There have been three main periods in the construction of this historic castle.

The oldest part of the Castle dates to 1270 and consisted of the gatehouse and a walled bailey.

In the early 1500s the Boleyn family bought the Castle and added a Tudor dwelling within the walls and so it became the childhood home of its most famous inhabitant, Anne Boleyn. It later passed into the ownership of Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

From 1557 onwards the Castle was owned by a number of families including the Waldegraves, the Humphreys and the Meade Waldos. Finally, in 1903, William Waldorf Astor invested time, money and imagination in restoring the Castle, building the ’Tudor Village’ and creating the gardens and lake.

The Castle and Gardens were opened to the public in 1963 by William Waldorf Astor's grandson, Gavin.  In 1983 the Castle was bought by the current owners, Broadland Properties Limited, a family-run company.

The Castle has a homely atmosphere and houses historic 16th century Tudor portraits, furniture and tapestries. Other artefacts include two magnificent Books of Hours (prayer books), both signed and inscribed by Anne Boleyn.  The Council Chamber in the thirteenth century gatehouse contains collections of historic swords, armour, instruments of execution, torture and discipline.

One of the most magnificent areas of the gardens is the Italian Garden, which was designed to display William Waldorf Astor’s collection of Italian sculpture.

Over 1,000 men worked on the great design with around 800 men digging out the 38 acre lake at the far end of the Italian Garden – taking two years to do so!

Within four years the 30 acres of classical and natural landscapes were constructed and planted.  125 acres of the garden has now reached its full maturity and includes the colourful walled Rose Garden which contains over 4,000 plants.

There are many water features around the gardens, including Half Moon Pond, the Cascade Rockery, the cool and shady grottoes, the formal loggia fountain based on the Trevi fountain in Rome, and the more informal Two Sisters Pond.

Other areas that you can stroll through include the Tudor Garden, Rhododendron Walk and along Anne Boleyn’s Walk with its collection of trees planted over 100 years ago.

In recent years, the present owners have made several changes in the garden including the Millennium Fountain which can be found on Sixteen Acre Island, forming an interesting feature at the far end of this more informal area of the gardens.

The 110 metre herbaceous border has been reinstated and Sunday Walk created, providing a peaceful woodland garden following the course of a stream. In addition to the existing Yew Maze, a splashing water maze has been built on Sixteen Acre Island - a unique feature which is especially popular with the children!