A Dickens Inspired Christmas At Hever Castle

Last year was our first visit to Hever Castle at Christmas time and I was completely taken in with the traditional feeling they had created, and on our return trip to the press evening last week those same feeling came flooding back the minute we drove into the car park.

The entrance was filed with light covered trees and and as we walked down to the main hub the sky was filled with laser beams that were being projected across the lake.

The whole walk down to the castle was in fact a visual delight with disco balls sparking in archways and pretty lights everywhere we looked.

On of the highlights for me last year was the little area tucked behind the entrance to the toilets….yes it doesn’t sound to glamorous, but it was full of snow covers trees and peopled huddled around an open fire and it got our visit off to the perfect start.

The children didn’t know what to look at or were to go first so we had a few goes on the beautiful carousel and a run through the hall of mirrors to let off some steam!

After this we were all eager to get inside the castle and see how it had been decorated. We were greeted with hot mulled mine, sausage rolls and mince pies which made for an amazing experience but my nerves wear more than a little on edge at the though of sticky fingers and all the beautiful furniture!

We went in and out of every room or which each one was breathtaking. A castle steeped in history and full of Christmas spirit had got to be a pretty amazing sight to see.

Before we knew it it was our turn to go and visit Father Christmas. The boys exciting skipped along the candy caned lined walkway until we reached the grotto and were welcomed by Father Christmas’s friendly elves.

They lead us threw a snow covered pathway until we reached his little house that was tucked away behind the trees.

He greeted the children in such a warm manner and the children’s faces lit up as soon as he started speaking to them…even Izzy’s.

They were each given a lovely gift and we headed out to giant our evening with the ‘Christmas Carol’ trail.

The trail was themed around the Dickens classic and saw us meeting characters from the classic tail along the way. It is an interactive experience that kept us wondering what we were going to come across next!

We left the castle full of Christmas spirit and wanting to visit again before Christmas is out!

*We were asked along to the press evening for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

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.

A Festival For All:Camp Bestival 

Traipsing around a field for four days and sleeping in a tiny tent with a stroppy teen, three hugely excitable little ones and a mud fearing husband would easily of been my idea of the worst holiday for my family.  That was until our mind blowing stay at Camp Bestival.

This time last week we had just returned covered in glitter, a little smelly from the lack of washing but still walking on air from the fabulous holiday we had just been lucky enough to experience.

We had a good journey to Dorset and we’re really taken back with the vastness of the festival which covered the fields surrounding the beautiful Lulworth Castle.

I tried to be as organised as I could with the packing and we managed to get all our stuff down to the campsite in only two trips thankfully as the trip to and from the carpark is a bit of a challenge.

After struggling more than a little to set up our tent for the first time, my husband sheepishly asked two ladies that seemed experts in the field to give us a hand!

With his masculinity crushed we got everything in place and set off to investigate.

Although not everything is open on the Thursday it is the perfect opportunity to grab a bite to eat and get your bearings before the madness starts.

Tired from the drive we all got a surprisingly good nights sleep and were raring to go the next day.

With our timetable in hand we decided to take the next few days as they come and not stick to set routine.  The inner hippie in me was out in force and routine was out the window!

We wanted to experience everything and with so much going on we didn’t know where to start.  Yet we soon found some firm favourites we went back to time and time again.

One of which was the Dingly Dell, a little bit of magic in the woods that was perfect for the little ones to create lanterns between the trees, take part in as scavenger hunt or explore the adventure playground.

It is also home to the stupendous Lizzie’s Way  where kids can really be kids and follow colourful ribbon covered pathways that lead you to a host of activities where they can create concoctions in the ‘mud kitchen’, dress up and give a performance on stage or hide out in the mini tipis.

The National Trust also had a great area where they had the ’50 Things To Do Before Your 11 3/4 Medow’.  The children loved picking their own tools to add wood to the huge structure that was being created, climbing trees and having hill rolling competitions.

The big top was a great area to shelter in from the sun to listen to some great music or relax in front on the huge cinema screen.  Mine all loved a bit of quiet time to sit and watch the fantastic new film Pete’s Dragon.

There were fairground rides aplenty from the traditional carousel to something a little different with the addition of the worlds biggest bouncy castle that my oldest two absolutely loved!

The main stage had something for all ages.  The little ones were in complete awe when Mr Tumble took to the stage and sat captivated watching Aliens Love Underpants, the older ones danced along to Reggie and Bowlie and made me push my way to the front when Jess Glynne took to the stage.

The highlight for me was reliving my youth when Banannarama came on stage. I felt like a teenager again singing into my hairbrush!

