It’s wonderful to visit historic places linked to Anne Boleyn, but I know from experience that there’s nothing quite like actually staying in one and it is possible to do.
Here are my top three picks for accommodation linked to Anne Boleyn.
Have you stayed in one? Do share your experience in the comments section below…
1 – Hever Castle
Hever Castle was the Boleyn family home and although you can’t stay in the castle itself Hever offer accommodation in the “Tudor Village”, which was joined on to the castle by Lord Astor. There are 18 luxury rooms in the Astor Wing for bed and breakfast accommodation or you can hire Medley Court, a 4 bedroom 5 star holiday cottage. I’ve stayed in the Astor Wing and it was an amazing feeling to open the curtains and see the castle there in front of me.
See http://www.hevercastle.co.uk/holiday-lets-kent.aspx for more information.
You can read more about the history of Hever Castle in my article “Hever Castle”. Don’t forget to visit St Peter’s Church, Hever, while you’re there so that you can see Thomas Boleyn’s tomb with its beautiful memorial brass.
2 – Thornbury Castle
Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire dates back to 1510 when Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, was granted a licence allowing him to build a crenellate a house he was building on the site of an old manor house. He never completed the project because he was executed for treason in 1521 and Thornbury was confiscated by the Crown. The castle, which is actually more of a Tudor country home, was visited by Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII on their 1535 progress and the couple stayed there from 14th August to 22nd August.
The castle is now a luxury hotel and you can even book the room Anne and Henry stayed in, the Duke’s Bedchamber! My friend, Nancy Smith, stayed at Thornbury Castle in 2011 and wrote an article about her stay – “My Tudor Idyll at Thornbury Castle”.
See http://www.thornburycastle.co.uk/ for more information on the accommodation.
3 – Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace started off as a manor that was acquired as a grange by the Knights Hospitallers of St John Jerusalem in the 13th century. This religious order eventually rented out the property and land, and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey obtained it on a 99 year lease in 1514 and began transforming it from a private house into a huge palace complex fit for a king. Wolsey built the palace to impress the whole of Europe and it was a wonderful fusion of Catholic iconography and Renaissance art and architecture, with an incredible “long gallery” which made use of terracotta.
The palace was so luxurious and “fit for a king” that when Cardinal Wolsey fell from grace in 1528, he lost both his properties at York Place and Hampton Court to Henry VIII. Henry and Anne Boleyn then set about implementing a programme of extension and improvement to get Hampton Court Palace just as they wanted it. You can read more about the palace in my article “Hampton Court Palace”.
Hampton Court Palace has self-catering apartments available to rent. They sleep up to six people and are situated in Fish Court, the service wing of the old Tudor palace. See http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/planyourvisit/accommodationinthepalace.