Hever Castle – 25th September 2019

Off to Hever Castle today. Rachel wanted to go and had encourage me by using the hint of I could get some really nice autumn photos. I had suggested going in October but we couldn’t find a date wehen we were both free so we settled on today.

Rachel and I had gone shopping for picnic food on Monday to try and keep the cost down. Hever Castle isn’t too expensive, I think it was about £17.50ish per ticket online but the restaurants and shops is where they get you.

I had got up early this morning to make all the rolls and pack the picnic. Rachel turned up not long after I had got up. Daly had an early morning as he’d had to go help his mum with something. I carried on making the picnic while Rachel played with Bella in the living room and got her dressed for me like normal. We made sure we were all dressed and ready to get going as soon as Daly turned up.

He turned back up shortly after 10.30 with his cousin Hannah in toe. She needed dropping in town and as it was on our way that was no problem. We loaded up the car with the pram, coats and the picnic and set off.

It’s about an hours drive for us to get to Hever and it was pretty uneventful except for the typical SAT NAV trying to send us one way but the brown signs sending us a different way. It really makes me hate SAT NAVs when they do that. There are brown signs for a reason but because the SAT NAV shows you the quickest route 9 times out of 10 they send you down random back roads that are barely fit for cars. I’d rather stick to the brown sign route.

We made it to the castle and loaded up the pram with the picnic bags. We headed off down the drive and into the castle. We arrived an hour after the grounds open. It wasn’t as busy as I thought it maybe. I know with children at school it means your not going to get the fun of kids running around but there wasn’t many couples or older people either. I’m guessing the weather was putting everyone off. It was not a nice day.

As we walked in past the shops and restaurant we came across a bridge over the little river that goes around the grounds. There were lots of baby swans and ducks hanging around. You could buy duck feed but Bella didn’t seem that interested in feeding them.

We walked over the bridge and Bella and Rachel said hello to another group of ducks that had come up on the shore. We walked down towards the castle. There we bushes either side that had been cut into various shapes, we spotted a bear and a pig.

The grounds are so pretty although we did have to remind Bella not to walk on the grass. The castle looked so pretty with the vines climbing up the side of it and them changing colours. It was definitely become autumn with the dark reds.

We walked across the draw bridge in to the courtyard of the castle. The castle had only just opened to look around but unfortunately we weren’t able to take the pram inside. We parked the pram up to the side of the door and wandered inside.

Hever castle, once again, was very pretty inside. We looked around all the rooms inside. Daly carried Bella for a bit as looking a castle rooms doesn’t seem to be her thing. She tried hard to behave though. We looked around and pointed out bits to Bella that we thought she’d like.

We looked round the ground floors. One of the sections on the ground floor was an exhibit of all the films that had been made at the castle about Anne Boleyn. One of the tag lines for one of the films was about battles of the heart. So Rachel and I being absolute idiots pretended our hearts had swords and were fighting. We certainly are a special type of special. This however lead on to the pair of us being extremely giggly for the rest of the castle.

Upstairs we found Anne Boleyns room and there were several manakins in various poses. Daly kept coming up with daft ideas of what the people were doing or saying. Like Henry VIII staring an Anne Boleyn’s butt while standing next to his current wife – actually seemed pretty accurate.

While we were looking around Rachel and I were discussing the Avengers and I told her about some funny videos I had seen on Youtube. Random I know! Anyways because of this one video I had seen I ended up walking around the castle singing ‘It’s raining Tacos’ (If your a true avengers fan you’ll know which scene that’s in reference to) Anyways Rachel and I ended up walking around the top floor of the castle singing and giggling and generally annoying Daly.

One of the last rooms we entered was an exhibit of various castle bits. Bella found a display case with lots of canons in and was telling us they go bang. In the same exhibit there was a garderobe which was shut of by a pane of glass. Just as I read the sign warning of the pane of glass, Bella full on head butted the thing. Now already being in a giggly mood I just fell apart with Rachel following quickly behind me. Daly scolded the pair of us but it was one of those moments, you know you shouldn’t laugh but for some reason your brain thinks it’s the funniest thing ever. Rachel and I ended up curled up on the floor laughing our heads off to the point we were both crying. Oh man we got some evil looks but I knew Daly was looking after Bella and that she was ok. It was only a little bump on the head. I mean, Rachel and I are know for laughing at inappropriate moments. We were in hysterics at a family members funeral once and laughing so badly that our grandfather read us the riot act. Just some times you can’t help it.

