About the garden
At a time when many grand gardens in England still bore the unmistakable legacy of ‘Capability’ Brown, Hever Castle Gardens, situated in the beautiful Weald of Kent, broke the mould.
They were created by the American multi-millionaire, William Waldorf Astor, who moved to England at the turn of the 20th century declaring that the US was "no longer a fit place for a gentleman to live". He became a British subject in 1899. When Astor acquired Hever Castle, all traces of any former gardens had disappeared, with the exception of a few ancient fruit trees and a moat surrounding the old building.
More than 1,000 men worked on the grand design between 1904 and 1908, with a further 800 men taking two years to dig the lake. The construction of the gardens entailed a tremendous movement of earth by great steam diggers and a small temporary railway to make up the new features and contours. In just four years, 125 acres (50 ha) of classical gardens and natural landscapes were constructed from marshland and rough meadow. Astor’s passion for the Tudors and love for Italy, together with his wealth and imagination, resulted in an eclectic garden design that is recognised today as one of the great gardens of the world.
Each area of the gardens has its own style and character, from the magnificent Italian Garden which leads to the majestic loggia overlooking a 38-acre lake, to the Tudor Garden and Walled Rose Garden containing more than 4,000 fragrant roses. Wander further afield and enjoy Sunday Walk and Church Gill Walk that follow the course of a stream through peaceful woodland or Anne Boleyn’s Walk, with its impressive collection of trees planted more than 100 years ago and Diana’s Walk with its drifts of perennials.