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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

A castle to remember

 It may have been quiet last night, but by 6 am the Monday rush hour had started! The dog walkers also arrived in droves, so maybe not the idyllic place we thought it to be yesterday. Once awake, we made for an early start, although I could have stayed snuggled under the covers for a while longer. It was cold last night. Only got away with not having a frost because the Beeb weather for this area mentioned 2 degrees. And a cold wash was on the cards too. No firing up of the water heater, Ian didn't think it worth it! Anyway, today we would head back to Hever Castle.

I must highly recommend this place, although it's not a cheap outing for non-Historic Houses members, I would have gladly paid the senior price of £20.30 because it was the most amazing place we have been to so far. 

Hever Castle is best known as the place Anne Boleyn resided before her marriage to Henry V111. Click HERE for the full history

The gardens were beautiful, laid out with immaculate stripped lawns and statues adorned each one. I took this excerpt from Hever Castle gardens

Discover magnificent award-winning gardens set in 125 acres of glorious grounds at Hever Castle. Marvel at the Pompeiian Wall and classical statuary in the Italian Garden; admire the giant topiary chess set and inhale the fragrance of over 5,000 rose bushes in the quintessential English Rose Garden.

The Loggia, overlooking the 38-acre lake, is the perfect spot to relax before exploring the many cascades, grottoes and fountains. A stroll through the Tudor Garden, Blue Corner or Rhododendron Walk, provide colour and interest throughout the year.

Wander further afield and enjoy Sunday Walk and Church Gill Walk that follow the course of a stream through peaceful woodland or Anne Boleyn’s Walk, with its impressive collection of trees planted more than 100 years ago.

 The Castle opened its doors at 11.30 am, but to avoid the rush we had an early lunch. Mind you, the rush consisted of a coachload of pensioners and one group of year 2 primary school children, it was the latter that we wanted to avoid.

As an added bonus, (which we found out about on entering the impressive portcullis) was an opportunity to see Ann Boleyn's rooms for an extra £3 each. No contest really, we booked in and as we were ushered into the first room, the guide dropped the bombshell that no photography was allowed. There is to be a grand opening in June, the BBC are filming, and no spoiler alerts were allowed. Very understandable, I suppose.

With an excellent tour from the guide, it was back on track to see the rest of the castle. This time we could take photos....yippee.

It was a long day, I was very glad to get back to MB just to rest my legs. The grounds are extensive and so much we have missed we have vowed to return next year. If we time it to coincide with summer, most of the flowers will be in bloom. Then the gardens will really come into their own.

We stopped at a place called Stairs farm, Hartfield. We recognised it immediately as we drove in, having stayed here before back in 2022. It has electric hookup, goody we can keep the heating on tonight and with water on tap, I can have that long awaited shower.  

And wildlife today

Not seen a black bee before


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

I remember we went to Hever Castle when we were living in Bromley back in 2004. It was very impressive.

We know the struggles of no heating on cold mornings! We were on a site without power a few nights ago and I don't like having the gas heating on overnight as it starts and stops and makes a noise each time - and wakes me. So we woke to a 2 degree morning. Lovely and snuggly warm in bed (David is a good hotwater bottle and two feather comforters are very effective). But it was frizzy freezing getting up for a pee and to put the kettle on...
Last night we kept the heating at 12 deg - wussy stuff I reckon...


Anonymous said...

Agree the Castle, timber frame house are wonderful and sit beautifully in the grounds.
I don't usually like 'manicured' gardens but this is imaginatively done, esecially like the 'chess set'
The Black Bee is interesting, I tried looking it up, but couldn't find the same one.
maybe someone else will know.
Thank you, I really enjoyed perusing your lovely pics.
Ann xx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

The heating stays off overnight, and as you quite rightly said, much too noisy. I wear a thermal vest under the PJs and, what with the extra blanket, helps to keep out the cold. Unfortunately, these cold conditions are set to continue, not what we expect for this time of year.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

I, too, looked up that bee and found nothing about it. Baffling and now I'm wondering if it's not a bee at all.


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