Grotto sessions are pre-set to start 30 minutes after your arrival time at the gardens unless specified. Tickets for adults for the gardens must also be purchased.
This Christmas at Hever Castle become Peter Pan and chase your shadow through Neverland to experience the wonders of never growing old.
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like a visit to Father Christmas at Hever Castle. Travel through the land of Christmas, meet cheerful elves and wander through along the paths until you get to Father’s Christmas’ toy workshop to meet the big man himself! This experience is in a tent, a covered but open staged setting. Children will receive an age appropriate gift.
Outside in the grounds, take a magical journey along the immersive Christmas trail. Follow the one-way system and start your voyage in London in the nursery. Then, ‘fly high’ above the City streets into space and follow the directions to Neverland - second star to the right and straight on till morning. Discover where Peter’s friends The Lost Boys live, visit the Mermaid Lagoon, the Native American camp and be wary when you tiptoe past the Crocodile with his ticking clock and Captain Hook’s pirate ship at the dock. As the trail finishes, spot Nana the dog in her kennel.
After you have explored the captivating displays, meet characters from Peter Pan (Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Wendy and Mr Smee) as you wander through the gardens. In front of the Castle, ride the carousel (£1 – card only) and enjoy vintage fairground stalls including a coconut shy and hoopla (£1 – card only). Appreciate relaxed Christmas shopping in the Gift Shops, and sample delicious festive food in the restaurants and kiosks. The Play Areas will be open. On peak days there will be timed sessions and you may need to queue for your chosen Play Area. Entry is on a first come first served basis.
To enjoy the full experience of Christmas at Hever Castle we recommend you allow enough time for each of the elements of the experience that you wish to include. Attractions, shops and eateries will start closing before the final exit time.
- Father Christmas’ Grotto – 30 minutes
- Christmas Trail 30 - 45 minutes
- Carousel 30 - 45 minutes
- Vintage Fairground Stalls 30 - 45 minutes
- Eating 30 - 45 minutes
- Shopping 30 minutes - 1 hour
- Play Areas 30 minutes
Queuing at many of the attractions will be necessary even when tickets have been pre booked.
Last exit from the gardens is at 20:30 (16:30 on Christmas Eve). Visitors are requested to exit the car park no later than 3.5 hours after your arrival time to enable social distancing.
As much of this experience is outdoors we recommend you wrap up warm and pop on your wellies or suitable shoes.
- What’s new/different in 2020?
- What safety measures will be in place?
- Access statement
- Father Christmas’ Grotto
- Annual Members
- B&B Guests
What’s new/different in 2020?
- Opening hours – 11:30am – 8:30pm (the exception is Christmas Eve when final exit is 4:30pm). This is to enable more people to experience the after dark illuminations. Daytime tickets (Arrival 11,30am – 2.45pm, last entry 3.00pm) and Twilight tickets (Arrival 4pm – 6.45pm, last entry 7.00pm). Final exit for both Daytime and Twilight tickets is at 8.30pm.
- Pre-booked tickets with arrival times only - To visit this Christmas you will need to book a date and a session time for your arrival (including Annual Members), this must be pre-booked online and is necessary to limit numbers to protect yourself and each other. Please do not arrive before your arrival time as you will be turned away and asked to return later.
Tickets available for 2020:
- Father Christmas’ Grotto & Gardens Tickets
- Castle & Gardens Tickets
- Gardens Only Tickets
Combined Castle, Grotto & Gardens unavailable for 2020
- Pricing – Daytime Tickets (Arrival 11:30am – 2.45pm) and Twilight Tickets (Arrival 4pm – 6.45pm) are priced according to the experience available. Last exit 8:30pm.
- Annual Members – Gardens Only members will need to pay an upgrade for the Castle.
- Christmas Trail – This will be one-way only to enable social distancing. Please take a look at the map before booking and before your visit to help you plan your experience. There will be no characters on the trail this year, instead they will be interacting with visitors around the grounds and the trail will be an immersive experience full of sights and sounds but a no touch area to minimise risk. There will be no ‘snow’ on the trail for 2020. The theme this year is Peter Pan.
- Father Christmas’ Grotto – The waiting area will be under cover but outdoors with ample space to allow for social distancing. Father Christmas will be located in the Grotto marquee, but the setting will be an open staged to workshop, not in a log cabin as in previous years. There will be no ‘snow’ in the Grotto for 2020.
- Castle – We are limiting the numbers in rooms of the Castle and cannot guarantee Castle entry for everyone. Pre-booking and timed entry is also necessary to help reduce queues. Castle entry times are pre-set to start 30 minutes after your arrival time in the gardens. Castle & Gardens tickets are required for this experience. Audio Guides will not be available during the Christmas experience.
