A day at Hever Castle and Gardens….

With the school holidays drawing to a close and my last day of annual leave this summer, I took a trip to Hever Castle and Gardens (week 35).  I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been there before, as I certainly had heard about it.

The history bit: The original castle was built in 1270 and was home to one of the most powerful families in the 15th and 16th century, the Bullens.  It later became home to Anne Boleyn (Henry VIII’s second wife).  The castle that we see today is very much thanks to William Waldorf Astor who in 1903 invested vast amounts of his time and money into restoring the castle which he extended and made his family home.

A picture taken in the Italian Gardens at Hever Castle 30-08-2013

And what a great day it was too.  The sun was shining but there was a nice light breeze with scattered clouds, which meant the walking and hiking around the grounds wasn’t too uncomfortable.

The water maze was one of the main attractions which you would have expected on such a warm day.  The aim was to get to the top of the tower in the centre WITHOUT getting wet.  Not sure anyone managed that but actually I’m not sure they cared either as they were having so much fun.

It was nice to sit and hear the laughs of joy and giggles of laughter when the wrong stone was stepped on and a squirt of water came up from out of nowhere to wet all who stood by.

There was another maze made of Yew trees.  It must have been there for many years as it was well established.  I can just imagine the care and encouragement a team of gardeners would have given in the development of such an intricate set of pathways, with the aim of providing decades of joy and entertainment to generations of children and adults.

Just to prove I made It to the centre:

The obelisk at the centre of the Yew Tree maze at Hever Castle

The obelisk at the centre of the Yew Tree maze at Hever Castle

A view of Hever Castle taken from the obelisk at the centre of the Yew Tree maze.

Such good fun!

……

There were many other things to see and do at the Castle, with plenty of room to bring your own picnic and outdoor games.  It also didn’t feel too overcrowded and you could easily find yourself a quiet spot away from the hubbub of the main areas.

And so to the Castle….  This was very well laid out and organised, with a clear route through so you could see a lot of the original castle architecture.  Some of the wood and stone work was intricately carved to an amazing standard and to think the tools available to carry out such works prior to the 20th century were probably hand tools, possibly made by the craftsmen themselves.  Also the amount of patience the craftsmen must have had to create such decadent intricate masterpieces, I certainly wouldn’t have that sort of patience.  It may have even been the craftsmans life’s work in those days but I’m no historian.  Anyway I was in awe (my fascination with buildings is creeping in again).  Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of my own from inside the castle, but there are lots online.

http://www.hevercastle.co.uk/

Hever Castle taken from the side at a distance

Hopefully a view from the outside with suffice.  I hope you get a chance to visit this castle.

And here ends my blog this week, I hope you enjoyed this small bit of English history with a royal edge, until next week….

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