I recently had the privilege of staying at Hever Castle, the former home of Anne Boleyn, which is surrounded by beautiful Kent countryside.
The castle first came into the Boleyn family’s possession, when it was bought by Geoffrey Boleyn, Anne’s great-grandfather, in 1462. William Waldorf Astor then purchased it in 1903, and it was finally taken over by current owners, the Guthries, in 1983.
Hever’s 28 luxury en-suite bed and breakfast suites were renovated and opened to the public 10 years ago. They are situated in an area of the castle’s estate which began as servants’ quarters. They are set within two wings: the Anne Boleyn Wing and the Astor Wing, both of which are Edwardian, but built in Tudor style.
I stayed in the Anne Boleyn Wing, which also gave me access to the Astor Wing Lounge and Billiards Room. My room was full of natural light, and the period decor was unique, with wallpaper featuring scripted handwriting, which gave it real character. There was a lounge area attached to the bedroom, which contained a sofa bed and a television, along with a selection of books and magazines. My en-suite was decorated in a clean, soft white and I have to admit to some amusement as I attempted to work the sensors on the tiled walls that adjust the water temperature. I didn't have the opportunity to use the beautiful roll top bath, but I will make that a priority on my next stay.
One of the first things I do when I enter a hotel room is open the window. On doing so in this room, I was treated to an incredible view of the castle and its drawbridge: something which never fails to take my breath away.
Once I'd investigated every corner of my room, I opted for a stroll through the beautiful gardens. I stopped to listen as I passed one of the fountains – such a therapeutic sound – before visiting the Pompeian Wall, and taking a selfie with the paper in front of a statue in the Italian Garden!
On discovering the King Henry VIII pub, just outside the grounds of the castle, I decided to stop for a glass of wine before dinner. Booking is advisable, as they often cannot accommodate walk-ins, but I was lucky on this occasion: the weather was kind and I was able to sit in the sunshine in their garden. When I was ready to leave, I took the designated residents’ walkway through the castle graveyard and headed back to the B&B.
Before breakfast the next morning, I sat in the courtyard making notes for this review, and imagining what it might have been like when the Boleyn family lived at the castle during King Henry VIII's reign.
While in the Breakfast Room, I asked for one of the window seats and enjoyed another stunning view across the orchard to the castle, as I leisurely sipped my coffee (something I can only do when child-free!). I don't usually eat a lot for breakfast, but on this occasion I just had to sample Hever’s full English, which was delicious, saving their continental option for another time.
As a guest of the B&B, I received complimentary access to the castle during my stay. After breakfast, I discovered what a treat it was to be able to wear the headset and follow the historical tour uninterrupted, without having to run after my five-year-old, as I usually do when visiting! The wealth of information you are provided with is fascinating, and I learned so much about the castle’s history.
Before I left, I thought about taking advantage of the facilities at Hever’s Health and Wellbeing Centre, but I decided to use that as an excuse to return on another occasion. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the castle and would definitely recommend a night or two as a treat for yourself, or perhaps as a gift for a special occasion.
To book your stay visit www.hevercastle.com, or call 01732 861800.