Our young sons have been OBSESSED with knights and castles since visiting Heber Castle to see a joust last summer. Though I consider our house to be full of new ideas, our little ones love a good repeat. So, I can't count the number of times they've hosted a joust or good [foam] sword fight. So, imagine their delight when we visited the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace where all the props for a great role-play are in place.
There are changing tents (just like the ones in the Usborne Castles lift the flap book), a gigantic dinosaur trim trail/climbing structure, dramatic hillsides for rolling and sliding, lookout towers...the list goes on. It's just the sort of place to make imaginations get carried away.
Like most wonderful hidden gems, the masses quickly catch on and things get a bit crowded. So it was during our visit during the first week of summer break (late July). We entered at 11am, but quickly left as it was impossible to keep up with one another given the crowd [we later learned 1000 people had entered within a half hour of our first visit]. So, we quickly left the Magic Garden quickly and opted to, instead, visit the maze, palace and take a carriage ride around the garden. The staff were lovely and answered all our questions with kindness and grace.
We found that 15:00 was the perfect time to visit the Magic Garden. By then, it was cooler and the crowds had cleared--making way for more fun.
Though Hever is a tough Castle to beat, we think Hampton Court's Magic Garden may just push it ahead in our ranks...hard choice.
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