My Rome blogging may have come to an end for the time being , but I got a bit of a taste of Italy again in an unexpected place: Hever Castle. The childhood home of Anne Boleyn, which was sympathetically restored by the Waldorf Astors at the beginning of the 20th Century.
Given the later turmoil of the Boleyn family’s life – Anne’s fate was still being debated vociferously by a number of visitors – this felt like quite a calm and even homely setting. Some of the moated castle’s rooms had been restored, and even lived in recently (I loved the bedrooms for the three sisters created in the 1960s following a major flood). Not everything was authentic to the Boleyn period, but it was an interesting mix – from a bedroom that may have been slept in by Henry VIII to private and hidden chapels.
But the relatively miserable and gloomy day was really brightened by the stunningly colourful garden setting of the Italian gardens, which apparently contains statuary from ancient Roman times.