Review: Jousting at Hever Castle

As he dozed off in the car, the three year old’s eyelids drooped and his mind began to drift… Fire breathing dragons; knights in shining armour; and kings & queens from days of yore danced around his head. One of his favourite games, of late, involved him at the centre, as Sir Brave, defeating baddies and rescuing princesses (dutifully played by little brother).

But, in spite of his vivid imagination, he could never have dreamt that he was soon to wake up in the middle of a field, in 16th century England; come face to face with King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn; and witness a fiercely contested jousting competition… But that’s the magic of Hever for you, and all this little boy’s dreams came true on Saturday afternoon, as their jousting season began in earnest.

“Sir Brave! Sir Brave! You’re needed by the King!” Mummy whispered urgently in his ear. Eyes wide open, Sir Brave was ready for action! “The King?” Sir Brave asked, his eyes blinking in the sunlight, “I’m coming!”

And so off we set, across the grounds, to greet King Henry, Anne Boleyn and their entourage at the entrance to the castle, while Daddy and little brother went straight to the events field to grab a good spot and apply copious amounts of sun cream.

When we arrived at the castle to find the Knights on horseback in full regalia, I thought Sir Brave might actually faint with excitement but, true to his name, he bravely approached each one for a thorough inspection, although he made sure he didn’t get too close…

We only had a few minutes to wait before King Henry VIII made his grand entrance from the castle, accompanied by his queen, Anne Boleyn (who had grown up at Hever), and then followed in procession to the Events Field, where the jousting would be held.

There followed a wonderful afternoon of family entertainment, starring Knights at the tilt, Squires doubling as Jesters and a great deal of high drama, slapstick comedy and all-round good fun, brought to us by the Knights of Royal England. The boys were mesmerised – even the little one who, at just nine months, had no idea what was going on – and couldn’t take their eyes off the action!

We left the jousting field with Sir Brave sporting a shiny new helmet and foam sword and a discernible spring in his step. The day had been a reward for potty training successes and was a huge hit! We also took home a model knight and a horse, which he’s named Sir King Henry &, the horse, Anne Boleyn (his choice, not mine).

On our way back home, filled with both ice cream and admiration in equal measures, Sir Brave couldn’t stop smiling. “Did you enjoy yourself today?” we asked him. “Yes!! Can we go again tomorrow?” he asked hopefully. “Not tomorrow, darling, but soon…” In fact, Hever, you’re about to see a whole lot more of us this summer. And I, for one, can’t wait!


Ticket Prices:

Our annual membership gives us unlimited access to the house & gardens year-round for just £39.20 pp (under 5s go free).  Annual members also get 10% discount in the gift shop and restaurant.

Jousting takes place throughout the summer, on the following dates:

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th July 2016

Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th July 2016 (Medieval Weekend)

Saturday 30th & Sunday 31st July 2016

Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th August 2016

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st August 2016

Friday 26th, Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th & Monday 29th August 2016

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