Hever Castle review

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
User rating
hever-castle_206374

In a nutshell

A historic castle in Kent with lots to offer modern families, including an adventure playground, fun water maze and boating lake.
Fun for kids
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Fun for parents
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Worth the money
3.5 out of 5 rating 3.5
Facilities
3.0 out of 5 rating 3.0
Family friendliness
3.0 out of 5 rating 3.0
Pros: Amazing play castle, fun mazes, beautiful grounds, picture-perfect castle, free parking
Cons: Food and drink is expensive and lacklustre, many areas not buggy friendly

When we visited:

We visited Hever Castle on a hot and sunny Sunday in June

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What age is Hever Castle best for?

Best for: Children aged 4-10 years old

Still good fun for: Children aged 1-3 years old

How much does Hever Castle cost?

Castle and Garden:

  • Gate prices: Adults £17.75, children £9.95, under 5s free
  • Online prices: Adults £16.75, children £9.40, under 5s free
  • Family saver tickets: Family of 4 £46.85 (gate), £44.30 (online)

Garden only:

  • Gate prices: Adults £14.95, children £9.40, under 5s free
  • Online prices: Adults £14.15, children £8.90, under 5s free
  • Family saver tickets: Family of 4 £41.10 (gate), £38.90 (online)
  • RHS members can get into the gardens for free if you show your membership card (with certain date restrictions)

Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Hever Castle?

Look out for special discounts on Picniq, and you can also exchange Tesco Clubcard vouchers for entry. Hever Castle website lists a number of partner offers too.

Any extra charges once I’m there?

There are optional extras you can choose to spend more on including row boats and pedalos, as well as archery. But these are not necessary to make it an enjoyable day out, as there is plenty to do which is already included in the price of your ticket.

Once you are inside, the food was expensive but it’s very easy to take your own picnic.

How long would we spend at Hever Castle?

I think this would be a full day out, which would allow you to take your time and see and do everything.

What’s Hever Castle like for families?

Hever Castle is a 700-year-old castle in Kent which was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, so it has lots of really interesting history. It’s set in 125 acres of grounds which now include a huge adventure playground, Yew Maze, Water Maze and Boating Lake.

This place looks like the castle out of your child’s story books and our 5-year-old history fanatic was totally enthralled.

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What shouldn’t be missed?

Highlights for us were:

  • The castle itself was really beautiful and interesting to go around with plenty to see for a variety of ages
  • Our 5 year old especially liked the history of Anne Boleyn and the portraits of Henry the VIII, and our 3 year old loved the suits of armour and old swords
  • The adventure playground was another highlight with a fantastic play castle called Tudor Towers. This was more suited to children over 7 years as younger children required supervision due to the scale of it (although they still loved it)
  • The new play area for children ages 7 years and under opened shortly after we visited, and looks like it’s going to be brilliant
  • In addition to the play castle there was also a more familiar selection of playground equipment
  • We went it was a hot summer day and the amazing water maze offered a fun way to cool down. In the water maze you are tasked with finding your way to the centre without getting wet (or as wet as you can, your choice). Along the path, tilt switches set off water jets which soak you or unsuspecting followers along the way

Is it easy to make your way around Hever Castle with young children?

You’re given a map as you enter and it is easy to navigate your way around. But be aware the grounds are sprawling so it can be a long walk for little legs and you could end up carrying them around.

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Is it pushchair-friendly?

A buggy is useful but even in the grounds you will encounter lots of steps! It is worth noting however that there is no pushchair access in the castle and the stone spiral steps in places were very steep and challenging for younger children. Our 3 year old very sensibly went down them on his bottom, and we took the baby in a baby carrier.

What do you need to know before you go?

  • This place has great history behind it, so talking to your children about it before you leave makes the day all the more special. It really brought history alive for our 5 year old, who is fascinated by Henry VIII!
  • The food is expensive and hot food was only served until 3pm
  • Inside the castle may not appeal to all pre-schoolers, and could be challenging to get around for little legs.
  • Access to the castle is limited for those with mobility issues
  • No scooters or bicycles allowed within the grounds

What to bring?

  • If you are taking a baby and wish to go around the castle a baby carrier or sling would be very useful
  • Refillable water bottle as there are plenty of places to fill this up for free and on the hot day they even provide ice
  • Swim suits and towel for the water maze
  • Cash – many of the outlying kiosks were cash-only, although the central ones and restaurants accepted cards.

Food and Drink at Hever Castle

There is a good selection of places to eat including two main eateries and kiosks scattered throughout the grounds – including a coffee stand by the kids play area. However these kiosks are only open at the weekends and during the school holidays. The food we had was generally nice but not exceptional, certainly at the price. They stop serving hot food at 3pm so don’t plan for a hot dinner before you leave.

There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating with high chairs readily available. There’s also free water and ice available at all the restaurants.

Can you take a picnic?

Yes, and we’d advise taking a picnic as there are loads of beautiful spots for you to eat within the grounds and close to the castle. Although there are picnic benches available, some of the most beautiful picnic spots are best enjoyed with a picnic blanket so I’d pack one of those too.

What are the toilets like?

The toilets were clean and good condition. Not all toilet blocks had baby changing facilities unfortunately.

How well does it cater for disabled visitors?

  • Motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters are not permitted inside the courtyard or castle due to the historic nature of the building
  • Accessible toilets are near the main ticket office, the Moat and Pavilion restaurants, and near the Courtyard Shop
  • Inside the castle, the stone spiral steps are very steep in places
  • For more information see Hever Castle’s access statement

Opening dates and times

Hever Castle’s  grounds open at 10:30am and the castle opens at noon. Closing times vary throughout the year so check the website. On arrival you will receive a handy leaflet with opening times for all attractions and amenities.

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Best time to visit:

Hever Castle is busiest on Saturday 12-4pm, and quietest Mon-Thurs

How to get to Hever Castle

Hever Castle sits on the Kent/Surrey/Sussex border, 30 miles outside London

  • We drove to the castle without issues and it’s easily found via SatNav using postcode TN8 7NG
  • Once you get closer it’s well sign posted
  • By train, you’ll need to get a taxi from Edenbridge Town Station as there is no bus service to the castle

Do you have to pay for parking?

Parking is plentiful and free

Worth a long car journey?

We travelled an hour in order to reach Hever castle and it certainly felt well worth it. I don’t think it would be worth staying overnight for though – unless we could have afforded to stay in the Hever Castle B&B which looked amazing!

Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near Hever Castle?

There are lots of family-friendly accommodation options near to Hever Castle, including:

Nearby attractions for a longer day out:

If you’re not castled out, country house and museum Chiddingstone Castle is an 8-minute drive away, or Penshurst Place & Gardens is 15 minutes. Or change things up a gear and let them charge around Manic Monsters soft play, just 11 minutes away in the car. Young children will love Diggerland Kent (40 minutes away).

Made for Mums Verdict

We had a wonderful day at Hever Castle and particularly enjoyed the beautiful grounds, play area and water maze. We would definitely go back again and have heartily recommended it to our friends.

Visit Hever Castle’s website

See more reviews of Hever Castle on TripAdvisor

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Who are we?

We are a family of 5 with 3 children aged 5, 3 and 8 months