Christmas Trail 2023

November 06 2023 | Attractions Castle Garden

Visitors can enjoy another story from the Festive Forest for 2023 and explore the charming ‘Lost in the Festive Forest’ Christmas Trail with Red the Squirrel.

Discover the story of Ted, the forgetful old bear who has lost his way in the Festive Forest.

The annual trail is part of Christmas at Hever Castle which also includes a lights experience and beautifully decorated rooms in the Castle.

The original theme and storyline has been created by Hever Castle’s Design Manager Caz Pagden.

Explore the charming ‘Lost in the Festive Forest’ trail with Red the Squirrel and discover the story of Ted the lost Bear who Red helps to find his way home.

Visitors can see the animals in their habitats and houses along the trail with the story featuring Red the Squirrel, Ted and his friends including Shrew, Beaver, Fox and Mole.

The captivating handcrafted bespoke displays on the Christmas Trail includes a visit to Mr Stitch the Shrew in his beautiful Tudor style tailor shop, Patrick Mole star spotting in the observatory, Woody the Beaver toasting marshmallows around a campfire and Ted being guided home by Red.

On selected dates visitors can meet characters from the Festive Forest in the grounds of Hever Castle.

All the animals and props on the trail have been made specifically for the trail and Caz spends weeks creating each piece.

She says: “Each animal is unique, and I work hard to make sure they all have a personality and a character of their own. I start with an initial sketch and then redraw it a few times from different angles and then I sculpt it out of clay. I spend a long time making sure that the habitats look convincing and fit right in with the gardens, like they’ve always been there.

“I spend all year working on Christmas as an ongoing project in between designing signage, illustrations for different handouts, different themed trails for throughout the year (Halloween, Easter, Nature trails etc) and lots of other creative inputs on projects here at Hever.”

A variety of materials is used to create the different elements of the festive trail and the theme is designed to be expanded upon every year so that more props and creations can be reused, making it even more environmentally friendly.

Caz adds: “By continuing the festive forest theme, it has allowed me to refurbish and embellish props from last year’s event, reducing the need for new materials and lower wastage. This is much more sustainable than starting the prop making process from scratch year on year. And visitors get to see their favourite characters again in different scenes.”

The inspiration for this year’s story is compassion to others in need.

“Each character throughout the story offers one small gesture which helps Ted find his way home. Small acts of kindness can add up to making a huge difference in someone’s life”, says Caz.

She spends two weeks installing the trail in the grounds and challenges include the fact it needs to look good both in the daytime and at night and last outside for a month and a half.

But it is rewarding to see people enjoy it: “I often walk around the trail and listen to the families enjoying their experience and hearing their excitement and awe when they see things that I hide for people to spot. It’s a great feeling knowing that all the work that goes into it is enjoyed by so many people.”

The festive trail is included in the admission price for Christmas at Hever Castle. Check availability and book tickets here.