Jeremy Ellwood pops down the road with the family to play Hever Castle Golf Club and stay in the magnificent accommodation within the castle grounds
Hever Castle Golf Stay and Play Review
With its strong historical associations with King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle near Edenbridge in Kent is one of the UK's most famous and most visited castles.
Golf on the estate dates back to the 1920s when the Astors had a private nine-hole course created for them in the grounds to the north of the lake, but that course would later fall victim to the war effort in the 1940s.
For 50 years, Hever remained golfless, but that changed in the 1990s with, first, the creation of Hever Castle Golf Club's Championship course over the King's and Queen's nines in 1992, and then the slightly shorter Prince's nine in 1998.
On course Championship course: par 72, 6,502 yards The King’s and Queen’s nines play over rolling Kent countryside with water featuring often, perhaps most strikingly on the very pretty par-3 12th. The short 6th and 179-yard 8th before that are both memorable one-shotters too, the latter featuring a green where you just can't afford to err long.
The penultimate hole on the Championship course is a 600-yard monster even off the yellow tees as you head for home.
Prince's course: par 33, 2,543 yards Water also features on two more pretty par 3s on the shorter Prince’s nine - the 3rd and the 6th, with the latter all carry over water and quite a stern and daunting test if you're playing off the tips at 184 yards.
This layout serves up a cluster of risk-reward two-shotters where accurate aggression may be rewarded, particularly on the 5th and 8th holes. Precision off the tee is essential on the fiddly 90˚ dogleg-right par-4 4th before you then play steeply up to the green.
Off course The fact that you can stay here too right next to the castle itself is the icing on the cake. I live locally, and although I knew there was a hotel by the golf club (a separate business) I didn't know you could actually stay in the Astor and Anne Boleyn wings beside the castle a few hundred yards back up the road - surely one of stay and play golf’s best-kept and grandest secrets?
The accommodation is absolute heaven. The 28 rooms are exquisitely decorated, with many looking out over a quite delightful courtyard. We stayed in the Falstaff room and my wife fell in love with the bathroom!
You can’t eat here of an evening, though several good pubs lie close by (try the Henry VIII within walking distance or The Wheatsheaf a couple of miles away), but breakfast is truly memorable, served in a magnificent wood-panelled room in keeping with Hever’s heritage. Breakfast fit for a king!
As a final and generous perk, guests in the Astor and Anne Boleyn wings enjoy complimentary admission to the castle and grounds during their stay, which at around £17 per day represents a nice little add-on that other stay and play options simply can't offer.
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