An Unforgettable ride awaits on the Royal Windsor Steam Express
Recommended| Royal Windsor Steam Express
Sit back, relax, and let the meditation of steam travel take you through masterpieces of art as you pass through countrysides. Enjoy an unforgettable ride onboard the Royal Windsor Steam Express to one of UK’s most popular destinations, the town of Windsor, Berkshire.
About Royal Windsor Steam Express
The Royal Windsor Steam Express is managed by The Steam Dreams Rail Co. Since its inception in 1999, the Company has been making dreams come true for steam train lovers! They have been running services with practical itineraries to popular Cathedral cities, beautiful coastal towns and gardens in the UK. Also on offer are some incredible holidays to The Highlands and Islands with Flying Scotsman and the Emerald Isle Craic Express.
The Royal Windsor Steam Express takes you through beautiful countryside while experiencing exceptional dining options.
Your journey onboard the Royal Windsor Steam Express is one-way, giving you the flexibility to spend as much time in Windsor as you like.
A little about Windsor, Berkshire
Located on the River Thames in the southeast of England, Windsor has a rich mix of history, culture, heritage, and fun. Windsor is best known for its historical links to the British royal family. Towering over the town of Windsor is Windsor Castle, home to the British monarchy and the largest inhabited castle in the world. Built as a fortress to protect London, the royal castle is now a stately retreat of Queen Elizabeth II.
Things to do in Windsor – An overview
Visit the royal castle and learn about the castle’s 900 years of history. Marvel at the splendour of the State Apartments, renowned as the grandest apartments in England. There are paintings by Van Dyck and Rubens that hang from the walls. The ceilings are painted with elaborate, magnificent murals.
Pause a little while at St George’s Chapel, where Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in 2018. The chapel is also the final resting place of departed kings and queens from England’s illustrious history. These include Henry VIII, Charles I, and now Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Later, take a stroll to Eton. Visit the grounds of its College – one of the largest secondary schools in the country and amongst the most prestigious.
Aside from the castle, there’s much more to see and do, including visiting the award-winning Savill Garden, taking a guided tour of the town’s numerous cobbled streets and Tudor buildings, or enjoying a walk along the river.
What to expect from the Royal Windsor Steam Express Train Ticket activity
Your journey onboard the Royal Windsor Steam Express is one-way. You shall begin your journey from London Victoria. The route pass some of London’s famous landmarks including Chelsea Bridge, The Royal Hospital, and Battersea Power Station. Head towards the leafy suburbs, crossing the Thames and passing reservoirs and lakes to reach Windsor and Eton Riverside Station.
After spending an amazing day exploring Windsor, return to London from Windsor and Eton Riverside onboard the South Western Railways. Your destination in London is London Waterloo Station .
Your return ticket is flexible, and can be used anytime on the same day. This gives you as much time you need to explore the town of Windsor independently at your own pace.
Classes of Travel on the Royal Windsor Steam Express
Select between First Class or Standard outbound ticket.
A ride on The Royal Windsor Steam Express is a unique railway experience that offers two classes of travel to suit your occasion and budget.
First Class or Standard Class passengers may order from a range of delicious snacks or hot and cold drinks.
First Class travel on the Royal Windsor
First Class passengers are automatically seated on tables for 4 so you may be seated with other passengers if you have less than 4 in your party.
Food and drinks may be purchased on-board. You are also welcome to bring your own food, drink or hampers on board.
Standard Class travel on the Royal Windsor Steam Express
Passengers who opt to travel in Standard class will be seated in 1960s open carriages with large picture windows. The carriage has individual seating (as opposed to bench style seating) around tables of four.
Food and drinks may be purchased on-board. You are also welcome to bring your own food, drink or hampers on board.
What does Royal Windsor Steam Express Train Ticket activity include?
This experience onboard the Royal Windsor Steam Express is brought to you via Get Your Guide, Trusted Partners of Timeless Travel Steps.
The following Information is from Get Your Guide:
There are three options to starting time:
7:30 A.M. | 10:30 A.M. | 1:30 P.M.
1 | One-way steam train journey from London to Windsor and Eton Riverside;
2 | Reserved seats aboard the steam train;
3 | Flexible return train ticket in standard class from Windsor to London on South Western Railways.
What you need to know before you go on this trip:
Meet the representative at the booked time outside Hotel Chocolat on the main station concourse by platform 7;
Refreshments are available for purchase onboard;
This tour is unescorted;
The outbound steam train departs from London Victoria Station;
Return train is with South Western Railways;
Your return train arrives at London Waterloo Station;
Please note that your return train ticket is flexible but must be used on the same day;
Not suitable for wheelchair users.
COVID-19 Special information – Masks are required, please bring your own.
Note: Windsor Castle is closed to visitors every Tuesday and Wednesday in 2021
On a final note
The most stylish way to travel to Windsor is onboard the Royal Windsor and is available to book now.
From £56.00** > Outbound Royal Windsor Steam Express from Victoria Station, London + flexible return journey on the same day onboard standard South Western Railways to Waterloo Station London.
Whilst we work hard to provide accurate and the best information possible, we also encourage you to please always check before heading out.
From medieval fortress, to unbelievable grim executions, infamous royal prisoners and home to the most famous and priceless of British treasures, the Tower of London has been the centre of London’s compelling history. Built by William the Conqueror, the historic castle has been the keeper of long-standing traditions and royal secrets. A visit to this iconic landmark and you will experience the remarkable architecture, the towers, and the defensive walls that makes this structure a formidable castle and the most secure one in the land.
