Costa Blanca
Discovery Cove
Disney on Broadway
Disney's Magical Express
Disneyland Paris
Exploring Chicago's Museums
Flying Premium Economy
Geneva, Switzerland
Gloucester, Massachusetts
Grotte de Pech-Merle, France
Harvard University
Hastings, England
Hersheypark, Pennsylvania
Hever Castle
Hiroshima, Japan
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates
Kauai, Hawaii
Kennedy Space Center
Key West
Lake Constance, Switzerland
Lake Powell
Lake Thunersee, Switzerland
Learning the Language
London, England
Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania
Making Your Way by Ferry to the Magic in Disneyland Paris
Managing Memories
Miami, Florida
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montserrat, Spain
More of Hilton Head Island
Mount Fuji & Hakone, Japan
My Quest for the West
New Orleans Revisited
Nikko, Japan
One Place is Never Enough!
Palacio Real
Palm Beach, Florida
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Portsmouth, England
Rocamadour, France
Seattle, Washington
Serendipity 3 in New York City
St. Paul's Cathedral, London
Star Wars in Concert
Taking to the Road
The 'Other' Jersey
The Billie Swamp Safari Park
The Egyptian Museum
The Gardens of Versailles
The Green Heart of the Big Apple
The Manatee Tour
The Palace of Versailles
The Pyramids of Giza
The Walt Disney Family Museum
Tired, Tried And True
Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo, Japan
Traveling the Northern Oregon Coast
Valencia, Spain
Valley of Fire
Viewing Cities From Above
Visiting the French Alps
Willcox, Arizona
Wimbledon Tennis Museum
You Don't Have to Cruise to See Alaska
Zurich, Switzerland

View all PassPorter articles
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF

Hever Castle: Kent, England

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 1/15/2009

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!

Filed in Articles > International Travel > General Travel  

We're blessed to live in a part of England that is steeped in history and, among other things, that means castles dating back hundreds of years. 

I guess it's no surprise that we have so many castles in our part of the world, as we're right on the coastline, with France only 30 miles or so away across the English Channel. Of course, in days gone by, that represented a great threat and wherever you have a great threat, it made sense to build castles to defend your land.

It's fair to say that some castles have more history than others, and that's very much the case with Hever Castle. What makes it so special is one family who played a pivotal part in British history, the Boleyns. The family bought the castle, which dates back to 1270, in the early 1500s and added a Tudor dwelling to the existing gatehouse. This was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, otherwise known as the second of King Henry VIII's six wives. In those days, the idea of a king having a second wife was unheard of, unless his first should tragically die. In this case though, wife number one was very much alive, but Henry decided that he wanted to marry Anne, and that meant a divorce. This was something the church at the time couldn't contemplate, but that was a small matter for Henry, who was determined that church leaders wouldn't stand in the way of his wishes. This led to the establishment of theChurch of England, with the British King or Queen as the supreme head of the church, rather than that authority lying in Rome, as it had done for many hundreds of years. That's why the name of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII are so well known in British history.

It's probably this link that attracts many visitors to Hever Castle, but there's much more to the castle's history than just that, a fact I never realized until our recent visit. After King Henry ordered the beheading of his second wife for treason, Hever Castle was taken away from the Boleyn family as punishment and was later passed on to Henry's fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. It then passed through the ownership of a number of different families, before finally settling with the Astor family in the early 1900s, and this is where it was really brought back to life. By then, the castle needed someone who was prepared to invest a lot of time, money, and indeed love into the castle and that's exactly what William Waldorf Astor did – and that's why it now makes such a great place to visit.

All too often, when you go to castles, there's something to see inside the main building itself and then there are usually gardens or grounds surrounding it for you to wander through, but not normally much to take in. Hever Castle is a very different beast. Inside the castle, they take you on a tour of life in Tudor times, when Anne Boleyn would have lived there. On display are two prayer books, signed and inscribed by Anne. It's amazing to look at them and realize that the writing in front of you dates from such a famous woman, writing more than five hundred years earlier.

