It’s one of the biggest attractions in the fertile county known as the Garden of England. So add Hever Castle to your Kent travel plans and book a hotel close by – it’s easy with Culture Trip.
A quick heads up: 12th-century Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the ultimately beheaded second wife of Henry VIII. It woos visitors in their masses with its double-moated surrounds and its assorted prize-winning gardens including a giant topiary chess set, a homage to Italy and a quintessential English Rose Garden. Want to stay within easy reach? Choose one of these best places to stay nearby – and book it through Culture Trip.
This 19th-century mansion, its name a nod to the nearby spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, is a renowned relaxation-station, from its indoor swimming pool to its steam room, sauna and gym. With all that under your belt you’ll have earned the indulgent afternoon tea, with stacks of scones and Nyetimber sparkling wine. As you indulge, admire your surroundings – the Orangery is where you’ll head for breakfast. Rooms cater for all types, from the snug but pretty Single Traveller, with its floral headboard and fur throw, to the Spacious category with cute seating areas and lashings of texture and colour.
If you’ve a soft spot for a photogenic period feature, you’ll be at home in this Grade II-listed, 15th-century village pub corseted in climbing ivy. Be sure to pack an appetite – inventive menus, brimming with Kentish produce, include Scotch eggs, soused mackerel and gazpacho; they also do a generous full English. Characterful rooms range from the grand and four-postered variety to the raspberry-bright Pink Suite sleeping four, perfect for families. Speaking of which, you’re less than half a mile from Penshurst Place & Gardens – a local manor house that drives children wild with its adventure playground and maze.
Just 20 minutes’ drive from Gatwick Airport, the town of East Grinstead is a good base for holidaymakers just off their flights. Attractions including Hever Castle and Churchill’s home, Chartwell House, are in the vicinity. This fine four-star bed and breakfast occupies a large, wisteria-clad 1930s detached residence, on a quiet street within easy walking distance of the railway station. Rooms, including singles – without breakfast – twins and doubles, are domestically simple, clean and comfortable, down to the thoughtful supplies of buttery biscuits and hot drinks.
Betting types all jockey for a room at this pampering hotel, right by Lingfield Park Racecourse. Wellness lovers are in their element, too: there’s a blue-mosaic indoor spa pool and a menu of treatments. Colourful, spacious rooms deliver views over the racecourse or the 18-hole golf course. Can’t decide? You’ll get both in a junior suite. Cooked breakfast and dinner are served in the smart Cyprium Restaurant, and you can snack, lunch and drink until late in the Cyprium Bar Lounge. Sightseeing includes Hever with its postcard castle, an easy 5mi (8km) jaunt by car.
You won’t starve at this establishment, famed for pub classics based on ingredients from local suppliers, produce from biodynamic farms nearby and meat dry-aged in house. The six rooms are calm and neutral, with rich velvet armchairs or tweedy headboards. An alpine theme plays throughout: tackle the Alps mushroom omelette, gooey with gruyere and Emmental. No need to feel guilty – you can hike it all off with a walk in the leafy glades of Ashdown Forest close by, or drive the 20 minutes to Hever Castle and wander around the spectacular gardens.
You’ll be greeted by 15th-century splendour – a grand black-and-white, half-timbered facade – arriving at this four-star property, conveniently just over a mile from Sevenoaks railway station. Step inside to find swathes of regal red that nod to medieval traditions. Rooms lean towards cosy, autumnal shades of reddish brown and orange – choose classic doubles for a walk-in shower experience. With some of the best golf courses in Kent – or even England – close by, this hotel is a dead-cert for clubbers and swingers. Fuel up first on the hefty full English or afternoon tea.
Close to the village green in sleepy Pembury, near Royal Tunbridge Wells, this history-laced coaching inn is popular for its revamped rooms in soothing, earthy shades with pretty wooden furniture. If you’re here for romance, go all out with the room containing the mahogany four-poster bed. Downstairs, the pub is a place where well-worn floorboards meet classic tongue-and-groove walls, home to a light-filled garden room in which to slowly wake up over kippers and mushrooms on toast. Everyone loves the brick-walled garden with flowers and plenty of seating in the sun – and all this is just half an hour’s drive from Hever.
The scale is decidedly domestic, the exteriors straight-forward red-brick – and the three bedrooms (twin, king and super-king) are show-home spick and span, with walk-in showers. Two overlook Knole Park, where deer suddenly appear, and one faces the back garden. Book the twin for below-floor heating and warm oak underfoot. In the pine-clean sitting/breakfast room, guests gaze over the garden while digging into continental breakfast – before gearing up to hike around Hever Castle and gardens, a 15-minute drive away.