Learn more about the secrets of the castle and the traditions at the Tower that continues to be observed till today by selecting one of the best ways to visit the Tower of London suggested below.
The Tower of London is conveniently located along River Thames with easy access to public transportation, with Tower Hill being within minutes of walking distance. As always, Timeless Travel Steps brings you only the best in information and offers to add value to your experiences in London when you visit. This page is dedicated to bestways to visit the Tower of London, bringing you carefully selected value for money experiences designed to enhance your visit. Further suggestions on activities to experience wider London is included also.
How best to visit the Tower of London
As you may know, there are a number of ways to visit the Tower of London. From a standard stand-alone entrance ticket to the Tower to combined tickets together with other attractions in the city of London. Some combinations offer great value for money and it’s worth knowing which is best. At the same time, you may have to consider the length of your stay as well. For longer stays, it might be worth buying one of the city passes with discounted entrance to some attractions. However long you select to visit London or how many of London-sights you wish to visit, below is a guide to help you make the best of your visit.
7 best ways to visit the Tower of London
Good to know about your admission ticket to the Tower:
Your admission ticket to the Tower of London gives you access to all of the below:
>> Yeoman Warders at various points inside the Tower who tell captivating stories of the history and traditions of the Tower;
>> Special exhibitions and live re-enactments of historic moments;
>> The Crown Jewels;
>> The White Tower;
>> Battlements, Medieval Palace, Bloody Tower, Torture at the Tower exhibition, Fusiliers Museum and Royal Mint exhibition.
Here are the 7 best ways to visit the Tower of London.
1 | Standard Tickets to the Tower of London
Standard tickets are intended for single use, one time entry to the Tower of London. These are available for children, adults and seniors. You can purchase these either at the ticket offices at the Tower or online prior to visiting.
One of the best ways to visit the Tower of London is with a Historic Royal Palaces annual membership. With an annual membership, you will enjoy free and unlimited visits to the historic palaces and gardens and this includes the Tower of London. An annual membership of a single adult is £59.00, Joint is £89.00, and family tickets includes up to six children are also available.
NB: Prices are correct as at time of writing April 2021
3 | The London Pass
The London Pass is an all encompassing digital ticket that gives you access to 80+ top attractions, museums and tours in the city of London. The purchase also includes a beautifully curated comprehensive 160 page digital guidebook, with information of attractions, money saving tips, and maps, making this option one of the best ways to visit the Tower of London because Admission to Tower of London is FREE with the London Pass.
Good to know about the London Pass
>> Touch-free digital London Pass available instantly;
>> The London Pass is a complete sightseer credits package giving you access to top 80+ attractions, tours and museums;
>> Includes an informative FREE digital guidebook with maps, tips and valuable offers on shopping, dining and West End theatre tickets;
The London Explorer Pass offers yet another best ways to visit the Tower of London. The London Explorer Pass is a money saver on combined admission prices to top attractions in London. You select from two, three, four, five or seven attractions. You choose where you would like to redeem your attraction credits from a list of top London attractions which includes Tower of London.
Select Tower of London as one of your preferred money saver combined attraction for FREE admission.
Good to know about the London Explorer Pass
>> Save up to 39% on combined admission of regular door prices to over 50 attractions, monuments, river cruises and tours;
>> Create your own itinerary from a selection of attraction – 2,3,4,5,or 7 attractions and pay for what you select. In its simplest form, best to think of it as 1 attraction = 1 credit;
>> Skip the line access at selected attractions;
>> Select top attractions such as Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, The Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral, Thames River Cruises and one day hop-on hop-off bus tours;
>> Instant download digital London Explorer Pass;
>> Explore at ease – show your touch-free digital ticket at the gates and walk right-in;
>> Enjoy the flexibility – London Explorer Pass is valid for 60 days from the time of first activation giving you plenty of time to schedule your visits;
Read > What you need to know about the London Explorer Pass and the benefits of the Explorer Pass
Buy London Explorer Pass from your preferred tour supplier:
Join a small group of visitors led by a London expert guide who will take you to the most popular sites in London depending on the type of tours you select. Get the real London experience from a local, and afterwards explore at your own pace.
Good to know about Small Group Guided Tours
>> Benefit from a knowledgeable guide who knows the city and its history well enough to give you an informative and fun tour. More often than not, they make history come alive with entertaining, gripping tales, and generally, about life in London.
>> Guided tours are generally good value for money as you get to see more within a few hours.
>> Meet new people and makes new friends!
There are several small group guided tours available as these are some of the best ways to visit the Tower of London but below are 3 that are curated to maximise your experience at the Tower of London.
1 | Meet the Beefeater! Skip-the- line to one of the oldest monuments in London and meet the Yeoman Warders. They are more popularly known as Beefeaters, a group of elite guardsmen who were historically responsible for the prisoners of the Tower and for protecting the Crown Jewels.
2 | Early Access Tour of the Tower
Skip-the-line and view the iconic landmark + Crown Jewels as soon as the Tower opens and afterwards, visit the Tower Bridge and the engine room. Tour lasts approx. 3 hours.
3 | Tower of London + Thames River Walk
In a group of no more than 30, visit the Tower + Crown Jewels + Armouries and, afterwards enjoy the walk along River Thames, with a stop at Borough Market, London’s oldest food market.
6 | Private Tours of the Tower of London
Get a personalised experience from a knowledgeable guide who will share all the gruesome details and the stories of the Tower which you will thoroughly enjoy as one of the best ways to visit the Tower of London. Walk the wall of the iconic formidable castle in the land and take-in the picturesque views of the marvellous city.
