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Castles/Houses, Days Out, Home, Outdoors, Unusual

Hever Castle – Days out for kids!

Hever Castle

We had the pleasure of visiting Hever Castle in Kent recently. We absolutely love cultural days out for kids. Eden really enjoys visiting castles even at 5 years old. There is so much to explore and there is always an exciting adventure to be had for a young and imaginative mind. Hever Castle did not disappoint, a fascinating and truly charming place to visit, we had a wonderful time.

Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn so a very interesting visit for any King Henry VIII fans out there. Plenty of interesting facts to discover and sights to see.

Front view of Hever Castle

The Grounds

Hever Castle is located just outside Edenbridge in Kent. It is set within 125 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens. There is a boating lake, a yew tree maze, a water maze and brand new children’s adventure park Tudor Towers with a new play area currently being developed for the under 5s.

The gardens are simply stunning and were so much fun to explore with surprises around each corner. There are waterfalls, hidden gardens, a Pompeiian wall dotted with statues, a lake walk, a Japanese Tea House and then there are the mazes. We had so much fun chasing Eden as she led the way around the Yew tree maze. It’s a good sized maze, it wasn’t too large to get lost in and was fairly simple to solve. The water maze was unfortunately closed during our visit but is opening at Easter. You can also hire a boat on the lake or try your hand at archery during your visit.

Pompeiian Wall Sculptures in the grounds at Hever Castle

Children’s Adventure Playground

The new addition of the Tudor Towers adventure park is fantastic for kids. A huge wooden castle to explore with slides, tunnels, firemen’s poles to slide down and stairs and nets to climb. We had great fun in the play area, with so much to discover and plenty to keep the kids amused. The zip wire and tyre swing were great fun.

There was also the added bonus of a coffee kiosk at the playground so adults could relax with a hot drink whilst the children could play and let off some steam. The play area was spacious and very well designed. Most of all it inspired kids to use their imaginations, even becoming rulers of their own castle!

Tudor Towers Adventure Playground at Hever CastleEden playing at the Adventure Playground at Hever Castle

The Castle

From the outside you wouldn’t believe how large Hever Castle is. It may not look like the largest of castles initially but once you step inside there are so many rooms to explore, it just keeps going we were pleasantly surprised. The walls are adorned with paintings and beautiful wood panelling and each room is filled with interesting things to see.

As we entered the castle Eden was given an explorer trail with a quest for things to look out for in each room. This was a great way to make the visit to the castle more interactive for children. Eden was excited exploring each room looking for items on her list but also taking interest in the displays and paintings. I think she particularly enjoyed looking for the hidden door in The Drawing Room and finding all the hidden faces within the woodwork in The Astor Suite.

The Castle is simply beautiful, from the detailed walnut panelling and columns in The Inner Hall to the impressively detailed fireplace in The Dining Room. You get to visit what was once Anne Boleyn’s bedroom, The Queens Chamber with its fine collection of portraits of Henry VIII and his six wives and King Henry VIII’s bedchamber where it is thought he stayed during his courtship with Anne Boleyn. There is also a permanent exhibition in The Long Gallery with costumed figures that help bring the story to life.

 

The drawing room at Hever CastleEden doing the explorer trail at Hever Castle in Anne boleyns bedroomKind Henry VIII’s bedroom at Hever Castle Costumes models at Hever Castle

Facilities

There are a selection of restaurants and shops at Hever Castle. Whether you want to treat yourself to an ice cream, a bbq, a spot of lunch or an Afternoon Tea, there are options for everyone. Within the Hever Shop you will find the Miniature Model House exhibition. The 1/12 scale model houses are amazing, they are decorated beautifully and the attention to detail is incredible. We really enjoyed our time looking around the model houses, peering inside at the beautiful contents. They were simply breathtaking and I think inspired Eden to once own her own dolls house.

