Hever Castle

Hever Near Edenbridge Kent TN8 7NG

At just a mile's walk from Hever train station, Hever Castle, probably best known as the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, is is one of the few attractions in rural inland Kent that's easily accessible by public transport. It has beautiful gardens and a number of family activities – you could spend at least half a happy day here. The "castle" itself is in fact a beamed and moated Tudor manor house and surprisingly small, but full of interest. There's lots of information on the Astors, the wildly wealthy American magnates who bought Hever in 1903 – and who were responsible for refurbishing and refurnishing the place with many of the reproductions you see here today. It's not all mock-Tudor, however: you'll see a good number of original pieces, including in Anne's bedroom, and can even examine close up the Bible she carried with her to her execution. As for the gardens, they are among Kent's largest and best, sweeping out towards a tranquil lake. The abundant rose gardens, azaleas and rich bank of rhododendrons bring colour and drama depending on the season, while the Italian area, dotted with ancient statuary, is stunning year round. You can bring the dog and take a bracing stroll around the lake, rent a rowboat to take a leisurely paddle, or simply spread out on the grass with a picnic. In summer try your hand at the yew maze and water maze, or even at archery – you may well come across a jousting tournament or some other special event. There's also a small adventure playground for the kids. 

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