Peruse the following carefully selected three private tours as one of the best ways to visit the Tower of London.
7 | Tower of London + City highlights tour
Experience the best of London by combining spectacular sights of London and a visit to the Tower – explore the city by bus and on foot.
Other experiences alongside visiting Tower of London
When visiting the Tower of London and London, you may want to add one of the following destinations to your itinerary:
St Paul’s Cathedral, London
Visit one of London’s leading attraction, an architectural masterpiece and a historical monument in the very heart of London. Select one or more ways to explore this landmark and save money along the way.
Visit the quintessentially English town of Greenwich, where Time began and spend the day exploring the 45 experiences that this town has to offer every visitor.
Venture a little further and go on a day trip…
London has so much to offer visitors and there’s much more to be experienced by venturing out a little from the City – the following two destinations are highly recommended. Read more on Windsor, the royal palace and on Stonehenge, a sophisticated architecture by navigating via the images below. A complete guide on how to get to the respective destinations are also included:
London is an amazing, a culturally rich City where history abounds and the Tower of London is pretty much the beginning of it all. While the Tower is one of the most visited landmark in London, the City offers much more to its visitors than the normal touristic destinations. From secret gardensto gardens in the sky, from royal palaces to walkie-talkie buildings, from street names to colourful tunnels, along with huge foodie experiences that will totally transform you, London is a city that must be explored.
Sincerely wish that this post has been valuable to you in planning your visit to the Tower of London and London. If so, do share your thoughts in comments below. Please also use the links embedded in this article and all related articles to book your visits. A commission is earned from qualifying purchases at no cost to you and this supports in maintaining Timeless Travel Steps. As always, your support is much appreciated.
Have a super awesome time exploring Tower of London and London.
Quick facts about the Tower of London:
Location: St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB | London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Tower of London is a fascinating landmark in the heart of the city that attracts millions of visitors a year but we are living in uncertain times these days. As means to keep you informed with inspiring stories of the iconic Tower, “What goes on in the Tower of London” brings together a set of TV series by the Historic Royal Palaces for you to view at your leisure – hear the stories on what goes on in the Tower from the very people who live, manage and are the heartbeat of the traditions at this magnificent Tower of London.
Quick facts about the Tower of London:
Location: St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB | London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Area: 16 acres
White Tower: Height: 27 metres (89ft);
Expansion: Inner Ward: 1190s, rebuilt 1285;
Guard: Yeoman Warders;
Managed: Historic Royal Palaces (charity)
Learn more on What goes on in the Tower of London from these TV series by Historic Royal Palaces : Available to view until June 18 2025
Click on the images
HRP: Inside the Tower Ep 1
HRP: Inside the Tower Ep 2
HRP: Inside the Tower Ep 3
HRP: Inside the Tower Ep 4
TOWER OF LONDON
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For more inspiring stories on London and on the History of Britain, you may like to read the following on the blog:
5 Rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London
A landmark of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most visited attraction and it never fails to leave visitors in awe. There are many rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London from a stand alone entry ticket with full access to all floors to private guided tours so you get to know of its history from a knowledgeable source. However, for great value for money tours, you could always combine a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral with a visit to other landmarks in London. In addition, you could purchase London Pass over several days so you could explore London at your own pace.
Whichever way you choose to learn more of St Paul’s Cathedral, the following 5 rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral have been carefully selected to enhance and add value to your visit.
Entry ticket to St Paul’s Cathedral
Enjoy this famous landmark of London with a discounted entry ticket. This ticket gives you access to the Cathedral floor and its crypt, its three galleries, affording you panoramic views over London.
This option is suitable for visitors who wish to explore this beautiful Cathedral at their own pace. Nevertheless, 2 to 3 hours is recommended for a rewarding and immersive experience.
Combining St Paul’s Cathedral with other attractions in London
1 | Explore London on foot
Explore the City on foot and learn of London’s history. See 30 of London’s landmarks including the 1400 year old St Paul’s Cathedral.
This walking tour begins in Green Park, London and will take you through about 30 landmarks in London including:
Buckingham Palace | Trafalgar Square | Big Ben | Downing Street | Westminster Abbey | Whitehall | Houses of Parliament | London Eye | Shakespeare’s Globe Theater | London Bridge | Southwark Cathedral | The Shard | HMS Belfast | Square Mile | Tower Bridge | Tower of London
Your final stop is St Paul’s Cathedral where your guide will leave you to explore the Cathedral at your own pace. Entry to St Paul’s is included in this tour price
This tour takes approximately 6 hours and requires good footwear.
3 | Westminster + St Paul’s Cathedral Walking tour
This comprehensive walking tour takes you through the popular area of Westminster in London. Learn much from your knowledgeable guide before arriving at St Paul’s Cathedral where the tour guide leaves you to explore the Cathedral at your own pace.
Entry to St Paul’s Cathedral is included in this tour and is provided by our Trusted Partner, Viator, a Tripadvisor company.
4 | Enjoy London on a London hop-on hop-off bus tour
Design an itinerary on London and explore the city at your own pace with one of these great value for money hop-on hop-off bus experiences. Hop-on and hop-off as much as you like between six different bus routes for the duration of your ticket and explore on foot with free walking tours. See Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Piccadilly Circus, London Eye, Tower of London, and much more with this offer. This offer is subject to T & Cs as it depends very much on whether your purchase is for 24, 48 or 72 hours.
