We had the pleasure of visiting Hever Castle in Kent recently. We absolutely love cultural days out for kids. Eden really enjoys visiting castles and exploring the grounds and Hever Castle is the perfect place for this. The grounds are large with picturesque gardens, a yew maze, a water maze and even a boating lake. There is so much to explore and there is always an exciting adventure to be had for a young and imaginative mind. Hever Castle does not disappoint, a fascinating and truly charming place to visit, we had a wonderful time.
Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn so a very interesting visit for anyone interested in King Henry VIII and his 6 wives. Plenty of interesting facts to discover and sights to see.
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Everything there is to see and do at Hever Castle & Grounds, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn in Kent:
Hever Castle is located just outside Edenbridge in Kent. It is set within 125 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens. There is a boating lake, a yew tree maze, a water maze and brand new children’s adventure park Tudor Towers with a new play area for under 7s.
The gardens are simply stunning, there are waterfalls, hidden gardens, a Pompeiian wall dotted with statues, a lake walk, a Japanese Tea House and then there are the mazes. We had so much fun chasing the kids, as they led their way around the Yew tree maze. It’s a good sized maze, it wasn’t too large to get lost in and was fairly simple to solve. The water maze is such great fun. I’d recommend taking a towel as you can get quite wet! You have to avoid water obstacles to get to the centre without getting wet. Obviously kids love getting wet so rather than avoid the water obstacles, jumping through them is much more fun! There is a tower in the centre to climb once you make it to the middle of the maze. You can also hire a boat on the lake or try your hand at archery during your visit.
Children’s Adventure Playground
The addition of the Tudor Towers adventure park is fantastic for kids. A huge wooden castle to explore with slides, tunnels, firemen’s poles to slide down and stairs and nets to climb. We had great fun in the play area, with so much to discover and plenty to keep the kids amused. Playing hide and seek in your very own castle makes for so much fun. The zip wire and tyre swing were great fun.
There is also the added bonus of a coffee kiosk at the playground so adults could relax with a hot drink whilst the children could play and let off some steam. The play area was spacious and very well designed. Most of all it inspired kids to use their imaginations, even becoming rulers of their own castle!
From the outside you wouldn’t believe how large Hever Castle is. It may not look like the largest of castles initially but once you step inside there are so many rooms to explore, it just keeps going we were pleasantly surprised. The walls are adorned with paintings and beautiful wood panelling and each room is filled with interesting things to see. You have the option of an audio guide, if you decide not to opt for this, then there is information in each room to read and members of staff available, if you have any questions.
As we entered the castle Eden was given an explorer trail with a quest for things to look out for in each room. This was a great way to make the visit to the castle more interactive for children. Eden was excited exploring each room looking for items on her list but also taking interest in the displays and paintings. I think she particularly enjoyed looking for the hidden door in The Drawing Room and finding all the hidden faces within the woodwork in The Astor Suite. You can download a copy of the Tudor History Trail here.
The Castle is simply beautiful, from the detailed walnut panelling and columns in The Inner Hall to the impressively detailed fireplace in The Dining Room. You get to visit what was once Anne Boleyn’s bedroom, The Queens Chamber with its fine collection of portraits of Henry VIII and his six wives and King Henry VIII’s bedchamber, where it is thought he stayed during his courtship with Anne Boleyn. There are also exhibitions that run and often with costumed figures that help bring the story to life.
There are a selection of great restaurants and shops at Hever Castle. Whether you want to treat yourself to an ice cream, a bbq, a spot of lunch or an Afternoon Tea, there are options for everyone. Within the Hever Shop you will find the Miniature Model House exhibition. The 1/12 scale model houses are amazing, they are decorated beautifully and the attention to detail is incredible. We really enjoyed our time looking around the model houses, peering inside at the beautiful contents.
Events at Hever Castle
Hever Castle hold many events throughout the year, please check their What’s On page for further details. They hold themed activities and craft workshops, so be sure not to miss those. They also have some amazing shows in their outdoor theatre ‘Festival Theatre‘ coming up this year. You can see all shows available on their website.
On this occasion we visited during Art Week, where you can become an artist for the day and depict the Castle or Gardens in any style, take part in an art challenge or be inspired by the artists in the grounds. You can meet actors, as they portray the famous artists Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo. Join them as they take you on a journey through the grounds and take part in some art challenges. Running May half term until 4th June. The kids had such a lovely time chilling out in grounds with a wonderful view of the garden sketching it, plus us adults got to chill out and have a coffee while we waited!
We had such a wonderful time at Hever Castle, we can’t wait to visit again some time very soon!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does it take to tour Hever Castle?
It takes about 90 minutes to get around the castle itself, or less if you don’t read all the information boards. You need several hours to explore the gardens outside.
Where is Hever Castle?
Hever Castle is located on Hever Rd, Hever, Edenbridge TN8 7NG.
What are the opening times:
The Castle & Gardens are open daily. The Gardens open at 10:30am and the Castle opens at midday. IN main season it is open until 18:00 or 16:30 in the winter.
Are dogs allowed at Hever Castle?
Dogs are allowed in the grounds as long as they’re kept on a lead at all times and in all areas of the grounds.
Is Hever Castle owned by the National Trust?
Hever Castle and Gardens is privately owned and we are not part of the National Trust or English Heritage.
Written in collaboration with Hever Castle, we were invited on a press trip but all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.