As we’d finished looking around the castle and it was nearly 1 o’clock we decided it was a good time for our picnic. Bella was fine from her little head bumping incident and Rachel and I had calmed down enough to eat. We went over to the picnic area and restaurant and I asked Bella to chose a picnic bench. She chose one right next to the river and the shop selling the duck food.

Daly had disappeared off to get us all drinks, the only thing we hadn’t brought for our picnic. Daly and Rachel had cokes while I had a lovely cup of tea. I felt very civilised with my little pot of tea and cup and saucer.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch munching away. Bella sat with Daly and us grown ups all chatted and showed each other various TikTok videos we had found that we thought we’re funny. Once again setting me off. I don’t know what was with me today. I must just have the giggles. Annoyingly my phone wasn’t playing ball or at least the internet wasn’t so we relied on Daly’s phone.

Just as we were coming to the end of our lunch I noticed the texts had been opened on my phone and Daly’s hand was on top of it. So I started having a go at him saying what did he think he was doing going through my messages, I never go through his. He was quickly stuttering back that he didn’t know how my messages had opened and that he hadn’t touched my phone. Now I was in full wind up mood!

I thought I’d make it even better. Now the text that had been opened was from an ex (I know suspicious but Daly knows who I talk to and serious I’m not planning on going back there, he is an ex for a reason but we have some similar life experiences) Anyways Daly doesn’t actually care. But I thought we’d make a little scene, like I said proper wind up mood. We bickered back and forth with me telling him off for looking at my texts and him saying he doesn’t care who I text. I then registered there ws a couple watching us across the court yard so I amped it up shouting at Daly that just because we were married why shouldn’t I be able to sleep with whoever I want, whenever I want. Now Rachel had been cracking up the whole time, and now it was Daly’s turn. I pointed out that we were being watched. When we all looked over at the couple the bloke gave me a thumbs up and nodding as if to say fair play, you do you.

Daly and I love to wind people up with our pretend arguments. It’s so funny watching other people get uncomfortable.

We decided to pack up our picnic and take a look round the gardens. Hever has beautiful grounds. In the past when I’ve been I’ve never done the castle. Castles/stately homes bore me. I prefer a good ruin. I’ve always done the ground in the past so I know how pretty they are.

We first visited the half moon lawn. It has a large half moon shaped pond with fountains in it. Bella loves the water I’m just always a bit worried she’s going to end up init. But we had no need to worry today, she stood at the edge and just watched the fountains. It’s so peaceful by the pond, even though it’s one of the areas that is in constant use to get from A to B it’s still so quiet.

We left the half moon lawn and headed round through the Italian garden. It’s a beautiful walled in garden with all the path under cover. In the walls there are various water features and waterfalls. Again it’s just so peaceful and pretty. As we were walking through this section I decided it ws a good time to visit the facilities. Bella looked like she needed a nappy change and the rest of us could do with a bit of a rest stop.

We headed through the rose garden to the Courtyard shop and restaurant. Bella didn’t want to use the toilet though she’d rather explore the shop that had a range of animals made out of metal. Like the cockerels you find on weather vanes. I finally got her into the toilets to change before going back to the courtyard shop.

She insisted on Daddy and Rachel coming this time and showed them all the different types of animals she could find. They also had these really call mirrors in the shop. They had used old metal window frames and put mirrors inside them. They were lovely.

In the courtyard there was like a little education centre with information all about the gardens. We took a look round it before Bella made us all sit down on a bench in front of a wall with various information about the gardens. We sat there and listened to Bella tell us all about what could be found in the gardens. It was quite a professional job as she moved along the pictures, pointing and talking about them one at a time.

We then walked back into the gardens and headed up some stairs to the two sisters’ lawn and pool. Around the edge at the top of the steps is lots of pretty flowers. It’s like a wall of colour when you get to the top. Bella and Rachel had disappeared off to the theatre so I used this time to do a bit of macro photography. Daly took a break after dragging the pram up alot crazy paved steps.

Bella and Rachel took a look round the theatre. Bella was most disappointed that she couldn’t stay and watch a show. Rachel had to keep telling her there was no show today and we had to keep walking.

She eventually gott walking again and walked along the lovely walk down to the two sisters’ pool. It was pretty with all the autumn leaves on the trees and how peaceful it was. It is a beautiful place to go and explore.