5 | Enjoy London with over 80+ attractions with The London Pass
Access over 80 attractions and one day of hop-on hop-off bus tour with this highly recommended discounted London Pass. Valid for the selected duration of 1 to 10 days (from first activation), the London Pass comes with a guide book packed with helpful tips, and maps, making this selection one of the many rewarding ways to experience St Paul’s Cathedral London.
The MagnificentHever Castle | Anne Boleyn’s Childhood Home
A short journey from the heart of London towards the south-east is the quintessential English village of Hever, home to the magnificent Hever Castle. A romantic double-moated castle from the thirteenth century, Hever Castle was the childhood home ofAnne Boleyn, the second queen consort to King Henry VIII. With history spanning over seven hundred years, the castle formed a backdrop to many key events that changed the course of British history.
The architecture is mind-blowing to say the least, with some original timbers dating back to c1506 and the oldest working portcullis in the country! The Castle is a huge attraction for history buffs and architectural fans.
In 2019, the magnificent Hever Castle attracted over 415,000 visitors, a six percent increase to the previous year, denoting just how important an attraction this castle is among tourists, visitors and locals.
As Hever village along with Hever Castle is located so close to London (about 48 km/30 miles), it makes a perfect destination for a day trip, weekend getaway or even a longer stay.
Planning a visit to the Magnificent Hever Castle | Anne Boleyn’s Childhood Home
Planning a visit to Hever Castle could not be easier – in this article you will find all the information you need. To add value to your visit, there is a quick guide to the castle’s seven-hundred-year history, a brief look at it’s famous resident Anne Boleyn (you can read all about Anne Boleyn in a much detail post here), the exhibitions and practical information on how to get to Hever Castle. As well, a little guide to places to eat and where to stay, should you decide to make a weekend trip instead of a day trip. First, let us start with a little introduction to Hever, a historic English village.
About Hever Village
The historic Hever village is quite a small village near Edenbridge, in the District of Kent, England. Nestled in a serene and beautiful unspoilt countryside, surrounded with farmland and woodlands, Hever offers quiet country walks along its River Eden and pleasant days out, away from the bustle of city life. This little village has a public house and a church but dominated by Hever Castle, thus making Hever a prominent destination on anyone’s checklist of things to see and do in wider Kent.
A quick guide to the history of the magnificent Hever Castle
The history of Hever Castle spans over 700 years, beginning from the 13th century. The original structure was a medieval defensive castle with a gatehouse and walled bailey constructed in 1270. The castle was in need of repairs and was sold to Geoffrey Boleyn in 1462. Geoffrey Boleyn converted it into a mansion, and added a Tudor dwelling within its walls. From 1462 to 1539 the castle was under the ownership of the Boleyn family.
The Boleyn Family
In 1505, Thomas Boleyn, Geoffrey Boleyn’s grandson inherited Hever Castle. He lived there with his family, wife – Lady Elizabeth Howard, and their children – Mary, Anne and George.
Hever Castle was Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. She lived there until 1513 when she was sent to the Netherlands for education. From Netherlands, Anne may have gone to Paris before returning to England to be lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, queen consort to King Henry VIII. Anne may have been in her early twenties at that time.
Henry fell in love with Anne Boleyn who refused to be his mistress, instead insisted to becoming his wife. They courted for seven years while Henry tried to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon. It finally led to the Reformation with King Henry renouncing Catholicism, creating Church of England and becoming the head of the church.
King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
Following the Reformation, Henry and Anne were married in 1533. Anne gave birth to Elizabeth, who later became the renowned Queen Elizabeth I. However, Henry was disappointed because he wanted a male heir who would inherit the throne from him. With Anne having a male stillborn in 1536, Henry decided his marriage to Anne was over and he wanted to marry the younger Jane Seymour, lady-in-waiting and cousin to Anne, in the hope that she would give him a son.
Shrouded in conspiracy and scandal, charges were brought against Anne for incest, adultery, and treason amongst others, resulting in the incomprehensible tragedy – Anne was beheaded on May 19 1536 at Tower Green, Tower of London. She was Queen of England between 1533 and 1536, just a little over a thousand days.
After her execution, King Henry ordered for all things “Anne Boleyn” to be destroyed. As a result, documentary evidence of Anne Boleyn’s life is missing from British history and not much is known of Anne’s life and her thoughts. What is known of her today is information that had been passed down from her friends and very few belongings of her that escaped destruction. There are no portraits of her existing from during her reign or when she was alive. The portraits of her that are around were commissioned during the reign of her daughter, Queen Elizabeth I. As well, information that is known of her today were unearthed through much research by historians and writers.
After the passing of Thomas Boleyn, Anne Boleyn’s father in 1539, Hever Castle came into Henry VIII’s possession. The castle was then bestowed to Anne of Cleves in 1540, Henry’s fourth wife as part of their annulment of marriage.
Hever Castle passed through many subsequent owners and came to rest with the American millionaire, William WaldorfAstor in 1903 who used it as a family residence. He spent his time and money in restoring the castle and inventing new developments. He created ‘Tudor Village‘ which is called the ‘Astor Wing‘ these days. He also invested in the construction and elaborate extension of the garden and lake. The property was subsequently sold to Broadland Properties Limited in 1983 who manages Hever Castle as an attraction.
Anne Boleyn is a figure that continues to intrigue historians and haunts British culture. There have been numerous sightings of Anne across England – Tower of London, Blickling Hall, Marwell Hall, Hever Castle and Hampton Court Palace.
Anne is said to appear each Christmas at Hever Castle, often happy as she used to be in her childhood. It has also been said that she appears around an old oak tree where she and Henry spent time together when they courted. She has also been seen walking across the bridge in the castle grounds which crosses River Eden.
