Hever Castle is located in Kent, an hour drive from Central London. It sits on give or take 700 years of history and 125 acres of pure beauty. I wanted to showcase a few day trips that one can take for a quick weekend getaway, and the first one is London to Hever.
Driving through 100s of years old forests, through winding roads, surrounded by scattered houses is pure bliss for me. I also got to do this in a Morgan, which added to the beauty of the experience.
The car is just made for the country side (visually) and the high ways (speed wise). If you did not know, I am a big fan of sports cars and I there is no better feeling than pressing the pedal and being pulled back to your seat, as the car roars to start.
There is a huge parking in front of Hever Castle but I will still advise you to head off early, as it does get busy. Also, the road are emptier and you avoid traffic.
Why visit the castle?
Well, it is really pretty to start with. The gardens bloom in pretty much every season starting with blossoms, ending with the roses (or red ivy, if you are into a red carpet walls, covered in ivy). The route getting there is scenic once you are off the highway. They also do reenactments from back in the day, where everyone is dressed up and they fire cannons.
The castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII and Queen of England. However, no royals come with no drama. I do love a bit of spice added to the history books. First she gave birth to Queen Elizabeth I, that disappointed Henry as he wanted a son (guys were so weird back then). Then, Henry, after trying for a son a few times and being unsuccessful, started hooking up with wife number 3 to be. In the meantime, he accused Anne of high treason (cheating rumours) and got her beheaded after a trial by a jury, led by her uncle (obviously blood was not thicker than water back then).
Nowadays, it is questionable how much of the adultery claims, incest rumours etc were true. Either way, visiting the castle portrays the story of love, hate, betrayal and death in a beautiful way.
A few tips:
There is a coffee shop/restaurant on the grounds but my advice to bring your own picnic. The food choice and quality is really underwhelming, and also price-y. Bring your blankets, basket and food, and you can enjoy sipping bubbly under the rose bushes (for the non driving people of course).
You can also hire a rolling/pedal boat and explore the lake. It is really stunning and if I had more time when I visited and it was not raining, I would have spent half my day there, pedalling around.
Entrance for the castle and grounds are £17 for adults and reduced fees for children and students. It is a beautiful day out, so I hope you enjoy it.