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Heve(r) Ho!

The sun shone brightly in the blue, cloudless sky. Birds were twittering, there was a slight breeze that cooled our brows and it was lushly green as far as our eyes could see. As I stood next to the lapping water, I so wished I could just lay down here, for ever and never be taken away from this beautiful vista surrounding me.

I was at Hever Castle, in Kent, England, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. I can honestly say that it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in. Whichever direction I turned, there were picture postcard perfect scenes. Tall, shadowy trees, stood whispering through the skies. Despite the screaming children and the milling families, there was a sense of calm and serenity in the air.

The castle started its life as an ordinary farmhouse in 1270 AD. When its owner, Geoffrey Bullen (Anne's great grandfather), was made the Lord Mayor of London, the house was upgraded to a manor house, as befitted a Lord Mayor. From 1505, the castle was the home of Sir Thomas Boleyn, the 1st Earl of Wiltshire and 1st Earl of Ormonde and Anne's father. Though it is unclear if Anne was born here, there are loads of references to suggest that Anne, along with her siblings Mary and George, spent her childhood years here. Upon her death, the castle became the property of her husband, King Henry VIII, who gave it to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, as a part of her divorce settlement.

Tudor Village

The castle then changed hands a few times, fell into disrepair and was finally bought by the rich American family of William Waldorf Astor. When Astor moved to England, he bought the dilapidated castle and upgraded it to an extremely high standard. He constructed the famous "Tudor Village" to accommodate guests and built the gardens and the lake.

The current owners bought the castle in 1983 and opened it up to the general public. There are some magnificient 16th century portraits on display, as well as Anne Boleyn's prayer books and some scenes from her life. The main draw, however, are the splendid gardens. Astor expanded the existing garden to include the Italian Garden, to house his collection of Italian sculptures. There is also a beautiful Rose Garden, touted to house more than 3,000 plants. Astor also got the lake constructed, which took 748 labourers to dig and two whole years before it was ready. The latest owners are credited with the Millennium Fountain and the hugely popular Water Maze.

Water Maze

Situated around 30 miles from London, this is a local favourite. On a clear sunny day, it makes for a fantastic picnic spot. With acres of flowers, boating facilities on the lake and three mazes, the castle offers something for every member of the family. Entrance is priced at a modest £10.40 and is well worth every penny.

Posted by DesiGirl 1:00 am  


  1. Anonymous said...
    Try going to the Leeds Castle , which is near Maidstone , Kent.Even that is awesome
    Desigirl said...
    Been there, done that - just haven't blogged about it.
    Amrita said...
    Can i just tell you I giggled when I saw the title? I mean - Hever Ho? hee hee hee.

    I'm such a child, I know.
    desiGirl said...
    You ARE a child, Ams! It was a clever twist of heave ho as well as 'onwards to wherever'. tsk tsk!


    (look who's talking - i know, i know!)
    apu said...
    Very nice ! I have a castle on my agenda...maybe could consider this one??
    desigirl said...
    How many days you are here again? 23??? No, wait? Is it 2? Or possibly 3?
    Premalatha said...

    Looks like you had fantastic time. We went to Isle of Wight. It was fun.
    Debbie said...
    Wow that looks amazing I'll have to go see it. Have you ever been to warwick or ludlow castle?
    DG said...
    no to both, debbie. might make it to warwick castle later on in the summer. have visited Leeds - whilst I didnt think the castle was majorly great, the gardens blew me away!

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