What to Expect when visiting the magnificent Hever Castle
Give plenty of time when visiting Hever Castle. The castle appears deceptively small but there are much to experience, both indoors and outdoors. For an immersive experience, give yourself at least four to five hours.
The magnificent Hever Castle Gardens and Grounds
The magnificent Hever Castle is set in one hundred and twenty five acres of splendid glorious grounds! Nature and wildlife is abundant here and features of new habitations and eco systems have also been established.
The Lake is a thirty-eight acre lake constructed between 1904 and 1906. It is remarkably serene, peaceful and tranquil offering incredible vistas, nature trails, fun and great nature photography opportunity.
A walk around the lake and you may see robins, and woodpeckers as well as swans and herons. According to the castle’s website, one may be lucky enough to hear the glorious sound of the nightingale on very quiet evenings around the lake and the river.
The Loggia overlooks the lake and is a perfect spot to relax before embarking on a stroll through the Tudor Garden, Blue Corner and Anne Boleyn Walk. Anne Boleyn’s Orchard features old English varieties of apples and pears while Chestnut Avenue features chestnut trees planted in 1904-1908. From the Loggia, you could catch a view of the Japanese Tea House folly on the edge of the lake or you could access it by either taking the Lake Walk or hire a boat to row across the lake. Once at the Tea House, you could walk around it but there is no access to its interior.
Allow time to stay still and enjoy the tranquility and vistas afforded around the lake by hiring and rowing one of the boats, canoes or pedalos.
The Italian Garden is highly recommended. It is one of the popular places on the magnificent Hever Castle grounds that is uplifting and a wonderful area to sit and relax.
The gardens feature a breathtaking display of 4000 rose bushes and more than 20000 spring bulbs along with 15000 bedding plants throughout the year. In Spring, the delightful 90000 snowdrops carpet the grounds, the uplifting crocuses and the colourful daffodils are in bloom while in Summer, the Rose Garden draws visitors to its kaleidoscope of colours and wonderful aroma. Autumn brings the trees to fore especially at Anne Boleyn’s orchard and as one may imagine, Winter sees the trees glow against the winter sky.
With so much to see, the outdoors to Hever Castle offer spectacular experiences no matter the season.
Lake and lock gates at Hever Castle
Hever Castle is only a hundred and twenty feet above sea level. It’s site on such low ground and close to River Eden together with a moat surrounding the castle which joined the river caused flooding of the castle courtyard. This led to the creation of a lake to the east of the castle with lock gates. These lock gates would control the level of the water upstream from the castle.
Inside the magnificent Hever Castle
Inside the thirteenth century castle features grand panelled rooms decorated with antique furnishings, beautiful, dazzling tapestries and an incredible collection of Tudor portraits, only second to the National Portrait Gallery. The following are some of the highlights to experience when you walk across the inner moat via a working drawbridge, which was reinstated by William Astor in early 20th century.
The oldest part of the castle is the medieval chamber in the Gatehouse and this dates back to the thirteenth century.
The Entrance Hall
The Entrance Hall was added c1506 by Thomas Boleyn. Some timber framed additions were installed by the Boleyns in the fifteenth and sixteenth century which are still visible today.
The Dining Hall
The present Dining Hall was the Great Hall in the fifteenth century and features a grand fireplace surmounted by the Boleyn coat of arms. When visiting the dining hall, look out for the Boleyns original feature on the right hand side under the window.
As well, look out for an intricate lock thought to be owned by King Henry VIII. Henry had a lock to his bedchamber wherever he went as a measure of security.
The impressive library was created in 1905 from what used to be administrative offices during the Tudor period. Above its fireplace is the portrait of Johann Jakob Astor, founder of the Astor fortune.
Morning Room at the magnificent Hever Castle
The Morning Room is a room where you can admire the great architecture of the seventeenth century. The panelling and fireplace dates back to this era. A closer look at the stone surrounding the fireplace reveal initials H.W. carved into it. This represent the Waldegrave family who owned Hever Castle between 1557 and 1715.
Anne Boleyn’s Bedroom
The Anne Boleyn’s Bedroom feature a half-domed ceiling and is said to be an original fifteenth-century design to give the room greater space and light. By far the most touching of exhibitions relating to Anne Boleyn is the Book of Hours Room. On display are the treasured two prayer books belonging to Anne. She wrote in them and it has her signature. Personal prayer books were popular in England before the Reformation. The prayer books are called ‘Book of Hours’ representing the short services dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the eight fixed hours of the day.
Other highlights of the interior of the magnificent Hever Castle include:
The Staircase Gallery built over the entrance hall around 1506 by Thomas Boleyn. This gallery is home to the unusual find of Mary, Queen of Scot in Mourning portrait.
The King Henry VIII’s bedroom dates to the sixteenth century and houses the oldest ceiling in the castle from c.1462. Henry is said to have stayed in this room during his courtship with Anne.
The Waldegrave Room has a hidden Oratory behind wood panelling which was built in 1584 so the Waldegraves could practice their Catholic faith in secret.
The Long Gallery really is an impressive construction. It extends the entire width of the castle with panelling dating back to the sixteenth century. An incredible collection of eighteen original portraits tells the story of the Tudors from Henry VI through to Henry VIII.
The tour of the interior of the castle ends at the Gatehouse which now houses a collection of historic swords, armour, instruments of torture and execution.
The remarkable difference between the original thirteenth century structure and the later additions in the sixteenth century cannot be more obvious than at the castle Courtyard. The front portcullis is a working mechanism and is said to be the oldest in the country, dating back to the thirteenth century.