Elsewhere, you can see costumed figures of King Henry VIII and all six of his wives. I couldn't help but stand there and gawp at the richness of those costumes. I don't doubt for one moment that wearing those costumes was no fun at all, but my goodness, they did look stunning with their beautiful, vibrant colors.

There are also exhibit rooms that explain about the castle's later history and how the British Royal family tree progressed after the Tudors. We came away feeling that there was a great deal to learn there, particularly for younger members of the family. And those younger members will no doubt love the display of weapons in the Council Chamber that includes instruments of torture and execution. Reading the descriptions of some of those implements is enough to make your eyes water!

Part of the beauty of Hever Castle is that there's so much more to see outside, and a lot of that is down to the work that was done about 100 years ago. 125 acres of spectacular gardens and a lake were created in the grounds, including an Italian garden, complete with sculpture items from Italy, some dating back up to 2,000 years. It was quite a sight and not something that you expect to see at a traditional English castle. As we walked through the gardens, we could tell that they'd been created with a great deal of care and attention.

Another highlight was the Rose Garden, packed with thousands of specimens, although sadly during our visit, their blooms were drawing to a close. I can imagine how it must look at the height of the season. Elsewhere is a Yew Maze to get lost in and a Water Maze that's very much aimed at younger age groups, as it offers the chance to get as wet as you like with jumping water and fountains to be found in various nooks and crannies.

Perhaps the best compliment I can pay to Hever Castle is to say that usually when we visit somewhere, we anticipate spending a couple of hours there at most, but this was different, with the vast majority of the day spent exploring the castle, its grounds, and all it had to offer.

Hever Castle is open daily from Easter to October 31 each year, with more limited opening during the winter months. Tickets are available to see either just the gardens or the castle and gardens, but for the extra money, it's well worth taking the option of the castle and gardens. You won't be disappointed with what you find inside the castle.

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:
Serendipity 3 in New York City - A Dining Review last updated 12/29/2008
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates - A New Year In A New Disney Park last updated 12/18/2008
Valencia, Spain - Travel Tips last updated 11/27/2008
Bellagio of Las Vegas - Simply Bellissimo! last updated 1/08/2009

Reader Comments:

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 1/15/2009 - Article #26 

Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com

by Christine L
26 Jan 2015 at 10:18am
My son went to Germany 2yrs ago for spring break and he was 16, in October we are going on the 5night Western cruise and he will turn 18 the month...
(click title above to view replies)

Copenhagen ?
by Pris
23 Jan 2015 at 6:29pm
DH and I are sailing on our Disney cruise out of Copenhagen. We will be there 1 1/2 days before the cruise. I'm looking at possibly the canal tour...
(click title above to view replies)

Debating..... any advice?
by Alaskan Mom
22 Jan 2015 at 4:55pm
Am deep into planning Europe trip for DD's high school graduation trip and am trying to decide whether to take 4-5 out of 11 days in UK to travel on...
(click title above to view replies)

savings support group?
by Coreada
6 Jan 2015 at 3:37pm
We're saving up for a trip to Disneyland Paris (and possibly Hong Kong), and on my fixed income, the prospect is *daunting*. Is anybody else in this...
(click title above to view replies)

Hawaii Input Appreciated
by SheLovesAriel
3 Jan 2015 at 11:21pm
It looks like our next major trip will be to Hawaii for 2016 - thinking summer time frame; I guess this is a low crowd time of year? We are just...
(click title above to view replies)

What are your 2015 travel plans?
by chezp
1 Jan 2015 at 5:33am
As we're just starting a new year, what are your travel plans, big or small, for the next 12 months? We're making three trips to America this...
(click title above to view replies)

looking for hotel in Chicago
by oldmom
30 Dec 2014 at 12:50pm
We will be taking the train into Chicago and are looking for a hotel that is close to Union Station, possibly close walking distance. However, I...
(click title above to view replies)

Airfare to Hawaii
by Salty
30 Dec 2014 at 12:26pm
Not sure where to post this but on Thursday we can book Aulani for August! I've started looking at airfare from NY and I'm wondering if $856 round...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 3962

PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.