Our Month - July 2020


Can you believe that July is over and schools are officially out for summer already? After the slow repetitive days of lockdown I really feel as if time is on fast forward now and July went by in a flash. The littles broke up from school on the 20th (after only going back at the beginning of June), with glowing school reports and a few sad goodbyes. Thankfully they are both really excited about going back in September already though, to meet their new teachers and *hopefully* have their whole classes back together again!

But as schools closed for the summer so many more lockdown restrictions were lifted, opening up parks, theme parks, restaurants, hairdressers and more. Before we got the all clear for these openings I was really worried about how the summer holidays would be - especially having 3 young children and being unable to drive. But now life really does seem a lot more 'normal' for everyone. We really made the most of this change, visiting the park nearly every day since and even having our first family meal out since the very beginning of the year!

The new changes meant we could spend more time with family and friends too, so we spent a lot of July enjoying well needed catch ups and playdates with friends. Not only did this make a huge difference to the littles, but it really made me realise how much I missed coffee mornings with the school mums and having other human contact outside of our family.

With that in mind though, we did have some really lovely family days out in July too. We went on our annual strawberry picking trip, this time visiting a new farm called Lower Ladysden in Goudhurst which was fantastic. Towards the end of the month we visited Hever Castle for a full day of fun in the sun, and also enjoyed a beautiful evening at the seaside as an end of school treat. I finally picked up a new bike for Indie so we have enjoyed bike / scooter rides, parks trips and just time in the garden during the mini heatwave.

Every year I share our summer bucket list so of course this year was no different. We've already managed to tick off a few as Jack has had some time off, but we're hoping to complete the rest over the next 4 weeks. One we're all the most excited about is heading to a theme park - made all the more exciting as we finally took the plunge and purchased Merlin Annual Passes in July too. August is definitely going to be an exciting one!

A Summer's Day Out at Hever Castle | July 2020


We received Press Tickets in exchange for this review.

Once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Hever Castle is now a fantastic place to visit for a family day out. And living in Kent we are lucky to have it practically on our doorstep, so we were thrilled to be invited along this summer to enjoy just that! Of course with current circumstances there are a few changes in place at Hever at the moment, but we still managed to have a fantastic day out with so much to see and do.

The first big change at Hever Castle right now is having to pre-book your visit to help keep visitor numbers low. This is really simple to do on the website, and requires you to pick a day and then a time slot for you to arrive. As well as this there are well marked one-way systems in place in certain areas, lots of hand sanitiser available to use and enhanced cleaning routines too. Despite this most of the attractions are now open including the castle, gardens, play areas and water maze, shop, restaurants and boat hire.

The last time we visited Hever Castle was during the winter season so it was so lovely to experience Hever in the summer this time. Everywhere you look at Hever is picture perfect whatever time at year, but definitely on a whole other level when in bloom during the summer. We chose a mid-week 10.30am slot and were really surprised at how quiet everywhere was when we arrived. We managed to explore the Rose Garden and the Italian Garden and only see one other family the whole time - such a rare and special experience!

Of course having three children we headed straight for the playgrounds first. Current restrictions in place mean that you have to experience them a little differently now, but they really are a highlight of Hever Castle. The playground has been split into two to minimise numbers and make cleaning easier.

The smaller park (Acorn Dell) features a sandpit, climbing equipment and slide and is more suitable for younger children. The bigger area (Tudor Towers) has a fantastic 9 metre tall wooden play castle as well as other play equipment and even a small cafe serving hot drinks and snacks. You have to queue for which park you want to visit and then groups are given a 30 minute slot to play. Between these slots the park is completely emptied and equipment is cleaned. Of course it's not the same experience and the queues could be long, but I think this is a great system for current circumstances.

The restaurants and food stalls were open during our visit to purchase food, but no summers day out in complete without a picnic in our eyes so we brought our own food. We managed to get a picnic table very easily, but as Hever has so much green space to enjoy it really wouldn't be an issue if you can't. We did treat ourselves to ice creams at the end of the day though which were reasonably priced and super tasty! 

The highlight of our visit was definitely getting to enjoy the water maze. I have such fond memories of the maze myself as a child, so it was extra special to take my three and experience it with them. The water maze has the same system in place as the playgrounds so definitely something to think about if you visit on a really hot day, as I can imagine it could get very very busy! Also make sure to pack swimming costumes / spare clothes as you will get absolutely soaked (especially if you have a child take an extra little dip like we did...oops).

Despite a full day out there were still many areas of Hever we didn't get to enjoy, but that just gives us the perfect excuse to visit again (not that we needed any more convincing). The added changes and restrictions made us feel incredibly safe, and actually it felt like we were just experiencing a 'normal' family day out which was exactly what we needed! I would 100% recommend a visit to Hever Castle whether you're looking for a family day out, history or just simply a beautiful place to explore. Thanks for having us Hever!

Click here to watch our vlog from our visit.