After I spent a busy day trying to sort out school applications for the kids, which involved errand running and train rides and paperwork I really wanted to get out of the city. I’ll write more about school hunting when I have more energy. even just thinking about it makes me tired.
I looked through the guidebook I stole from my parent’s massive guide book library the night before we left, and found Hever Castle. I sold it to Richard and he figured out which trains to take and when. (Each day we get a little better at this.)
The journey altogether took almost two hours, but that’s partly because we missed our train and took a lunch break in East Croydon.
When we got off at the station it was hard to imagine there was anything worth seeing nearby. It was soooo quiet. The station felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. So we walked the back roads to the village and found the castle.
Just an old country cottage. Wouldn’t it be lovely?
This is the gatehouse. The original gatehouse was built in 1210A.D. Pretty impressive. I’m guessing it has been restored a bit.
Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII. But after she was executed it became the King’s, which he then apparently gifted to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, as part of their divorce settlement.
It is a double moated castle, This is the inner moat, which makes a perfect rectangle around the castle, and includes a drawbridge and everything.
This is the outer moat. It was covered in lily pads that had beautiful flowers.
This was a Yew maze. It was the highlight for the kids, that is until we discovered the water maze.
This was a water maze. It was so hilarious! If you step on certain stones water comes shooting out in front of you or behind you. I was just sitting on a bench watching everyone, no one knew the way it worked, and the first time Richard and Simon got sprayed I totally cracked up laughing. Then I was a horrible person and sat there and watched other unsuspecting people get sprayed. (Richard was much more polite and tried to warn people first.) The kids loved it though. They did it over and over and learned where to dodge the water, or where to run right through it and deliberately get soaked, because that’s how kids are.
Richard rescues Simon from the water whilst I laugh heartily.
This is SImon throwing a fit when Richard said it was time to go.
There was a lot of really fascinating history about King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and his other wives. There was some pretty messed up relationships going on. I guess that’s nothing new to history and present, but it was scandalous all the same. Throughout the castle there were letters back and forth from Anne and Henry. She was ultimately executed for alleged infidelity but there is speculation that it was really because she wasn’t producing him a male heir. Her last letter to him, in which she tries to convince him of her innocence and plead for her life, was really painful to read.
It was a really fun day trip. The countryside was just as beautiful and charming as I imagined it. But by the end the kids were kind of driving us crazy and we were all really hungry so we made a quick stop to eat. We ate at an “American” place called Morley’s. It was hamburgers and fried chicken. Pretty gross actually. But there were a couple 20-something girls eating by us and one of them said to me “Are you American? Your language and accent is so beautiful.” I had to bite my lip not to laugh. It’s all about perspective I guess.