Hever Castle, Kent

Wow, so my last post was in early July. I didn’t intend to take such a long break, but over the past year I’ve ostensibly been writing my Masters dissertation and true to form, I needed a deadline to really give me the push I needed to finish it. As an undergraduate student I would pull all-nighters and do long days to finish things, but with a full-time job that hasn’t been an option (although I did use a few weeks of annual leave to  get chunks of the writing done), so something had to drop from my schedule and blogging was the thing to go.

I finally handed my dissertation in, all 15,000 words of it, at the end of September and to celebrate we headed to Kent for a little weekend away. A while ago I won a Kent Attractions Pass from Visit Kent and so we decided to make use of it to celebrate finishing. We booked ourselves a cute little Airbnb near Broadstairs and decided to hire a car rather than taking the train so that we could get about more easily. We couldn’t check in until 3pm so leaving London on a Saturday morning we detoured via Hever Castle (one of the attractions covered by our pass). I had initially thought that we might visit Leeds Castle, but I read a review suggesting that Hever was better, so we went there instead.

Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and is everything you could want from a fairytale castle – surrounded by a moat and beautiful landscaped gardens. We were lucky with a lovely mild early Autumn day. As we’d driven from London we probably arrived about 11am but it was still relatively quiet which was lovely.

The face of the castle was covered in gorgeous Autumnal reddening foliage. The house has latterly been owned by the Astor family and was restored under their oversight. It now houses various exhibitions about the Tudors (including prayer books of Anne Boleyn) and also about the house itself.

Some of the rooms however are set out as family rooms, the library in particular being somewhere I could have easily hunkered down with a cup of tea and a good book.

Make sure you take change as for 50p you can buy a bag of duck and fish food to make ducky friends in grounds.

The grounds are extensive and on the day we went they were holding a charity dog run, which meant we got to enjoy seeing lots of cute dogs run about.

The Italian gardens were gorgeous and beautifully maintained, grapes still hung from their vines even though the leaves were turning red. I could have easily imagined we were abroad, not in Kent.

Although the majority of the flowers were probably beyond their best, a dahlia garden was still in full bloom. I do love a dahlia and think they’re way more deserving of some Instagram love than the now over-exposed peony (sorry peonies).

Following a lovely wander around we headed across the road to the King Henry VIII pub for an excellent lunch, much better than its proximity to Hever Castle might suggest, before hitting the road in our little hire car and heading through a seemingly endless network of country roads out towards Broadstairs and our little Airbnb home for the weekend.

Hever Castle was surprisingly lovely though and I thoroughly recommend it for an afternoon out if you’re in the area (or even if you aren’t).

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