- Vintage Fair– You may be asked to remove your gloves whilst enjoying the vintage fairground games, you will need to sanitise your hands before entering the carousel or having a go on the coconut shy and hoopla. Please stick to your bubbles and we will keep you in your own areas on the carousel as much as this allows. Please note this is subject to change.
Purchase your tickets for the Vintage Fair on the day. This will be payable by card only.
- Shopping – The Hever Shop will be open daily 11:30am – 8:00pm (4pm on Christmas Eve) and the Courtyard Shop Weekends and Daily from 9th December.
- Eating & Drinking – There will be a selection of eateries available on site with festive themed food and drink available. More details to follow.
What safety measures will be in place?
When you visit, we will also have safety measures in place. Please respect the rules and guidelines for your own protection and the safety of others. Those that do not follow the guidelines may be approached by staff and may be asked to leave.
Abuse of any kind will not be tolerated.
We promise to keep you feeling safe by:
- Restricting visitor numbers
- Providing a warm welcome at a distance
- Patrolling our site to monitor visitor activity
- Using one way systems to enable social distancing
- Providing additional cleaning of facilities
- Staff will wear face coverings in line with current government guidelines
- Operating a cashless system
What we ask of you in return to show you care:
- Book an arrival time online
- Adhere to the arrival times that you have been provided for all activities. Do not arrive before your arrival time as you will be turned away and asked to return later.
- Adhere to the ‘rule of six’. Any groups larger than this will be asked to disperse unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6.
- Keep two metres away from other visitors
- Follow the one-way systems in the grounds
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds after using facilities
- Use hand sanitiser when necessary
- Take your litter home with you
- Wear a face covering in indoor spaces - the Hever Shop, the Moat Restaurant, Guthrie Pavilion and Castle (usual exemptions apply)
Christmas access statement
- All tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable unless the event is cancelled or covered by any refund protection purchased (see T&Cs).
- All members of your party require admission tickets.
- Tickets must be pre booked online.
- Tickets for children cannot be purchased alone. At least one adult must be included in your party.
- Tickets will remain in your basket for 15 mins for you to complete your purchase. After this time they will automatically go back on sale.
- Please note your booking reference when it appears on the screen. If you do not receive an email confirmation please read our Christmas FAQs for further instructions.
- Always check details before travelling. Hever Castle reserves the right to close all or part of the Castle, grounds, catering outlets and activities, and to change or cancel events.
- Tesco Clubcard Vouchers, RHS, Historic Houses, Visit Kent 2-for 1 and Gardeners’ World offers are not valid during the Christmas event.
Father Christmas’ Grotto
- Pre booking is essential.
- Children visiting the Grotto require tickets for Father Christmas & Gardens. All adults require Gardens Only tickets.
- Only 2 adults per group in the grotto (maximum 5 persons per group).
- We will ask the name of each child to make the experience as special as possible.
- The age range for the ticket selected will determine the age appropriate gift.
- Your Grotto booking time is the time you are required to arrive at the Grotto, not your booked time with Father Christmas, which is allocated when you arrive at the Grotto. Please do not arrive at the Grotto before your booking time as you may be turned away to allow for social distancing.
- You should arrive in the gardens 30 minutes (unless otherwise specified) before your visit with Father Christmas. If you miss your slot you may be asked to try again later but may risk not being able to see Father Christmas at all.
Daytime Christmas Garden Only admission is free to all Annual Members. For Castle & Gardens Members the Castle is also free. Garden Only Members wishing to visit the Castle will need to pay an upgrade fee (£4 Adults/£2 Children). Twilight Tickets are chargeable but are discounted for Annual Members. Grotto tickets are chargeable. All tickets MUST be prebooked and you will be asked to include your membership number and surname to complete your purchase. You will also need to produce a valid membership card on entry. Failure to provide a valid membership card will mean that you will be charged the full rate prior to your visit or on entry. From the 28th of September until the 7th of October Annual Members are able to book one daytime and one twilight experience. Annual Members cannot book for non members, other than those under 5 years, until the 7th of October.
Standard charges apply to visitors with accessible needs, general admission for carers is free of charge. For carers in your party, please select the Carer ticket as well as your own. Proof of disability will be requested on admission, which may include a Blue Badge, statement of special educational needs from LEA or NHS, or a letter from a medical professional on NHS headed paper. Failure to provide proof will mean that you will be charged the full rate on entry.
B&B Guests staying during the Christmas event
There is no need to book Castle or Gardens tickets, you will be given these on arrival. After making your room reservation you will be sent an email containing details for how to pre-book to visit Father Christmas should you wish to do so.