Christmas at Hever Castle FAQs

Attractions

 

CHRISTMAS 2020

For Christmas Ticket Holders for the period 2 Dec – 24 Dec or those wishing to book for this period, please read the latest update. (02 Dec, 18:30)


Please be aware that we cannot process your booking over the phone. All bookings must go through the website.

The following includes some frequently asked questions about Christmas at Hever Castle.

Before booking, we advise that you read the relevant page and the Important Information provided.

Head to the Christmas pages for full details:

DAYTIME Christmas  TWILIGHT CHRISTMAS

Christmas at Hever Castle FAQs

  1. ANNUAL MEMBERS
  2. CARERS & ACCESSIBLE NEEDS
  3. B&B & MEDLEY COURT GUESTS
  4. COMPLIMENTARY TICKET HOLDERS
  5. BOOKING TICKETS – QUEUEING, CHARGES, ISSUES AND ERRORS
  6. REFUNDS & TRANSFERS
  7. TICKET TYPES
  8. TWILIGHT CHRISTMAS
  9. FATHER CHRISTMAS – PRE-PAID & DROP-IN
  10. OFFERS
  11. OPENING TIMES & PLANNING YOUR VISIT
  12. DOGS
  13. TICKET AVAILABILITY
  14. WHAT IS DIFFERENT DURING LOCKDOWN?
  15. WHAT IS DIFFERENT IN TIER THREE?

1. ANNUAL MEMBERS

Q: When do tickets go on sale to Annual Members?

A: Tickets go on sale on 30 September 2020 at 11am, one week before they go on sale to the general public on the 7 October 2020.

Q: I have just joined as a member or renewed my membership, can I still book online?

A: You will need to wait 24 hours before making your booking online. This is because the new Christmas ticket system that we are using isn’t currently linked to our membership system.

Q: Which tickets are free to Annual Members?

A: Annual Members receive free entry for Daytime arrivals between 11:30 – 14:45 and discounted tickets for Twilight arrivals between 16:00 – 18:45.

This year because of Covid-19, we have had to completely rethink how we operate our Christmas experiences, particularly the Twilight evenings as traditionally all visitors for the evening have arrived at a single time. This is no longer possible and therefore it has been necessary to change our opening hours and to schedule arrival times throughout the day and evenings to make this experience viable and enable social distancing.

Q: I am an Annual Member and want to purchase non-member tickets for friends and family during the member priority booking period.

A: Annual Members cannot book for non-members, other than those under 5 years and carers, until the 7 October 2020.

Q: I am an Annual Member and want to book for more than one date, how do I do this?

A: Each membership number can be used twice before the 7 October. All bookings before 7 October must be for members only or those under 5 and carers. After the 7 October 2020 multiple visits can be booked. Annual Member ticket holders will 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 on entry.

Q: I am an Annual Member wanting to book Father Christmas for a child who is currently 4 years old, but who will turn 5 before our Christmas visit. How do I book this?

A: If you select the under 5 child option at the time of booking they will receive a gift for a child under 5 in the Grotto. Alternatively, take out Annual Membership now for your child, then select the Annual Membership Child 5-17 years option and they will receive a gift for a child over 5 in the Grotto.

2. CARERS & ACCESSIBLE NEEDS

Q: I want to make a booking including a carer

A: 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 type when making your booking. 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.

Q: Is there accessible parking

If you have accessible needs please notify car parkers on arrival and they will direct you to accessible parking or the most suitable location should this already be full.

3. B&B & MEDLEY COURT GUESTS

Q: I have booked to stay at Hever Castle & Gardens during the Christmas experience, how do I book tickets?

A: If you have booked to stay in the luxury Bed and Breakfast or our holiday cottage Medley Court during the Christmas experience then you will be given admission tickets 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 at an additional charge of £12 per child.

4. COMPLIMENTARY TICKET HOLDERS

Q: I have complimentary tickets for Hever Castle & Gardens, can I use these at Christmas and if so how?

