Hever Castle

Hever Castle


Location: Edenbridge, Kent Map

Constructed: started in 1270
Tel. 01732 865 224
Open: Apr- Oct: daily
Nov, Dec, Mar: Thu- Sun
Gardens Open: 11am- 6pm
Castle Open: noon- 6pm

Official site


Description of Hever Castle

Hever Castle is a medieval citadel that stands in Edenbridge, Kent in United Kingdom. The construction of the Hever citadel started in 1270. Hever Castle was bought in late 15th century by Geoffrey Bullen (Boleyn). He made a large fortune, was knighted and later became the Lord Mayor of London. He undertook significant reconstruction in the medieval castle making more comfortable for civilian life rather than a military fortress. His grandson Thomas Bullen (Boleyn) was born here in 1477 and in 1498 married daughter of the Duke of Norfolk, Elizabeth Howard. They had three surviving children including George, Anne and Mary.



Hever Castle was the country home of the Boleyn family. Built as a country house in the 13th century, it was converted into a manor house in 1462 by Geoffrey Boleyn, Lord Mayor of London. The remains of the half-timbered dwelling can be seen between the stone walls of the fortification. Some time after 1505 the Boleyn family moved into Hever Castle. Anne Boleyn and her siblings Mary Boleyn and George Boleyn spent part of their childhood here before Anne was sent to the Netherlands and the French royal court to be educated between 1513 and 1521. Three years after Anne Boleyn married King Henry VIII, Anne and her brother George were executed in 1536 for treason. Her father, Thomas Boleyn, died in 1539. Hever Castle then came into the possession of Henry VIII, who gave it to Anne of Cleves in 1540 after his divorce, although she is believed to have spent little time there.

In the period that followed the building changed hands several times, including the Waldegrave family in 1557 and the Meade-Waldo family from 1749 to 1903. In recent periods the building, used by various private tenants, has fallen into disrepair. In 1903 the British-American millionaire William Waldorf Astor bought the property along with 51 hectares of land. After the marriage of his son Waldorf Astor to Nancy Witcher Langhorne in 1906, he gave the couple his residence in Cliveden and moved to Hever Castle, which he completely restored at great expense and rebuilt in a pseudo-medieval style. A hamlet just outside the moat was also rebuilt and expanded in pseudo-Tudor style. On his marriage in 1916 to Lady Violet Mary Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, Astor's youngest son, John Jacob Astor V (1886-1971), knighted Baron Astor of Hever in 1956, received Hever Castle. The property is now a conference center but the castle is open to the public. The impressive gatehouse is the only surviving medieval part of Hever Castle.



Astor commissioned architect Frank Pearson to create a four-acre Italianate-style walled garden, for which he imported numerous sculptures and planters from the Villa Borghese. A Palladian-style pavilion, a loggia overlooking a large artificial lake with an island of 7 hectares and a replica of the Trevi Fountain complete the ensemble. The wall of the loggia was designed in the Pompeian style, containing niches and rotundas for statues and other archaeological finds looted from Rome. The square yew maze was created in 1904. In 2013 the yew trees were cut back radically to restore the original shape. Nearby is a group of topiaries cut into chess pieces and an Anne Boleyn garden which is landscaped with garden plants from her lifetime. Anne's orchard with espalier fruit houses beehives. A small water maze was opened in 1987. The extensive landscaped gardens include a rose garden, a blue garden and the Diana Walk with prairie-style perennial plantings.