On a final note about Hever Castle
Hever Castle is a remarkable structure and offers a wealth of information about the Boleyns and the Tudors. The intricate architecture speaks volume of painstaking craftmanship with some of the castle’s original features still existing. The best of these architectural marvel are above you-don’t forget to look up at the high ceilings in the Inner Hall and be amazed at the Tudor Roses dedicated to the Tudor reign and the two queen consorts who lived at Hever Castle.
Practical information on Opening Hours and How to get to Hever Castle
Hever Castle is located in the rural countryside on the border of Kent/Surrey/Sussex with convenient UK motorway and rail links. Gatwick Airport is 30 minutes away from the Castle.
Address: Hever Castle & Gardens Hever Edenbridge Kent TN8 7NG
Spring: til 28 Mar Last entry: 3 p.m. Final Exit: 4:30 p.m.
29 Mar – 30 Oct Last entry: 4:30 pm Final exit: 6 p.m.
1 Nov – 26 Nov (Wed through to Sun) Last entry: 15:00 Final exit: 4:30 p.m.
How to get to Hever Castle by road:
Hever Castle is located at about 48 km (30 miles) from central London and about 5 km (3 miles) southeast of Edenbridge, off the B2026 between Sevenoaks and East Grinstead in the village of Hever.
The Castle can also be reached via junction 10 of the M23, and is signposted from junctions 5 and 6 of the M25 and the Hildenborough exit of the A21.
There is more than one car park. Parking is free and accessible parking is available. Staff are available to guide you to a car park that is available to use.
Note: Car park closes 15 minutes after last exit from the grounds.
Trains run from London Victoria Station and London Bridge Station either via Oxted or East Croydon to:
Edenbridge Town Station:
Edenbridge Station is located about 5 km (3 miles) from Hever Castle. Take a taxi from the station to the Castle. You could book a taxi before hand with Relyon Taxis who operate from close the station. Relyon can be reached on 01732 863800.
Hever Station is unmanned and there are no taxis nearby. It is located about 1.6 km (1 mile) from the Castle and involves a rural walk to the Castle.
Ashford is 1.5 hours drive to the Castle
Ebbsfleet International is 1 hour drive to the Castle
Gatwick Airport is 30 minutes away and Heathrow Airport is 1 hour away, and then follow directions either by road or rail as above.
Places to Eat
A visit to Hever Castle is best enjoyed over a picnic in their beautiful grounds. As well, Hever Castle offer catering facilities and you can enjoy tea, coffee, cakes, light refreshments at its cafe or lunch at its restaurants.
Afternoon Tea served in the Tudor Suite Dining Room and Sitting Room
On weekends only – available on one weekend per month only excluding Nov/Dec. Sittings are at 1 pm and 3:30 pm. Vegan and vegetarian menu available.
Moat Restaurant is a great place for coffee or a meal suitable for all the family. Enjoy a variety of freshly made sandwiches and freshly baked cakes.
Guthrie Pavilion Cafe
Offers a range of snacks including sandwiches, hot and cold drinks and freshly baked cakes
There are also Pizza Van | Ice Cream Kiosks | The Loggia Bar | Tudor Towers Kiosk | The Waterside Bar, Restaurant & Terrace
Now, its your turn – what do you think? Is this article valuable to you in planning your visit to Hever Castle? Please let me know in comments below or Contact us at Timeless Travel Steps. Share your views and/or ask any questions you may have, we look forward to responding to all of your questions.
For now, have a wonderful time discovering and exploring Hever and the Kent countryside.
Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower
History often talks about victories, downfall of rulers and chronological record of events that shapes the present, but in between there are many forgotten stories that are worth mentioning. In this article, you will find the forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Towerof London, famously known as “a fortress, a palace and a prison” These were Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Arbella Stuart. First, a little about all the prisoners of the Queen’s House and about the Queen’s House itself.
The Prisoners of Queen’s House – An outline
The Queen’s House at the Tower of London was home to highly notable prisoners, and some of noble birth. Out of seven prisoners that were executed at the Tower Green, there were three queens. Lady Jane Grey, who was queen for just nine days, Anne Boleyn, the second wife to Henry VIII and Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII. Along with the queens, there were four others, who were executed on the orders of the monarch during the bloody Tudor rule. Jane Boleyn, Viscountess Rochester (sister-in-law to Anne), Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, Robert Deveraux, Earl of Essex and William Lord Hastings in 1483.
Other prisoners who were not executed at Tower Green but were prisoners at the Queen’s House were Lady Arbella Stuart, first cousin to King James I and Guy Fawkes. one of the conspirators who wanted to blow up Parliament. Guy Fawkes underwent many hours of interrogation at the Queen’s House.
Of all the prisoners, the forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower, namely Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Arbella Stuart are worth knowing. Here is an introduction to their very short lives beyond the walls of the famous fortress.
About the Queen’s House at the Tower
The original Queen’s House was built in 1530s during the reign of Henry VIII. It is believed that King Henry VIII probably built it for his second queen, Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn is said to have resided there before her coronation in 1533. Ironically, she also stayed there before her execution in 1536. Her lodgings are said to have become uninhabitable and Henry VIII ordered it to be torn down. The Queen’s House that we see today was built in the 1540s, about four years after Anne Boleyn’s execution.
The architecture of the Queen’s House is completely different to the rest of the Tower buildings that are made of bricks and stones. The Queen’s House is a remarkable Tudor style, half-timbered house. It is said to be one of the oldest of Tudor houses remaining in Britain. The Queen’s House is presently home to the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and guarded by the Royal Guard.
