On Saturday 6th April 2019 we visited a place I have wanted to go to for years. Hever Castle.
When it comes to our day trips I normally research what is there for the three of us to make sure we will all enjoy it but I didn’t know we were visiting Hever Castle as it was a birthday surprise from Tom and Emerson. They both knew I’ve always wanted to go here the, this place is stocked with history and I love anything like this. As we turned into the car park and released were we were heading for the day I was so excited but also a little worried as I didn’t want Emerson getting board while we were they. Lets just say i didn’t need to worry one bit. This place is fantastic for families. There is so much to do we couldn’t fit it in in one day.
As we walked towards the entrance gate I immediately notice the beautiful pink tulips on both sides of the path, instantly you know that this Castle and its grounds are well loved and taken care of, this always puts me at ease. As you walk under the arch of the entrance gate you come to the ticket booths and once you have your entrance tickets you walk down through the beautiful grounds, with the castle itself emerging through the trees. I was so excited.
As it was the beginning of the Easter holidays for most of the country, the castle had set up as Easter hunt for the children were they had to search the garden and grounds for the Easter Bunnies Carrots. I have to say for Emerson this was a fantastic idea. He got to search for the carrots while Tom and I got to enjoy the gardens and what they had to offer. Whilst exploring the ground we found that you can hire a row boat and go out on the lake (if the weather would have been nicer we would have done this, but as it was cold and showering rain we decided we would come back and do this another time when it was warmer). We found a lovely conservatory were you can buy drinks, snack and food, it looked beautiful. I hate to admit but this was the only part of the day Emerson did get fed up. We had to wait quite a while for Tom to get our drinks as the staff in here were not organised and quite a few people were getting annoyed with how long things were taking, thankfully we did not experience this anywhere else. In the Castle itself, the shop, help desk and restaurant everyone worked as a team and everything else ran smoothly.
After we finally got our drinks we wandered around the different paths on the grounds. We really all enjoyed this and Emerson loved being able to explore all the different areas and finding the stream with the stepping stone.
Once Emerson had found the Easter Bunnies Carrots and we had walked around the grounds and gardens for a while we decided it was time to go and search around the castle itself. I love learning about the Tudors and with this being Anne Boleyn’s childhood home I couldn’t wait to get in and see where this former Queen of England lived for part of her life.
As you walk towards the moated building, over the drawbridge and under the portcullis the excitements grows wanting to know what you will find inside. With a Tudor clothed gentleman at the entrance of the castle to welcome you, he send you on your way to explore. At this point you can hire a multimedia guide to listen too on your way around the castle. Walking around the castle you are transported to different earers of British history. From the historical Tudor paneled rooms holding treasurers from the time including some of Anne Boleyn’s own belongings, to the more recent times when William Waldorf Astor lovingly restored the castle to what you see today. You will walk through different rooms and you are given information about each different period in time and you get to see how the castle has changed over time. The Castle recommends an hour to do the tour around the castle and I would agree, you want to give yourself enough time to explore the different rooms and discover what treasures they have in them.
Once we had finished our tour around the castle we headed to the restaurant for lunch. From sandwiched, soups, pizzas, sausage rolls and children’s pack lunch’s inside the restaurant to the outdoor BBQ area offering burgers and sausage baguettes there is a lovely array of food to choose from. The outdoor BBQ and the outdoor hot drinks station only excepted cash so for convenience make sure you take money with you, if you do forget (like we did) you can buy hot drinks and pay for your burger or sausage baguette inside the restoration.
After lunch we headed to the miniature model houses, this is such a nice touch and a great way to show the way how houses and living styles have changed over the years and the detail in each house is amazing. Once you have finished exploring these model houses you walk out into the main Hever Castle shop. They have some lovely items to remember your visit from key rings, children’s toys and teddies, books to pictures and pillows for Henry VIII and his six wives. While we where in the gift shop Emerson handed in his Easter Bunny Carrot hunt sheet he was given and the lovely man behind the counter let his pick three mini chocolate eggs, he loved this, he was so proud he has won three mini eggs.
With mini chocolate eggs in hand we headed over to the Yew Maze. This was fun to go around. On our way around all we could hear was people laughing at being lost in he maze, Emerson lead the way through the maze with us running after him, laughing with everyone else in there.
After the Yew Maze we wanted to visit the Water Maze. We had never visited a Water Maze before and wanted to see what one was. The way it is described on Hever Castles website “while squeals of delight can be heard as visitors of all ages enjoy the challenge of finding their way through the Water Maze” and I honestly think it could not be described an better. This maze is a must on your visit. The aim is to reach the center, sounds easy but there are hidden water booby traps on your way around the maze. We all loved trying to beat the water, Tom got drenched trying to find his way through as the water points in different directions, so you might get through to the next circle of slabs but if someone steps on the wrong tile you may get the backlash of water. This is such a fun activity and we spend ages here. We didn’t want to leave and we were not the only ones feeling like this. So many people were loving this maze. I highly recommend you do not miss this, even if you don’t want to do the maze yourself, take your family, just make sure your children don’t miss a slab and stand right in the water (this happened to tow children while we were there).
When we could finally pull Emerson away from the Water Maze we walked back towards the Castle, brought some Duck and Fish food from the little help kiosk near the main gift shop and restaurant so Emerson could feed the ducks and fish on the moat. It coast 50p per bag and there was plenty of food it there to keep children (and adults) happy for a little while. I have to say the fish in the moat were huge, you cannot miss them.
Once all the duck and fish food was gone we started heading back towards the main entrance. When we entered the Castle grounds at the beginning of the day we noticed there was an Army Museum and we knew Emerson would love this so we made sure we made time to see this before we left. He couldn’t believe he got to go inside the museum and see all the different army memorabilia and learnt about different things people had to do during wars.
Emerson favorite part of the day (apart from the Water Maze) was getting to get up close with the Saladin armoured car and field gun outside the museum. He was over the moon to be able to get up so close to these machines and learn about them. This really did finish the day off on a buzz for him.
Over all the day was a huge success. All three of us enjoyed what the Castle had to offer and we all would defiantly go back again. I would highly recommend a visit to Hever Castle.
For more information on this amazing place and to plan your own visit please check out https://www.hevercastle.co.uk/ (not sponsored) to find out everything you need to know before heading there yourself