A: Complimentary tickets are not valid for the Twilight Christmas experience but you can use them for Daytime Christmas experience. Please select the ‘Complimentary Ticket’ type when making your booking. You will need to produce your physical complimentary tickets with you with their separate unique 4 or 5 digit reference, as you will be required to present these along with your email confirmation. Visitors that do not bring their complimentary tickets will be charged the full rate on entry. Complimentary Tickets cannot be used until the 7 October 2020. Please note that you will need to select a ‘Castle & Gardens’ ticket to gain access to the Castle this Christmas.

5. BOOKING TICKETS – CHARGES, ISSUES AND ERRORS

Q: Why are you using a queueing system?

A: Due to high levels of demand and our limited inventory we need to ensure that there is a fair
process in place for all those who wish to purchase tickets, whilst providing additional
safeguards.

The queuing system provides the following benefits:
• It provides a fair system for allowing purchasers to book tickets. Once you are in the
queue your place is held and no-one can jump in front of you
• It helps manage the number of purchasers on the site at one time so that you have a
seamless buying experience
• It prevents ticket touts and opportunistic buyers from flooding the ticketing system and
buying up all the best tickets before real purchasers have the opportunity

Q: What can I expect while in the queue?

A: Once you enter the queue you will be assigned a queue position. While in the queue you will be told your position and your estimated waiting time. The speed of the queue (and your estimated wait time) might increase or decrease during your wait – this is perfectly normal. While we will try to minimise your time in the queue, your wait time is impacted by the people in the queue in front of you. Things such as how quickly people are completing their purchases or if people who are in front of you decide to leave the queue will impact how quickly you progress through the queue. Once you have reached the front of the queue you will be transferred to the ticketing pages where you can complete your purchase. Please note that if you navigate away from these pages and re-start your journey may have to queue again.

Q: Why is there a booking charge?

This year we have implemented a new ticketing system to improve the visitor experience. This has come at a significant cost but was vital in response to the issues that we have suffered in previous years. It has been necessary to pass on some of these costs to our visitors as many other attractions do with experiences of a similar nature.

Q: I’ve booked my tickets online but haven’t received an email confirmation

If you received a booking reference on screen after payment please email christmastickets@hevercastle.co.uk with your reference number and they will resend your confirmation. Requests will be dealt with on a first come first served basis.

If you haven’t received a booking reference then please email christmastickets@hevercastle.co.uk with your full name and postcode and the approximate time of your booking.

Q: I want to move my booking

A: Tickets are non-transferable. This is highlighted throughout the booking process and in the Important Information which you have to accept before completing your purchase.

Q: I want to cancel my booking and get a refund

A: Tickets are non-transferable. This is highlighted throughout the booking process. If you have purchased Refund Protection During the booking process then you may cancel your booking subject to the terms and conditions that are on your policy confirmation.

Q: I want to buy extra tickets for a date/time that is sold out.

A: It is not possible to buy extra tickets for dates or times that are sold out. Ticket numbers are limited to enable social distancing.

6. REFUNDS & TRANSFERS

Q: What will happen if someone in my booking is required to self isolate due to Covid-19?

A: If have taken out Refund Protection at the time of booking and a member of your immediate family tests positive and you’re required to self-isolate and can evidence this, then your refund will be paid by Booking Protect. In all other cases a refund will not be available.

Q: What will happen if a national lockdown is in place?

A: If the experience is cancelled due to a national lockdown then a refund will be due less any booking fees, donations or refund protection charges incurred. You will be notified by email of a cancellation and you will be notified by email when your refund has been made.

Q: What will happen if a local lockdown is in place?

A: If the local lockdown is for the area in which Hever Castle resides and the experience cannot go ahead as planned, then a refund will be due less any booking fees, donations or refund protection charges incurred. You will be notified by email of a cancellation and you will be notified by email when your refund has been made.

If the local lockdown is outside of the area in which Hever Castle resides and the experience can go ahead as planned, then a refund will not be available.

Q:  What will happen if the weather is bad? Will the experience be cancelled?

A: If  Hever Castle determines that the weather on site presents a hazard and a risk to safety and a decision is made to cancel the experience, you will be notified by email of a cancellation and you will be informed of the re-booking process if this is feasible. If an alternative date cannot be offered or attended then a refund will be considered on a case by case basis. Any refunds will be less any booking fees, donations or refund protection charges incurred.

