Eastnor Castle review

A family day out combining history, nature and lots of play! Eastnor Castle is a 19th century castle set just beyond the border in Ledbury, but it’s certainly worth the journey for a delightful day in the great British outdoors.

Eastnor Castle was a wonderful family day out just beyond the border
Eastnor Castle was a wonderful family day out just beyond the border

In a nutshell

This charming venue makes a perfect day out for families; combining culture, outdoor adventure and stunning scenery. The on-site maze is ideal for energetic little ones, while walkers and four-legged friends will enjoy the scenic walking routes around the castle’s serene lake.

The review

Family fun

The Knights Maze at Eastnor Castle

Arriving at Eastnor Castle, our two-year-old could seemingly smell the fun that was in store, making a beeline for the castle’s maze and junior assault course. Located to the left of the attraction’s entrance, the course included a number of climbing obstacles and wobbly bridges; somewhat reminiscent of Lara Croft’s garden (if anyone remembers the original Tomb Raider games!)

The obstacles surrounded what was, by far, the best maze I have ever got lost in. Be warned, there is a shortcut to the centre which is only accessible to small people – keep them close if you don’t want to be separated by rows of eight-foot hedges! We had a wonderful time finding the mini castle in the centre and enjoyed a laugh with other visitors who we kept bumping into on our search for the exit.

In addition to this family-friendly area, there’s also a woodland play area, a route of rope-swings tied to trees around the castle’s grounds, and a wonderful adventure playground. Located near to the main castle and tea rooms, the adventure playground comprised of an old Land Rover for children to ‘drive’, a climb-on motorbike and tractor, zip wire, tyre swing, mini castle, slide and treetop rope bridges. We spent around 40 minutes enjoying the facilities here, before making our way to Eastnor’s ice cream parlour for a delicious treat!

Living history

Inside the majestic 19th century castle are opulent rooms filled with decadent furniture, alongside artefacts and artwork of historical significance. Guests can explore bedrooms, the drawing room and even the billiard room – we felt very Cluedo!

Upon entry, we were welcomed via a video from the castle’s owner James Hervey-Bathurst, who still lives in the castle along with his family. We discovered that guests can even book a stay at Eastnor, in a suite with views over the lake.

Plenty of volunteers are on hand to talk through the fascinating items and history behind each room; our favourite featured a Steinway grand piano, where ornate tapestries bedecked the walls.

If travelling with older children or as a couple, we could have spent over an hour exploring this stunning space; made even more charming by family photos of the Hervey-Bathhurst family, reminding you that the castle is still a much-loved family home.

A lakeside stroll

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These views are simply breathtaking. Having seen images online of Eastnor’s lake, we set off on a trek to find it and were not disappointed. We discovered lots of fish, ducks and mini-beasts on our journey, and even came across a man who’d set up a tent, perfectly poised for a day of fishing.

There are plenty of walking routes around Eastnor’s grounds – the Arboretum, Tree Trail, Tree Hunters Trek and Lakeside Walk. Disabled guests or those using pushchairs might find some of the routes harder to navigate, but with so many different routes to choose from, all guests will be able to enjoy magnificent views.

SoGlos loves

If you’re spending the whole day at Eastnor Castle, there’s a lovely tea room on site. The Old Kitchen Tea Room offers an array of light lunches, homemade cakes, and hot and cold drinks. It’s also right next to the ice cream parlour, which stocked a number of flavours. We recommend the rum and raisin!

Top tip

Although Eastnor Castle is only open on certain days between Easter and September, there are often additional events included in the price of admission.

During our visit, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust was offering educational games and crafts on the castle’s Valley Lawn. Other events include SOS day where local emergency services provide displays; Wizardry and Magic workshops; and Knights and Princesses School, described as medieval mayhem for children.

Make sure you check the events calendar on Eastnor Castle’s website, to ensure you get the most from your visit.

What next?

For more information, see Eastnor Castle, call (01531) 633160 or visit eastnorcastle.com directly.

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