My husband was excited all weekend to watch the legend that is Fatboy Slim. Unfortunately the youngest two were less then impressed so I moped back to the tent while I left my husband to enjoy the spectical.

I’m sure we didn’t cover everything but there was not a point in the day or the evening the children were bored.  They went from dancing on stage with Big Fish Little Fish to creating  masterpieces in the art tent, to honing their circus skills, running through bubbles and playing in the sand until dark.

My tummy is always a priority and food was on my mind long before we left.  I wanted to save some money and enjoy the experience of cooking outdoors so we took lots with us to make a good breakfast to set us up for the day and then either had lunch or dinner back at the tent so we could take a bit of time out and enjoy the campsite as well as the festival itself.
The choice of food is immense and you are really spoilt for choice.  We had traditional Spanish paella cooked in huge pans right in front of you, juicy beef burgers, ice creams a plenty and the best waffles I’ve ever tasted and believe me I’ve had a few!

All of this was washed down with fresh lemonade and a few to many G and T’s from the gin truck.

There was a surprise around every corner from cute characters to meet and great to elaborate parades.

Just when you thought things couldn’t be topped the most spectacular firework display lit up the entire castle for the grand closing ceremony. It was a real sight to be seen and such an apt ending to a truly fabulous weekend.
Camp Bestival was more than we could ever have expected and I will have more posts to follow as I have far to much to let you all know about in just one post.

If you are looking for a holiday that will have something for the whole family to enjoy, a place where you can try out countless new activities, listen to fantastic live music and just enjoy each other’s company in the most fantastic setting then this is the perfect trip for you.

Don’t waste time on thinking about booking for next year as there is the opportunity to pick up early bird tickets as of today!

Camp Bestival 2017 Early Bird Weekend Ticket Prices:

Adult Weekend Ticket – £175*
Student Weekend Ticket – £165*
Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket – £105*
Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket – £80*
Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket – £30*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket – £10*
Babes In Arms (1 & Under) – FREE (but ticket required)*
All tickets include camping from Thursday or Friday.
Weekly Payment Plan:
Use our 30-week payment plan to purchase your tickets meaning that an adult ticket can now be bought at a payment of around £5 per week over 30 consecutive weekly payments following your initial deposit payment. Book online via Ticketline only: select ‘Camp Bestival 2017 – Weekend Payment Plan’. Once you have signed up to the payment plan, which basically means giving your agreement by ticking the bank mandate form on Ticketline’s website, they will automatically debit your card on a weekly basis. NB: Booking fees and a deposit (£25 per adult ticket) will be charged with your initial transaction.
*we were given tickets to Camp Bestival for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Our Trainee Knight At Leeds Castle 

Ever since opening his knights costume on Christmas Day number four has been obsessed with knights and everything that goes with them.

So when we were invited to explore Leeds Castle in Kent it was the perfect opportunity for him to don his costume and make his dreams become reality!



As soon as we entered the castle grounds there was something special to look at and take in.  From the winding pathways through the gardens, magnificent peacocks and tranquil ponds where the children loved feeding the ducks.
We were lucky that our trip coincided with their Charlie And The Chocolate Factory event which involved the children searching the castle and grounds for golden tickets and huge bars of chocolate while completing their quiz sheet to claim their prize at the end. 

Once we reached the castle we were taken back by its grandure.  It was much larger and more beautiful than I had envisaged.

The children expored every nook and cranny of the building before stepping inside.  They were all taken with the tiny doors they kept coming across and tried with all their might to get a peek inside!

The inside of the castle was just as splendid.  Each room was immaculately preserved and transported you back to how things might have been all those years ago.

I need to come back to really appreciate everything the castle has to offer as the younger ones found bounding through the hallways far more appealing than looking at the rooms!



It was coming up for lunchtime so we headed towards the restaurant to refuel.  I was pleasantly surprised with the pretty building that housed the restaurant.  There was an extensive menu of hot and cold food at good prices and to the delight of the children the Charlie And The Chocolate theme ran through here with the splendid treat table.

With full bellies we headed over to the play area.  This was all in keeping with the castle theme and had a seperate area for older children which is always welcome with our family with the big age gaps.

At this point the heavens opened and with some very soggy and tired children we started our journey home.

There is still territory we haven’t discovered such as the maze and the grotto which looked like great fun.  We would also have loved to have taken a trip round on the train but all of this will be something to look forward to next time.

There are some fantastic events going on throughout the year and the first one to catch my eye was the Mothers Day event this weekend where you can treat the special lady in your life to a delicious meal in beautiful surrounding.

We throughly enjoyed our whole day and would highly recommend this for families with children of all ages.  There is something to please everyone from 1-100!

We were gifted tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall