Visit to Hever Castle

As part of the Jubilee Celebrations this weekend, we spent a glorious day at Hever Castle!

Hever, an incredibly romantic 13th century Castle

kent, the garden of england

Hever Castle is situated in the English County of Kent, near Edenbridge, around 30 miles South-East of London. Kent itself, is a beautifully verdant County, often nick-named ‘The Garden of England.’ When driving through the pleasant leafy lanes and pretty villages, it’s not hard to see why. Kent is home to acres and acres of ancient woodland and is choc-full of beautiful gardens, both public and private. It’s generously peppered with historic places of interest to visit, such as Chartwell (home of Wiston Churchill), Sissinghurst and Canterbury Cathedral originally founded in the year 597!

Views over Kent, from Toy’s Hill, Westerham, Kent
Emily and a certain Mr. Churchill, on Westerham Green, Kent!

hever’s history

Hever Castle may not be quite as old as that, but its history does span back some 700 years! Built in 1270, it was originally a medieval defensive castle with gatehouse and walled bailey (a courtyard enclosed by a Curtain Wall). During the 15th and 16th Centuries, it became the home of the Boleyn’s, one of the most powerful families in the country.

Hever was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the tragically ill-fated second wife of King Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn, Queen for 1000 days, was the mother of Elizabeth I, and played a huge role in England’s departure from Catholicism and the start of the Reformation.

As the centuries passed, the Castle gradually fell into decline. In 1903, it was bought by William Waldorf Aster, a wealthy American man with a passion for History. He poured much money and time into restoring the castle and its extensive grounds, commissioning a Tudor Village, and creating the huge lake that was dug out by hand!

Side view of the castle with Aster’s Tudor Village
Lake Portico

Today, the castle is still privately owned, but has become a much-loved place for the public to visit, attracting visitors from all over the world, all year round. There is always something interesting going on at Hever, including jousting, open air theatre showings, concerts, fireworks displays and all sorts of other events. You can even get married at Hever! Can you imagine?

Without further ado, I really hope you enjoy some of the photos from our visit. Apparently, we didn’t manage to see everything – which is always the perfect excuse to go back!

Walkway into the Castle
The Castle Entrance, suitably decorated for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

Some of the Queen’s Corgi’s were missing around the castle grounds during our visit!

The Italian Garden with its huge trellis of Wisteria
What a wonderful day!

Trip to The Cotswolds

When my husband announced last month, that we were going to the Cotswolds, images of Lilliput Lane style cottages, trickling rivers and stone bridges instantly sprang to mind.

Turned out I was right about those things. But as the trip loomed, and we began planning our route, I soon realised that my knowledge of the area was extremely limited.

I had no idea that the Cotswolds was such a vast area, spanning almost 800 square miles, and five different English Counties – namely: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire!

Lechlade on Thames

I had no idea either that the River Thames flowed as far away from London as Gloucestershire – and that the village we would be staying in, Lechlade on Thames, was situated on the highest navigational point along the River.

St. Lawrence’s Church spire, standing tall over Lechlade-on-Thames
It was fun to meet Little Jen, the donkey, outside the church on Palm Sunday!

Lechlade is a lovely little town with a friendly feel. It’s full of charming shops, inviting looking pubs and restaurants, and its fair share of stone cottages!

It’s a wonderful place for walkers – St John’s Lock is situated nearby, and we spent a lovely morning ambling along the canal path.

cirencester

The County of Gloucestershire has so much to offer – we so enjoyed driving past fields of green, and plenty of wide-open space – a welcome change from the London suburb we live in. The Spring flowers were out in full force, and many of the Cotswold villages looked even more beautiful with an abundance of daffodils and tulips.

There are also plenty of towns and cities to explore, including Gloucester, Cheltenham and Cirencester – a handsome and historic Market Town. It was such a wonderful place to browse, with interesting, high-end shops, selling anything from household furnishings to artisan pastries.

BIBURY

Our trip to the Cotswolds would not have been complete without a trip to at least one of the quintessential villages that make this area so famous.

Bibury is arguably the most photographed village in the Cotswolds.

As soon as we got out of the car, it wasn’t difficult to see why.

It’s famous for Arlington Row, an exceptionally old row of weaver’s cottages dating back to the 14th Century.

It’s hard to fully describe or photograph the curved sweep of stone cottages, with the gurgling River Coln which winds its way past them. Pictures really do not do this place justice. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, peaceful and so rich in history – it’s hard not to imagine the generations of people who may have lived in these cottages.

Arlington Row

We left the Cotswolds feeling revitalised and rested and as though our senses had been soothed by all the beautiful scenery. We also had the strong feeling that we had only just scratched the surface of all the wonderful places to explore! Not a bad place to end a trip I suppose…

We will definitely return some day.