A Truly Traditional Christmas At Hever Castle

Hever Castle is a pretty spectacular place to visit at any time of year; from its stunning gardens to the grand castle itself it really is an immensely beautiful place.

This said we have never visited at Christmas and it was something I had heard such good things about that I couldn’t wait to explore what they had to offer this weekend.

We arrived to a tree lined walkway covered with sparkling lights and from this moment the Christmassy feeling kicked in and we were all super excited to get inside.

We headed straight to the castle where the centre courtyard held a crib that the children gazed at whist getting the most wonderful surprise of falling snow from the air.

The castle itself held countless trees that were all adored beautifully with a magnificent surprise of a whole grand hall lined with delicate white trees that were simply amazing.

From here the children climbed aboard the carousel, tried their hand at the coconut shy and spent a good while at the hook-a-duck stall that had some pretty impressive prizes.

Next stop was the Husky Hideout that Izzy had been itching to get to all day. It was so lovey that the children had a chance to get up so close to so many of the beautiful dogs who’s owners were all on hand to answer any…well lots of questions from my lot.

We then couldn’t walk past the cafe without popping in for a bite to eat. As usual I found it impossible to pass on a mince pie and when they come in the form of a tienesse swirl that makes them even more tempting.

I washed this down with a creamy gingerbread latte while the children sampled some very cute Christmas pudding shaped cookies.

A quick stop at the toilets gave us the unexpected surprise of snow covered trees that surround the small area by the gift shop. It was a wonderful surprise and really felt like a little winter wonderland.

We still had the Twelve Days Of Christmas trial to complete and this really exceeded my expectations.

The trail wound round the gardens and had pitstops at each of the sections from the familiar Christmas carol. It was decorated beautifully and a certain points you were greeted with riddles and activities to complete that the children revealed in.

This is also home to Santa’s Grotto that we didn’t visit this year but I must say looked amazing!

Our last port of call was the craft workshop where the children set to creating their very own christmas angel from all sorts of bits and pieces. There was sparkle and shine everywhere so Izzy was in her element.

I really could have spent the entire day here just taking in everything they had to offer. From surprise flurries of snow to the excitement of the fairground rides there was something for everyone to enjoy and we thoroughly did.

It was the epitome of a traditional christmas for me and a day that will have us coming back agin next year for sure.

*we were given tickets to this event for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Window Shopping and Dinosaur Hunting in Crystal Palace

For me a trip to Crystal Palace has only ever entailed a trip to the park, but over the past few years as I’ve driven down the high street I have slowly seen some more interesting shops and eateries popping up.

With my sister after some different household goodies for her new home we decided to give the town centre a visit today and were pleasantly suprised.

There were some fantastic independent coffee shops and resturants, a few good clothes shops and ample home ware shops offering something a little different to the norm.  I would recommend a look around Crystal Palace if you are looking for some one off pieces or a good restoration project to sink your teeth into.

          

Once the little ones had, had enough of the shops we headed to the park.  I have a real love for this park for many reasons.  It is steeped in history and I love climbing the steps, with the children of what would have been the magnificent Crystal Palace.

  

From there we made our way across the vast parkland and down into the ornate gardens of the ‘Victorian theme park’ that homes the magnificent dinosaur sculptures.  We never tire of walking around, clambering on the rocks and feeding the ducks whist looking at the fantasic dinosaurs; although number four was disappointed with their lack movement today!

          

During the summer months the boating lake is open and you can hire a pedalo or rowing boat which is alway a great addition to our trip.

After our dinosaur hunt we made our way to the farm to meet the animals. It  is only  small but there is always a chance to meet one of the animals up close, and the volunteers there are always on hand to answer any questions.  There is no charge to enter but a donation is asked for.

  

A short walk from the farm leads you to the dinosaur themed playground where the little ones burnt off some energy in the sandpit, slide and swings.

  

Our final port of call was the maze.  For some reason this has always eluded us in the past and we wished it had today!  Due to our lack of direction it was a very anxious and muddy twenty minutes.

This park has good public transport links and is directly next to the train station.  There is a free car park that is located by the ruins of the old palace.  As it is such a vast area a buggy will be needed for tired little legs.

Come rain of shine this is a beautiful piece of history that is defiantly worth a visit, especially for dinosaur lovers.