There’s something magical about a castle. Fairytale romances, gallant chivalry, and courtly intrigues pervade the thick stone walls. It’s particularly true of a castle that was home to a wife of Henry VIII, one of the most famous kings of England. I’ve been meaning to take a day trip to Hever Castle for years, and I’ve finally traveled to Kent to see Anne Boleyn’s childhood home in all its regal splendor.

Day Trip to Hever Castle

Day Trip to Hever Castle

I’m a big fan of taking day trips from London, not least because they’re a great way to escape the city and immerse myself in a different part of England.

Daffodils at Hever Castle

Hever Castle is an easy one, too. A short train ride from central London, the nearest stations are a quick taxi trip or—even better—a nice country walk away through the local fields.

Hever Castle

Hever Castle

Now that I’m here, I find myself in exactly the fairytale I hoped for.

Hever Castle

A moat hugs the stately stone castle and whimsical deer-shaped trees surround it. A life-size yew maze and topiary chess set add an Alice-in-Wonderland ambiance, and suddenly I’m five years old and seriously in awe of something spectacular again.

Topiary Chess Set at Hever Castle

Inside Hever Castle, I tour the rooms where Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII once frequented. Many of them feature a mix of historical styles from the 16th century and the 20th, when the famous Astor family bought the castle and made it their home.

Hever Castle

But for me the real magic lies outside the castle walls.

Tulips at Hever Castle

Beyond the hedges and topiary deer sit picture-pretty bridges and a larger-than-life water maze where children of all ages (ahem, my boyfriend) run across floating blocks that send geysers shooting into the air as they pick their way to the tower in the center.

Bridge, Hever Castle

And then there’s the Italian Garden. Of everything on the 125 acres surrounding Hever Castle, it’s by far the most beautiful. Tulips of every shade line expansive landscaped lawns while giant urns overflow with the excesses of spring.

Italian Garden, Hever Castle

Hedges surround secret reflecting pools, and at the very end of the garden a loggia overlooks a placid lake. It’s straight out of a fairytale, only this time I’m in it.

Italian Garden, Hever Castle

And maybe that’s the best part about Hever Castle. Sure, it’s nice to imagine the intrigues of Anne and Henry all those centuries ago. But it’s even more fun to live the fairytale today.

A Lady in London at Hever Castle

Have you taken a day trip to Hever Castle? What did you like best?

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Day Trip to Hever Castle

27 Comments on Lady’s Day Trip to Hever Castle

  1. This was one of the very first castle’s I ever went to in England almost 40 years ago and it still holds a very special place in my heart. It was and is the best. We were in London this past December and if we had had more time I would have made sure I got there. Another special place to stop by and maybe visit is Gravetye Manor in East Grinstead. It would be right up your alley!

  2. I’m kinda sad I went to school for a semester in London and I never explored half of these places! So much like a fairytale, I need to go back 🙂

  3. On my last two trips to England, I’ve thought about taking a day trip to Hever Castle, but it just hasn’t worked out. I really need to make it a priority next time!

  4. Hello, when I went there last June, it was very hot.
    I saw one of Henly 8th’s wives ghost ! She was outside and smiled at me!
    She was very pritty lady though( Anne Boleyn).
    I also saw Kalmia latifoli flower first time.
    I enjoyed your blogs, thank you very much(^^) and sorry for my poor english.

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