We had lovely weather for the trip, dry and sunny with an occasional gentle breeze. On the way to Hever, we stopped off at Polhill Garden Centre, where several people purchased plants to brighten up their autumn and winter gardens. Most of us took the opportunity to have some refreshments as well.
When we arrived at the castle Peter collected the tickets and Kathy distributed them.
|Waiting for the tickets.|
There were notices around advertising the various events that were happening that weekend. There was a lot going on, as you can see:
|Poster advertising events at the castle.|
Talented craftspeople and producers had set up stalls on Half Moon Pond Lawn, demonstrating country crafts ranging from wood turning and wood carving to ceramics & felt making. Spinners, weavers and dyers were there to explain how to produce textiles, plus advice on keeping hens and bees from the experts, and local produce stalls. Besides learning a new skill, there were plenty of opportunities for visitors to ask questions while they had fun discovering age-old techniques.
The event incorporates the popular annual Hever Castle Patchwork and Quilting Exhibition. Members of The Quilters’ Guild from across Kent, Surrey and Sussex had showcased their talent with a display of patchwork quilts and wall hangings. The "crafty" members in the club had a field day amongst all these things!
Throughout the weekend there was to be a full programme of demonstrations on patchwork and quilting techniques, lace making, and a selection of trade stalls selling designs, equipment, fabrics and haberdashery. East Grinstead Photography and Sevenoaks Art Clubs were there to display their talents.
|An old-fashioned wood turning lathe.|
We went around the castle, which was splendid. It was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. There was a lot of history explained in the displays, portraits and models within the castle, including beautifully dressed models of King Henry 8th, his wives, and how they met their demise. Photography was not allowed inside, so I was unable to get any photos from the interior, but here is the very imposing outside:
The castle has a moat around it with huge gold fish swimming about. The portcullis was over the huge doorway and arrow slits set into the walls, you could almost imagine the knights coming to attack it! Speaking of which, there were to be jousting displays in the grounds, together with archery practise.
The gardens surrounding the castle were huge, with several different sorts of planting. There was an Italian sunken garden, dahlia displays and a lot of topiary, set in extensive rolling green lawns. Several ponds and fountains, with a lot of wildlife around them, were there too. Here is the Jubilee flower bed, made out of succulent plants:
|Jubilee display made of succulents.|
|A topiary pig.|
There was a lot happening to keep the child visitors amused too, including a normal maze and a "water maze". This sounded intriguing, but unfortunately, time ran out before I could investigate it. However, while I was heading in this direction, I came across the very spooky ghost of Anne Boleyn! Here is the photo to prove it:
|Anne Boleyn's ghost.|
The time passed very quickly, and it was soon time to head back to the coach. We all plodded back up the hill to the coach park & gratefully took our seats, it had been a very interesting and enjoyable day. Most of us snoozed on the way back, being woken up when the coach stopped moving. There had been an accident on the road through Romford involving several cars. The police and emergency services were there. We had to creep past it on the pavement, this delayed us by about thirty minutes, but once we were past that, the road was clear and we made it back to Dagenham without incident, disembarking and going our various ways home.