Georgina says: The beauty of this old architecture is admirable. I don’t find architecture of such delight anymore, with such care and skill and “heart” to details. I am glad that this “old” is preserved not as a museum but as living “breathing” and an on-going place.
Forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower
Anne Boleyn, Queen of England
There are many books written on Anne Boleyn, yet she is one of the forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House. Anne was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536. She was the second wife of King Henry VIII. They were married for three years and three months. They had a daughter, Elizabeth. Anne could not give Henry a son, an heir to his throne.
Often known as ‘Anne of the Thousand Days’, Anne was falsely accused of adultery, witchcraft and conspiracy against the King. She was imprisoned in the Queen’s House until her execution. Anne was executed at Tower Green, on May 19 1536. She is buried at the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.
Anne has left no voice of her own, so no-one really knows how she felt and why she became queen.
A memorial for Anne Boleyn
At present, there is a plaque dedicated to Anne Boleyn and a permanent memorial dedicated to all those who were executed at the Tower Green. This memorial was erected in September 2006, designed by British artist, Brian Catling. Erected close to the execution spot, the memorial gives visitors to the Tower a focal point for contemplation, remembrance and reflection. Many visitors leave flowers on the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s execution.
It is important to remember that the Tower and its layout was very different back in the day during these executions. The Queen’s House as it stands today did not exist when Anne Boleyn stayed there. The spot where the memorial is erected is not the exact site where the scaffold was erected for Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Catherine Howard. The true site of scaffold is said to be on the gravelled area between the Jewel Tower and the White Tower.
More on the Tower Green Memorial, below.
Anne Boleyn’s Daughter, Elizabeth
Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Elizabeth, inherited the throne in November 1558 and became Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland from November 17 1558 until her death on March 24, 1603. She was famously known as ‘the Virgin Queen’, ‘Gloriana’ or simply as ‘Good Queen Bess’. As Elizabeth never married and left no heir, she was the last of the five monarchs in the House of Tudors. She was succeeded by James VI of Scotland, and became James I of England.
It is hard to find even the simplest statements of Anne Boleyn during her life as Queen. Anne was literally wiped out of history books at least for the remainder of Henry VIII’s reign. The portraits of Anne that exist now were created by her daughter, Elizabeth I during her reign. Unbiased descriptions of Anne were written after her death, though this is a rare find.
Stay tuned for more on Anne Boleyn and the Boleyn family
The ghost of Anne Boleyn is regarded as one of the most famous in Britain and has reportedly been seen many times at the Tower of London especially around Tower Green where she was executed. Anne is also regarded as “The most well travelled ghost in Britain” because she is regularly seen around Salle Church, Blickling Hall, Marwell Hall and Hever Castle – “often seen the way she was in life: happy, young and beautiful.” Read more on Anne Boleyn’s ghost sightings in Anne Boleyn Britain’s Most Well Travelled Ghost.
Lady Jane Grey | ‘9 day Queen’
Lady Jane Grey is a tragic story and is another of the forgotten stories of 3 royal prisoners at Queen’s House. Jane Grey is remembered in British history as the monarch with the shortest reign, Queen for nine days, July 10 1553 to July 19, 1553. She was also known as Lady Jane Dudley as she was married to Guildford Dudley of the Dudley family, who was imprisoned at the Beauchamp Tower. Jane Grey was an English noblewoman, the great-granddaughter of King Henry VII, and cousin to King Edward VI, son to King Henry VIII.
Lady Jane Grey was fifth in line to the throne but was proclaimed Queen on the death of King Edward VI, to retain England under a Protestant rule.
Lady Jane Grey on her Procession to the Tower
Jane was wearing a green velvet dress embroidered in gold, with a long train carried by her mother.
Her headdress was white, heavily decorated with jewels, and on her neck a chinclout (a type of scarf) ‘of black velvet, striped with small chains of gold, garnished with small pearls, small rubies and small diamonds … furred with sables and having thereat a chain of gold enamelled green, garnished with certain pearls.’
However, King Edward’s half-sister, Mary, who was a Catholic, daughter to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, second in line to the throne, was proclaimed Queen, at just nine days of Lady Jane Grey becoming Queen. Lady Jane Grey was found to be guilty of high treason, imprisoned at the Queen’s House in 1553. She was just seventeen years old when she was executed at the Tower Green, on February 12 1554.
Learn more about Lady Jane Grey – future article
Lady Arbella Stuart
Lady Arbella Stuart is virtually unheard of in English history, but yet she may have changed the course of history and the lines of succession of the monarchy had she inherited the throne from Queen Elizabeth I instead of James I.
Arbella Stuart was English, the first cousin of James I and grand daughter of formidable Bess of Hardwick. She married William Seymour, grandson of Lady Catherine Grey. who himself had a claim to the throne, secretly and without seeking permission of James I. As a result, Seymour was sent to the Tower and Arbella on house arrest. In June 1611, the couple plotted to escape but Arbella was caught and brought back to the Tower, while Seymour made it to France.
Arbella was confined to the Queen’s House. Her health deteriorated during the course of 1612 and 1613. In her later days, Arbella refused food and drink. She died September 25, 1615 at the young age of thirty-nine. She never saw her husband again.
James I refused a royal funeral and Arbella was placed without a ceremony in the vault of her aunt, Mary, Queen of Scots, in Westminster Abbey.
Born of royal blood, Arbella had a better claim to the throne than her cousin, James VI of Scotland (James I of England) because she was born in England – it is this, that some historians say may have changed English history all together had she inherited the throne.
