We have started a bit of a tradition in the LD house, visiting Hever Castle in December to kick off the festivities.
I have always loved visiting Hever Castle, everything from the grounds and buildings themselves to the history and information, it’s just such an amazing place, even more so at Christmas.
We visited on Sunday last week, around 3pm – just as the first few flakes of snow were falling and it was switching between day to dusk. Hever is lit up with multicoloured lights as darkness falls, so we knew we wanted to be around to see that, it is so beautiful and feels like pure magic to be around.
Once we had made our way down from the main gates, we went straight the castle, just over the bridge and in the courtyard, there was a heavy gust of Hever snow, and several Christmas trees decorated with lights and a gorgeous manger scene that took me back to Christmas as a child, it felt so traditional and old school, it was perfect!
In the castle Charlie was given a piece of paper for him to count all the trees that were placed throughout the tour, in each of the rooms, and we were able to make our way round, taking in history of the place.
Each room had a piece about the history of a famous Christmas carol, some dating back to the 1500’s! All of the trees were decorated in ways to complement the room they were in, with the long corridor upstairs having several all together! All of the decorations were beautiful and you could see that a lot of time and effort had gone into each one.
Once we had finished in the castle, we made our way to the mini funfair outside, and the first stop was the magic mirrors – never a bad place to start! We were in stitches at seeing ourselves in the mirrors! There was also a merry-go-round and a coconut shy, which you need to purchase tokens for to enjoy. I’m pretty sure the merry-go-round went from playing Mary Poppins music to Christmas music in a flash, but don’t quote me on it!
The Christmas trail is different each year, the theme this year is the 12 Days of Christmas, and you go on a (muddy so wear outdoor shoes!) walk, through the 12 days. We were greeted at day 8 by a milk maid and a goose, where the kids were encouraged to milk the cow and then answer a question to receive a chocolate prize – even the teenager got roped into this!
Everyone is friendly and full of little bits of information about the history, for instance, did you know that French Hens are called that because they’re twice the size of normal hens? So, by singing about 3 French Hens, you’re actually boasting about how much money you have. Yup, little bit of Christmas trivia for you there! Thank you point number 3 on the walk!
On one of the days there is a chance to write a special message to those you love on a little heart, which you then hang up on a board, along with thousands of others. Last year there was a wishing tree, which we passed again on Sunday and it reminded us all of the wishes we made a year ago.
No cold day out is complete without a hot chocolate and a cake, so we headed inside to the restaurant for a salted caramel hot chocolate, a Christmas biscuit for the kids and a slice of gluten free coconut cake for me!
We then made our way back outside where it was properly dark and wandered around the grounds, taking in all the lights. Everywhere is lit up and it’s incredible to see
There is of course a huge Santa’s grotto, which was sadly fully booked when we were there, but you can do a drop in visit on certain days, or you can book in advance when you get your tickets. We saw him last year, he and Mrs Claus were just as you’d expect them to be!
The venue closes at 6 on a Sunday, with the last entry at 4.30 so you have enough time to get around, but I could easily spend the entire day there. Twilight Christmas, which is what we did last year, also has hot food being served outside, as well as the all important mulled wine, and the whole castle is lit up – it’s definitely worth visiting.
Children under 5 go for free, and tickets for adults are £16.90 each, 5-15’s cost £9.75 and tickets to see Santa are £11.50 per child. You can find out all the information here or here for Twilight Christmas.
We were provided the tickets for our trip but all views are my own.