Hever Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Hever Castle.

  • Hever Castle is located in Kent, near the village of the same name. It is about 48 km south east of London and has been open to the public since 1983.
  • The gatehouse was built in 1270 and is the oldest part of the castle. In the early 16th century, it became the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VIII‘s six wives.

  • Henry often met Anne at the castle, as well as at nearby Bolebroke Castle. Hever Castle still has on display one of the personal locks that Henry took with him on visits to homes.
  • In 1540, Henry gave the castle to another of his wives, Anne of Cleves. After that, it had several different owners before falling into disrepair in the early 18th century.
  • The Meade Waldo family bought Hever Castle in 1749. They rented rooms to farmers who charged the public to see some of the older parts of the building.
  • The American millionaire William Waldorf Astor bought Hever Castle in 1903. Astor created the lake and the gardens; he also opened the luxurious Waldorf Hotel in London.
  • Astor also planted the castle’s famous maze, one of only a few traditionally designed in the UK. It covers an area of almost 600 square metres, and has hedges up to 2.75 metres high.
  • The castle has two of Anne Boleyn’s prayer books, or Books of Hours. They were made in Belgium in about 1450 and were printed on vellum, or calf skin.
  • The castle’s collection of armour and weapons includes beheading swords dating from the 16th century. It also includes several bride’s scolds, contraptions used to prevent gossiping women from talking.
  • There are also an adventure playground and water maze on the grounds. In June 2013, a Japanese tea house folly was opened in the grounds of Hever Castle.

What next? Discover more facts about castles, or learn more about the Tudors.