About Hever Castle Yew Maze
There are two mazes within the 125-acre grounds of Hever Castle, in Kent, England: a yew maze and a water maze.
History of Hever Castle Yew Maze
The Yew Maze is by far the most historic of Hever Castle’s two mazes, having been developed in 1906 for William Waldorf Astor, who purchased Hever Castle in 1903. At the time, Astor was one of the richest men in the United States after inheriting a huge family fortune from his father in 1890. In 1891 Astor moved to England, but not before he had developed the famous Waldorf Hotel in New York City, which later became the Waldorf Astoria when it merged with the neighbouring Astoria Hotel, also owned by the family.
Astor set about renovating and restoring the castle to its former glory (it gradually fell into disrepair during the 17th and 18th centuries), which included building its lake and gardens. Hever’s Yew Maze is made up of more than 1,000 yew trees from the Netherlands and spans 6,400 square feet, with its hedges standing around eight feet tall. The main structure of Hever Castle itself was built in 1270 and was later the home of the Boleyn family, including Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife.
Hever Castle Yew Maze today
The Yew Maze and the rest of Hever Castle’s gardens can be visited with a ‘garden only’ ticket or as part of a trip to the castle. Another popular part of the gardens is the Water Maze, built in 1997. The aim is to reach the grotto in the centre via a series of walkways set over water. The water isn’t just scenic, however, and standing on certain stones triggers jets of water that are launched over intrepid maze-wanderers.
Getting to Hever Castle Yew Maze
Hever Castle is in Kent, England, around 30 miles from central London. If driving, the castle can be found from junction 10 of the M23 motorway or from junctions 5 and 6 of the M25 motorway. There is free parking on site. If travelling by train, Hever Castle’s website advises arriving at Edenbridge Town rail station and pre-booking a taxi for the three-mile journey to the castle. Alternatively, Hever rail station is one mile away and offers a walk through the countryside to the castle, although the castle website advises that taxis are not available from this station.