It was a bit of a gloomy day with an ever present threat of rain, but at least it meant that it wasn't too busy, and the rain held off until the way home. We started by visiting the castle itself, perhaps more of a stately home now, but with a moat, drawbridge and portcullis the key elements are there. Harry was interested to learn about Henry VIII and his wives (the castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and was subsequently owned by Anne of Cleves) but Mia was eager to get back outside.
So as the weather brightened we explored the gardens and the popular mazes. We started in the Yew Maze, not too difficult so the children didn't get bored and providing an opportunity for celebration when completed.
Then we tried out the Water Maze, which appears deceptively simple but only has one safe path to the centre avoiding the water obstacles. No pictures of this one as unfortunately Mia managed to fall in and I was busy attending to her. She only went in up to her knees, and she wasn't hurt, but she was pretty cross about it. I'm prepared for most eventualities but unfortunately today a need for spare shoes wasn't one of them, fortunately she was happy to spend the rest of the afternoon sploshing about in soggy ones! Harry loved the Water Maze though and went round and round it several times! It was also quite amusing to watch groups of students getting soaked.
The gardens are beautiful and what I remember most from our previous visit. There is a lovely lake and an Italian garden filled with sculptures. There are also plenty of places where you can eat a picnic on a sunny day. There is lots to occupy children, like The Tower Maze which is an adventure playground in itself, with ladders and rope walks leading up to a huge slide.
There's a smaller playground too, and Mia was also desperate for a turn on this swing. She waited patiently for her turn for ages before deciding after a couple of pushes that it wasn't for her - typical toddler! They both also enjoyed an indoor exhibition of miniature model houses, large dolls houses decorated in different historical styles.
At £15.50 for an adult and £8.70 for a child (you can pay slightly less to just visit the gardens) Hever Castle isn't particularly cheap to visit, but if you can manage it with vouchers like we did then it's a great place to visit with the family.