The Hever Castle in Kent is a splendid sight, seemingly floating on the expansive moat surrounding it. It is exquisitely located amongst beautiful meticulously maintained gardens, presenting an alluring sight to the observer. The castle is entered through a drawbridge which extends over the wide moat. Tourists must then pass through two portcullises so as to reach the castle’s innermost courtyard. This handsome edifice is renowned for being the former home of Henry VIII’s second wife, Ann Boleyn.
Hever Castle inherits a long and interesting historical legacy. The first construction at this site was commenced by William de Hever as far back as 1270; however the only existing remnant from this early construction is the gatehouse. In the year 1462 this fortress passed into the hands of the Boleyns, and in due course Geoffrey Boleyn added large sections to the fortress on either side of the gatehouse.
A few decades after Hever was acquired by the Boleyns, Anne, its best known occupant was born. Anne spent the greater part of her early years at this location and it is thought that Henry VIII visited this site while he was courting Anne. Thomas de Boleyn, Anne’s father was responsible for further expanding Hever, adding an array of features such as the Long Gallery. After the death of Anne Boleyn, the castle was handed over to the monarch’s fourth consort, Anne of Cleves. In later times over the course of centuries the property came to be possessed by a number of different owners, eventually passing into the hands of William Astor in 1903. This wealthy individual used his great wealth to develop the property, refurbishing the castle, constructing additional features and adding the breathtaking gardens.
Today the visitor will notice a number of features of interest within the castle, such as valuable Tudor era furniture, tapestries and portraits. You will also find a numbers of exhibits devoted to Anne as well as Henry VIII. The visitor will also be enthralled by such external features as ancient trees and an interesting maze.
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Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.