Date: 30th September 2022
Travelled: 30 miles from Cranbrook to Hever, Kent
Visited: Hever Castle
Stayed: Fernhurst, free, N00.00030, E00.00840
Budget: 128 days @ €98 per day
You can decide for yourselves if this is a bonus blog or just one too many.
We spend a wonderful evening in Kent catching up with John, Linda and family our tugger friends from many years ago when we spent a week on the roadside in Malta. Lovely to share a meal and some memories with two such like minded people.
We have a free day and I have a marker on Hever Castle some 30 miles north-west of Cranbrook. Stuck back in Aus during Covid we had watched a series on Anne Boleyn of Henry VIII fame. It highlighted the Boleyn family home, Hever Castle in Kent, so I made a marker to prompt a visit if were passing.
The D road across from Tonbridge was narrow and lined with hedgerows which only makes it worse. We arrive at Hever in one piece getting directed to the bus carpark which is a lot closer than the carpark.
Walking down through the gate pictured below to the ticket office, £19.40 pp (seniors) is privately owned and operated, not managed by the National Trust or English Heritage which is often the case from our experience.
Once through the gate we find ourselves walking down an avenue lined with some wonderfully imaginative topiary and manicured lawns.
Still a bit awe struck we decide to visit the castle first as there are few people around just yet. The castle was built around 1270 as a moat and bailey. Essentially a moat surrounding a central keep or tower, by 1462 and now owned by the Boleyn family its extended into a Tudor manor house still within a moat.
We collect our audio guides and do the tour, some highlight pictures are below. (click any and gallery will open)
Obviously the tour has a focus on Anne Boleyn as Hever was the family home and Henry VIII visited Hever staying here whilst courting Anne, which is what brought us here in the first place.
The Boleyn family name is actually a churching up their original family name which was Bullen.
However the tour also acknowledges the American millionaire, William Waldorf Astor who purchased Hever in a dilapidated state in 1903 before commencing a renovation of the whole estate. The renovation strictly to the artistry and detail of 15th century Tudor period.
Astor had a picturesque cluster of Tudor cottages built behind Hever as accomodation for his guests.
Having completed our tour of the house we continue on to the gardens. The grounds are what we would call classically English, large open lawns trimmed to perfection surrounded by mature trees. A hint of autumn colouring in the leaves. The path through the Italian Garden continues all the way to the lake. Off this main pathway we find a series of smaller gardens.
The gardens are a wonderful walk, we spend 90 minutes wandering the various gardens and pavilions. Despite the expense we are so glad we had the time to spend half a day here.
We have a very late lunch in the carpark before returning to the Kentish laneways as we continue west. Out for dinner at the Red Lion tonight with Pam’s cousin which is always a good night.
Michael + Pam