We made it down to the pool and then it was my turn to drag the pram up a load of steps. We took a few cute autumn photos of Bella sat at the top of the steps with all the autumn colours behind her. As we walked further along we discovered the path split into two. One went up some stone steps and over a bridge into the higher part of the garden.

Bella and Rachel took the higher path while Daly and I stuck to the lower path with the pram. We became a bit worried when we reached the end of our path and were stood at the opening of where we expected Rachel and Bella to appear. It felt like ages we were standing there waiting for them. In the end Daly actually walked up the path to find them. All we needed was to get split up at a castle.

Once we were reunited we headed back down to the garden to do the mazes. There are two mazes at Hever castle, the Yew Maze and the Water Maze. First up was the yew maze. Bella and Rachel headed in first but I was stuck at the entrance with the pram. I told Daly that I’d be able to get in and out quickly from past experiences. He grabbed the pram off me and said off you go.

Turns out I was right. Considering I had given Rachel and Bella a few minutes head start I got to the middle first. Rachel’s excuse was she had a toddler. They eventually joined me in the centre.

Daly took a victory photo at the exit of the maze to say we’d made it. We decided to go find the water maze. Considering I have done the grounds and gardens many times before the mazes are something I don’t remember.

We walked down past the winter lawn to the water garden. Along the route there are continuous reminders of the rules for the water maze. Oh and the disclaimer that you will get wet and that’s not their fault.

As we walked down we past the archery field. Sadly it’s only open during school holidays which is a shame. I love archery and haven’t done it in years. I want to prove to Daly that I can actually be good at aiming at something. Anyways maybe another time we’ll go.

We made it to the water maze. Rachel meant business. She was off before I’d even had a chance to park the pram up. Now I agree with Rachel having a toddler with you is a disadvantage. With the water maze young children must hold an adults hand which meant I was at the mercy of Bella.

Now the water maze was great fun. There are little jets of water hidden around the maze triggered when you step on certain path pieces. Now the rules are when you meet one of these ‘obstructions’ you are supposed to turn around and find another route. Now an adults weight sets these things of easily. Bella’s weight however does not. So I ended up being dragged through these fountains of water. They would freak Bella out through, she screamed and cry everytime my weight set one off.

We eventually made it to the middle. By cheating. I really struggled to find the route without a fountain in it so in the end I cheated and took the accessible entrance to the centre. We climbed up the tower in the centre and looked out over the castle gardens. Mostly the lake and the Loggia that’s a pretty fountain based on the Trevi fountain in Rome. Sadly it seems to be having some work down on it at the moment so it’s surrounded by scaffolding.

As we’d seen all the grounds we wanted to do we decided to head back to the entrance and take Bella to the adventure playground to burn off some energy.

It was pretty quiet at the playground, it was just us and another mum with her daughter. Bella had fun climbing up the climbing frame but avoided the slide. I had to give her a little help to walk down the gang plank. She tried to walk down the climbing wall but I told her we climb up that not down it.

She had a go on the baby swings. She actually lasted on them a lot longer than normal. Normally two pushes and she’s down but she lasted a good few minutes today.

She had a go on a little horse seesaw before wanting to try the big kids climbing frame. Down the hill from the little kids sort of play area there was a massive castle but apparently that is only suitable for over 5’s, not that that has stopped us in the past. Bella didn’t seem to interested in that though. She liked the smaller climbing frame that was obviously aimed at older children but up the hill with the younger kids bits.

She gave this climbing frame a good go but needed a bit of support from me. Especially the bridge. It seemed to drop a lot and had biggish gaps between all the slats. Bella was a bit uneasy on this but managed it with a mummy hand.

We left the adventure playground just as the heavens started to open. Also just as it started to get busy. We made our way to the last stop of the day. The shop.

Bella liked the princess dresses they had and accessories but she was very taken by the knights equipment. She picked up a pink foam shield and a sword. And that’s how I found Bella and Daly in the shop, having a sword fight.

Seeing how much she liked the armour, I was willing to buy it for Bella. That was until I saw the price. The small pink foam shield was £20 on it’s own. Now that’s a little much unless she’s actually looking at knight training as an actual hobbie. In the end we didn’t purchase anything from the shop. I know places like this tend to mark up products but that seemed like a lot of money for their products.

We had a lovely day at Hever Castle. It was a proper little adventure day. Looking forward to the next one.

Night all and let’s see what adventures tomorrow holds for us.

Love CiCi x

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