Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Last week my family descended on Hever Castle for a day out. The Sister had managed to obtain four free entries from her workplace and we decided to put them to good use, paying only for a student ticket. Not bad for a family of five adults.
I hadn't been to Hever for years! Which is a real shame as it is practically on our doorstep. The trouble is that it is privately owned so you have to pay entrance every visit, and as we are all National Trust members we tend to go more for the properties owned by them as it is then free entry for us. We are very lucky to live in an area that is jam packed full of these beautiful old houses, castles and gardens and are really spoilt for choice with our days out.
I am hoping to visit it more regularly however as they host a really lovely Handmade and Homegrown Festival every year which I would love to exhibit at (unfortunately I am away this year but am keeping an eye out for next year!).
There is lots to see; lots of lovely gardens, this beautiful lake on which you can hire out boats and pedalos, a rose garden, a water maze, jousting tournaments, knights and princesses, Italian gardens and of course the house itself which is steeped in royal history (Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII anyone?).
One of my favourite parts was this enormous row of Dahlias. It stretched almost as far as the eye could see and was packed with nearly every different breed/brand/colour/creed of Dahlia imaginable!! I took so many photos just in this one section alone!
The castle is a proper, traditional looking castle complete with moat and drawbridge. Once you've made is safely over the bridge without anyone pouring boiling oil on you, you end up in a little cobbled courtyard and then round into one of the rooms in the castle itself. Quite a lot of it is visible by the public, and you can hire out the dining room for events!
Once outside again the weather was being very unpredictable, one minute it was pouring down with rain and the next it was glorious sunshine which made for some very moody castle shots with heavy grey clouds looming over the turrets. No one seemed to mind though and there were lots of visitors milling around.
You can buy little pellets to feed the ducks and swans which we spent a happy half hour doing. The ducks aren't fussy about who they get food from and come haring up to anyone walking past in the hope of a tasty treat. They also, it turns out, like nibbling on shoes!
The rose garden smelt amazing and looked just as incredible although I didn't get many photos of it as it was also stuffed to bursting with gardeners. Turning over flower beds, dead heading roses, pinning back rogue sprays, adding additional compost/nutrients to the soil, all working very hard.
If you are ever in the area around Hever (or fancy getting the train down) it's a lovely place to visit and lose yourself in for a day.