Learn more about Arbella Stuart and of her childhood in Hardwick Hall – stay tuned for a future article
Tower Green Memorial
The Tower Green Memorial is a permanent memorial dedicated to all those who were executed on Tower Green.
The Tower Green memorial designed by Brian Catling features two engraved circular glass. The glass circles lists the names of all those who were executed at Tower Green. There is a sculpted glass pillow in the centre as a focal point. On the polished black stone base is the following poem, curated by the artist himself:
Gentle visitor pause a while,
Where you stand death cut away the light of many days;
Here, jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life,
May they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage,
Under these restless skies.”
Brian Catling explained his reasons for a circular design:
I wanted to make people walk around the piece, “Before, people would come and stand in front of the small plaque that used to be here – they just stood and didn’t know what to do so I thought: ‘let’s give them something to do’, they now have to walk around it to read the poem – they have to engage with it.”
“None of the names on here are really traitors,” added Brian. “Monuments are usually to people who have died in a war or a battle, this is different. You can’t really illustrate the brutal acts of dying that took place here but this I hope is a way of suggesting it.”
The memorial focuses on ten executions that took place on Tower Green, within the walls of the fortress. In addition to the seven names already mentioned earlier, there were three Black Watch soldiers from the 1743 Highland regiment. The three soldiers were Farquar Shaw, with brothers, Samuel and Malcolm Macpherson. They were shot by a firing squad made up of their own comrades on July 19 1943. A large slab of black marble is set into the floor in the southwest corner of the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, marking the spot where the three bodies lie. Their names are inscribed beside those of queens and nobles.
In 1743 the Highland regiment were en route to Scotland for leave when the King summoned them to London. About one hundred soldiers went absent from duty. They were rounded up and taken to the Tower on charges of mutiny.
The other ninety-seven soldiers were pardoned eventually and released afterwards.
Exploring the stories of those who died behind the walls of the fortress especially the three royal prisoners at Queen’s House in the Tower of London is significant as these are stories that characterised the nation and its identity. This is where the royal prisoners met their last moments and it is a powerful thing.
Visiting the Tower of London is a lot more than just seeing it as an attraction. Every step you take from the moment you enter the grand fortress, past the ticket booth is a step in the thousand years of history of this beautiful living castle. Built as a fortress, to signify strength, and a palace as home for the royals, the Tower of London became a prison even though it was not built for such a purpose. The Tower is the most secure castle in the land and home to the Crown Jewels, the most famous and precious of British treasures.
So, when you visit the Tower, be sure to explore at your own pace and learn the stories that makes this iconic palace a unique destination. To get you started on your journey of discovery of the Tower, I share my passion of history and it gives me great pleasure to share the following articles on the Tower of London with you.
Buying online is cheaper and convenient. Entry to Tower of London includes entry to the Crown Jewels Exhibition, the White Tower and the Beauchamp Tower.
Places to Stay in London when visiting the Tower of London
Choices on accommodations in London are literally unlimited! From budget hostels, two or three star hotels to high-end hotels and apartments, it seems endless….
I have personally experienced the superb hospitality and quality and would highly recommend a stay at the Millennium Hotels and Resorts in London. Millennium Hotels are centrally located and within easy access of London’s transport network.
You could also take a look at the Radisson Hotels chain for accommodations ranging from upper upscale, mid-market, millennial lifestyle, hotels with a unique personality and story, as well as if you are travelling on business.
Activities to do in London when visiting the Tower
As with accommodations, the activities available to do in London are endless. A city that never sleeps, with transportation that works twenty-four hours a day, there is something you could do at any given time. Navigate to Discover London with Georgina and MyCityMyTown series for ideas and inspirations. If you are planning a visit during the festive season, Christmas in London has articles that will inspire you to move London to the top of your list!
A visit to London is never complete without a trip to the countryside or wider UK. A day trip from London is highly recommended as it adds value to your experiences of England and not just limited to London. Popular day trips are a visit to Windsor, home to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, an experience that will blow you away, or go on a little adventure to theIsle of Wight. If you are not restricted in time and wish to explore more of UK, then a visit to Scotland is highly recommended. There are many highlights in this amazing land of the fairies that will leave you speechless and an experience of the Highlands will stay with you forever.
My sincere wish is that reading this article has inspired you to visit the Tower of London and to know more of historic Britain. Ensure you are subscribed for future articles so you are first to receive the latest on timelesstravelsteps.
Guy Fawkes and 5th of November is a popular story in the history of England. Known also as Guido Fawkes, he was born and educated in York, England. His father died when he was eight years old and his mother married a devout Catholic.
As an adult, he was a British soldier but during the increased oppression of Catholics in England, Guy joined a group of provincial Catholics in England to protest against the Crown.
Guy was one of thirteen conspirators who wanted to blow-up Parliament in 1605. He was found hiding in the cellars of the Parliament surrounded by 36 barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes was imprisoned and tortured in the Queen’s House at the Tower of London.
Fawkes and the other plotters suffered a grisly traitor’s death: they were hanged, drawn and quartered, with their body parts then displayed throughout London as a warning to others.
Guy Fawkes and 5th of November
The conspiracy to blow-up Parliament became famously known as the Gunpowder Plot. The very night the plot was foiled, on November 5th, 1605, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night.
To commemorate the failure of Guy Fawkes, Bonfire Night in the UK is celebrated with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire. As it is celebrated outdoors, there are soups, sausages, baked potatoes and the traditional Parkin cake available. Parkin Cake, is a sticky cake containing a mix of oatmeal, ginger, treacle and syrup.