Hever Castle hold many events throughout the year, please check their website for further details. They hold themed activities and craft workshops, so be sure not to miss those. We visited on Mother’s Day and enjoyed making a Mother’s Day keyring, decorated a cupcake and there was even face painting for a small extra charge.

We had such a wonderful time at Hever Castle, we can’t wait to visit again some time very soon!

A view across the moat at Hever Castle

Thank you for reading ‘Hever Castle – Days out for kids!’ If you have enjoyed this review, please see our reviews of other cultural days out,  Leeds Castle, Lullingstone Castle and Ingatestone Hall.

Written in collaboration with Hever Castle but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Castles/Houses, Days Out, Home, Museums, Outdoors, Unusual

Ingatestone Hall

Ingatestone Hall

We visited Ingatestone Hall one Sunday and had such a lovely time. A wonderful old house to explore with gardens and a tea room.

The house was built in the 1500’s and has been passed through fifteen generations of the Petre Family. The house is still occupied by the family until this day. Situated in the countryside just 1 mile from Ingatestone in Essex. It’s a splendid Tudor Mansion which retains its original Tudor form and appearance. Inside you will find oak-panelled rooms adorned with furniture and objects gathered over time from many different periods.

Ingatestone Hall - the front

The House

As you enter the house into the Inner Court there is a small shop selling gifts and souvenirs and a restaurant situated in The Summer Parlour. They serve light lunches, sandwiches, delicious cakes, and cream teas. Full afternoon teas can also be prebooked. There are lots of paintings on the walls and Eden sat happily drawing her own versions of them!

Ingatestone Hall, the summer parlour

Ingatestone Hall the cakes

Exploring the rooms

You start your self guided tour in The Stone Hall, a beautiful large oak panelled room. Each room is adorned with various pieces of furniture and objects collected over the years. There are also lots of personal photos and articles belonging to the family. Eden found looking around the house so interesting, looking at the paintings, tapestries, stuffed animals and various artifacts. She was amazed to find the priests hiding place hidden in the Study and found it fascinating that this was a hiding place for someone once upon a time. The secretive chamber is hidden within a cupboard, entry via a small alcove. At the opposite end there was once an opening where food might have been passed to the priest. Eden insisted on having a photo next to the Priests hiding place.

Ingatestone Hall  The Stone Hall

Ingatestone Hall Inside the Stone Hall

Ingatestone Hall The priests hole

 

There is also a second Priests hiding place on the main stair case. It had been lost for many years and was uncovered in 1855 when a child lost its toy through the floorboards in the room above.

There are many rooms to visit within Ingatestone Hall. The Dining Room was particularly impressive, the table laid out in fine silverware ready for entertaining. Upstairs in The Gallery there are lots of glass display cabinets filled with lace, coins and documents. There are so many interesting things to see, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Ingatestone Hall The Dining Hall

Ingatestone Hall The silverware

Ingatestone Hall  The Gallery

The Gardens

Ingatestone Hall is surrounded by ten acres of enclosed gardens comprising extensive lawns, walled garden and stew pond. In the garden there are several routes to take around the garden, whether it’s The Lime Walk lined with trees, The Nut walk named as it is lined with Hazel trees and The Wild Walk, an area to encourage wild life. Each one makes an interesting and exciting adventure for little ones. We spent lots of time exploring the gardens, Eden was so excited to explore. For her she found it magical, her imagination ran wild.

Ingatestone Hall Gardens

Ingatestone Hall Stew Pond

Ingatestone Hall the garden walks

Ingatestone Hall Eden and I

Visitor Information

The house and grounds are open from noon to 5 p.m.  (last entry 4 p.m.) on Wednesday, Sunday & Bank Holiday Monday afternoons from Easter until the end of September.

The house is now closed for public visits until Easter 2018 but open for special events.

There is free parking available in the Meadow Car Park.

Adults are £7 each

Pensioners £6

Children 5-16 £3

And under 5s are free.

The house is also open to other events and available to hire for weddings and parties. Please see their website for more information.

Thank you for reading Ingatestone Hall – A Review.

 

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