Q: I have booked for the wrong day – can I transfer over to another day?

A: No, we are unable to offer exchanged or refunds once tickets have been purchased. It is noted on the website and at the point of booking that you need to make sure that you have chosen the right date and time slot at the time of making your booking.

Q: I have lost my ticket, what can I do?

A: If your tickets are lost or if you require your E-Tickets to be re-sent to you, please email christmastickets@hevercastle.co.uk with your reference number or surname and postcode and they will resend your confirmation. Requests will be dealt with on a first come first served basis.

7. TICKET TYPES

Q: With my ticket, do I get entry to both the Castle and Gardens?

A: Not unless you have pre-booked Castle & Gardens Tickets and this is listed on your booking confirmation. This year Castle tickets are limited to enable social distancing.

Q: Why can I not book for the Castle and the Grotto in one visit this Christmas?

A: Annual Members can book two experiences per membership during the Annual Member priority booking window, this will be increased after tickets go on general release.

In these difficult times it has been necessary to limit entry and tickets to our indoor Christmas experiences, the Castle and the Grotto. This has been essential to enable social distancing and stay Covid secure.  So that a greater number of our visitors/members can enjoy more than the Christmas grounds experience, we have decided to limit pre-booked indoor experiences to Castle or Grotto. Visitors/members should therefore choose the experience that is most important to them.

Q: Why do you only offer adult and child tickets at Christmas?

A: During our Christmas experience we are unable to offer concession or family tickets due to the additional expenses and resources that the Christmas experience requires.

8. TWILIGHT CHRISTMAS

Q: What is the difference between the Daytime and Twilight experiences?

A: Those booking for Twilight Christmas will enjoy the experience at night with the castle and gardens illuminated from 4pm – 8.30pm. Visitors attending the daytime experience must be in the grounds by 3pm latest.

Q: If I have booked for the Daytime experience, can I stay for the Twilight experience?

A: Yes, this year those booking Daytime arrival times are welcome to stay but must arrive at their allotted arrival time into the grounds and we request that you leave after 3.5 hours to enable social distancing. Last exit for day visitors is 6.30pm. Visitors cannot leave the grounds to return later unless they have another booking. If you miss your slot you may be asked to try again later but may risk not being able to enter the grounds at all.

9. FATHER CHRISTMAS – PRE-PAID & DROP-IN

Q: Can children who are not booked in to see Father Christmas enter the grotto?

A: If no one in your party is booked to see Father Christmas then you cannot enter the grotto.

If there are other children in your party visiting Father Christmas, children who are not booked to see Father Christmas can enter the grotto if the maximum number of guests in your party does not exceed 5 people. This is to avoid overcrowding.

Q: I want to book Father Christmas for a child who is currently 4 years old, but who will turn 5 before our Christmas visit. How do I book this?

A: If you select the under 5 child option at the time of booking they will receive a gift for a child under 5 in the Grotto. Alternatively, select Child 5-17 years option and they will receive a gift for a child over 5 in the Grotto.

Q: Can I bring my dog into the Grotto?

A: We do not allow dogs in the Grotto unless it is an Assistance Dog.

Q: Can I take my own photos in the Grotto?

A: Yes, you are able to take your own photos. You will need to keep your face coverings on for the duration of your visit within the Grotto. (Exemptions apply). Please also remember to remain socially distanced from Father Christmas.

10. OFFERS

Q: Can I use Tesco Clubcard Vouchers for Christmas experiences?

A: Tesco Clubcard Vouchers are not valid during the Christmas period. This is advertised on the Tesco website, on our website on the partner offer page and on the Christmas pages.

Q: Can I use my RHS Membership for Christmas experience?

A: RHS Membership cards are not valid during the Christmas period. This is advertised on the RHS website, in their leaflets/booklet and on our website on the partner offer page and on the Christmas pages.

Q: Can I use my Gardeners’ World 2 for 1 Card for Christmas experiences?

A: Gardeners’ World 2 for 1 cards are not valid during the Christmas period. This is advertised on their website, in their leaflets/booklet and on our website on the partner offer page and on the Christmas pages.

