28 December 2009 (Monday) - Hever Castle

Over breakfast I worked out our route to Hever Castle. The RAC Route Planner, and Google Maps gave rather different directions. My gut feeling agreed with Google, but we let the final choice be made by the scrat-nav. It took the route that Google Maps had come up with. Which was only to be expected. I can remember an incident featuring a broken down car awaiting pickup in Cheriton High Street. The RAC patrol drove the length of the A21 being unable to find Folkestone (!)

Usually whenever I plan anything, I tend to email everyone with my plans, but it was only when half way there that we realised both ‘er indoors TM and I had assumed the other had emailed everyone. If any of my loyal readers would have liked to have come along today, I can only apologize. My bad.

Only slipping once on black ice, we met up in the car park at Hever and made our way in. The freezing weather had deterred most of the normal people, and once we’d been back to the cars a few times for hats, coats, gloves, and stuff, we set out round the grounds. There was a lovely “Keep off the Grass” sign. My standing behind it would make for an excellent photo, but I got caught by the nice lady, who told me off. Woops(!) We then tested the thickness of the ice on various ponds, streams, moats and rivers before finding the water maze. This too was frozen over, which made navigating the thing somewhat easier.

And then to the inside of the castle. Which was rather like the inside of most castles, really. Lots of paintings of dead dudes. There were several suits of armour, all of which seriously encased all of the body in metal, except for one vital area. Not one of the armours covered the “flowers and frolics”. In fact, all had a gaping hole where such defence might be expected. Shocking, really (!)

We then spent some time winding up the normal people by pointing out our relatives in the photos. Some of the American tourists seemed to believe us. Bless them. I must admit to a wry smile over the “posh family”. “Papa” and “Tarquin” strolled arrogantly into the castle, loudly wondering (in a very toffee-nosed accent) where “Mama” and “Rufus” were. “Mama” eventually showed up, pushing “Rufus” in a most decrepit push chair. None of the wheels matched, “Mama” was grumbling that the wheels kept sticking, and as she extracted “Rufus” from the thing, a screw fell out, and the whole contraption collapsed. I didn’t actually laugh out loud, but it was close.

On the way back to the car a passing child warned us about the volcanoes, and that we should look out for the lava. I think I must have missed those. All things considered, a good day out. You can see the photos of the day here. The only thing I’ll say against Hever Castle is the cost. Twelve quid per person is just the teensiest bit far too much. By the time you’ve paid out for their incredibly over-priced souvenirs you can end up seriously out of pocket.

And then for a spot of lunch. I’d asked the regulars contributors to the “Beer in the Evening” website for recommendations for a decent pub in the area, and I had four places suggested. We chose this place, and for the food, it’s up there with the best of pubs. The ale choice was a tad limited. They had two - Larkin’s “Traditional” isn’t a beer I’ve seen anywhere else, but everyone sells Harvey’s Best. I’ll score the place 7/10 – above average.

And as we had an hour before dark we had a look around Tunbridge Wells. Somewhere I’ve not been since a weekend’s holiday with the Boys Brigade in 1975. It’s quite a good place to go – I’d like to go back and spend a bit more time in some of the more weird and wonderful shops. We’ll do that next time.

And then home to find “My Boy TM ” sulking. For Xmas he’d received some expensive end tackle (a piscatorial term) and had been on a night fishing expedition to try it out. Overnight the pond froze over, and he had to wait for the ice to melt to be able to retrieve his apparatus. Oh, how I laughed…

1 comment:

  1. Tunbridge Wells sounds good. I don't think I have ever been there....and I love weird and wonderful shops.
    I think Leeds Castle has the right idea. It does seem expensive until they tell you that you can visit as many times as you like over the next year with the ticket they give you. Bargain if you don't live in the States and could get there again. I gave my ticket to Donna. Hopefully, she will get some use out of it.