Q: Can I use my Historic Houses Membership for Christmas experiences?

A: Historic Houses Membership cards are not valid during the Christmas period. This is advertised on their website, in their leaflets/booklet and on our website on the partner offer page and on the Christmas pages.

Q: Can I use the Visit Kent 2-for-1 offer for Christmas experience?

A: The Visit Kent 2-for-1 offer is not valid during the Christmas period. This is advertised on their website, in their leaflets/booklet and on our website on the partner offer page and on the Christmas pages.

11.OPENING TIMES & PLANNING YOUR VISIT

Q: Why have your opening times changed?

A: This year because of Covid-19, we have had to completely rethink how we operate our Christmas experiences, particularly the Twilight evenings as traditionally all visitors for the evening have arrived at a single time. This is no longer possible and therefore it has been necessary to change our opening hours and to schedule arrival times throughout the day and evenings to make this experience viable and enable social distancing.

Our opening hours for the period 21st Nov – 6th Dec (Wed – Sun) 9th Dec – 24th Dec (Daily) will be 11:30 – 20:30.

Annual Members receive free entry for Daytime arrivals between 11:30 – 14:45 and discounted tickets for Twilight arrivals between 16:00 – 18:45.

Q: How long should we allow for our visit?

A: To enjoy the full experience of Christmas at Hever Castle we recommend you allow enough time for each all the elements of the experience that you wish to include. Attractions, shops and eateries will start closing before the final exit time.

  • Christmas Trail 30 – 45 minutes
  • Carousel 30 – 45 minutes
  • Vintage Fairground Stalls 30 – 45 minutes
  • Eating 30 – 45 minutes
  • Shopping 30 minutes
  • Christmas Illuminations – 45 minutes – 1 hour to walk the whole grounds that will be lit (from 4pm)
  • Castle – 30 – 45 minutes (pre-booking essential)
  • Grotto – 30 minutes from arrival at the setting (pre-booking essential)
    Queues are possible at all attractions, eateries and shops even when tickets have been pre booked
    Visitors are requested to exit the car park no later than 3.5 hours after your arrival time to enable social distancing.

Q: What are the opening times?

A: 11:30 – 20:30

Daytime Arrival Times 11:30 – 14:45 (Last Exit 18:15)

Twilight Arrival Times 16:00 – 18:45 (Last Exit 20:00)

CHRISTMAS EVE – If your booking is for the 24 December, final entry to the grounds is at 15:00 and final exit 16:30. Castle last entry is 15:15 and final exit 16:00. Last entry for Father Christmas is at 15:45 and final exit 16:00.

Q: I’m meeting friends and family. How can I make sure we all meet up together?

Firstly, please ensure your meeting adheres to current government guidelines, as anyone failing to comply will be asked to leave. Please note that there is more than one car park. On arrival you will be met by staff to guide you to the car park that is open for use. If you have accessible needs, please notify a member of staff. If you are meeting friends and family unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that you will be located in the same car park. Please make sure that all members of your party have a copy of your booking reference. Should you arrive at different car parks you can then access through different entrances and meet at an agreed location.

12.DOGS

We welcome dogs in the grounds, both during the day and for the twilight experience, as long as they’re kept on a lead at all times. With the exception of assistance dogs, dogs are not allowed inside the Grotto, cafés, restaurants, shops Castle or Adventure Playground. There is a stand where dogs can be tied and left in the Castle Courtyard if you wish to visit the castle, but this is not supervised and they are left at your own risk.

13.TICKET AVAILABILITY

The latest ticket availability can be found here. This is updated daily.

13.WHAT IS DIFFERENT DURING LOCKDOWN?

The latest changes for ticket holders for the period 21 Nov – 2 Dec can be found here.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT IN TIER 3?

The latest changes for ticket holders for the period 2 – 24 Dec can be found here.


Usual FAQs apply and can be found here.

If your question is not answered above please email christmastickets@hevercastle.co.uk with your query. If you already have a booking reference please include this in your email. All emails will be dealt with on a first come first served basis.

Latest News