Last Thursday, Year 8 Emanuel pupils and 12 Year 6 pupils from Westbridge Primary School were treated with a trip to Hever Castle in Kent. This was a History-based experience for our pupils, with the Westbridge Primary pupils invited as part of our Battersea Rise Trust community partnerships programme.

Soon after we arrived, we were led on a guided tour through the castle, crossing a moat in which ducklings were paddling and Koi fish swimming before entering the castle itself. We learnt about some of the previous owners, including the Boleyn family whose daughter Anne was wed to Henry VIII . We saw many colourful Tudor tapestries and even some instruments of torture!

One of the castle’s owners includes the American millionaire William Waldorf Astor. He had a 38-acre lake constructed which took 800 men two years to dig and a stunning Italian Garden, which he added in the early 1900s. It was filled with thousands of rose plants of all colours as well as original sculptures imported from Rome and Pompei and was lovely next to the beautiful man-made lake.

My favourite activity of the day was navigating the water maze – a pond topped with panels rigged to splash water when stepped on. It was great fun but did leave us soaking wet.

We finished off the morning with lunch and ice cream before a quick stop at the adventure playground before heading back to Emanuel.

Sara Foster (Year 8)

Continue reading below to find out what some of the Westbridge Primary pupils thought of the experience.

Pupils from Westbridge Primary School with Emanuel's own Mr Keddie

Including Westbridge Primary children on the Hever trip is one of the many initiatives we have planned as part of the Battersea Rise Trust’s community partnership programme. If you are interested in finding out more about our activities, have time and talents to share, we would love to hear from you. Find out more about what some of the Westbridge Primary pupils thought about the Hever experience below.

– Lisa Irwin (Partnerships Coordinator)

“We are writing to let you know how much we appreciate you giving us the opportunity to experience the fantastic activities at Hever Castle: playing in the adventure playground; exploring the maze and overall having fun. As soon as we met you, there was instantly a positive atmosphere and I felt as if I was in safe hands. On the bus you catered to all of our needs by making sure we were all entertained, hydrated and comfortable (…) Overall it was a marvellous day. We are all so thankful for the opportunities given to us.”

– Stevie and Stevoney

“The reason we are choosing to write to you is to express our indebtedness towards allowing us to accompany you on your Year 8 students to Hever Castle; arranging a minibus; giving us £5 spending money and allowing us to receive the opportunity to learn more about our Tudor history… arriving and being assigned to our group, we initially felt apprehensive. However, once being approached by our leaders (Freddie and Isabel), we instantly felt more included as they introduced us to more people in the form (…) we are dearly grateful to have such knowledgeable, engaging and funny buddies to guide us around Hever Castle – we wouldn’t ask for anyone else.”

– Zoe and Gbemi

“As we approached the front of the castle, we were introduced to some Year 8 girls. At first we felt a little bit shy but after a while all the girls talked to us and made us feel better. While we were being toured around the castle a lot of the Year 8s were telling us facts about Henry VIII and his wives that we never knew before (…) we really appreciate the invitation to this spectacular trip – it was the best trip ever!”

– Daisy and Majida

“We are writing to thank you for the amazing trip (…) our most interesting fact was learning more about Henry VIII’s wives. We were fascinated with the tapestry as this was so detailed – there was so much going on in it. (…) This was a thoroughly fulfilling day. We were glad that we made friends and had the opportunity to attend this amazing trip as we learnt so much.”

– Rihanna and Liyah

“We are writing to thank you for giving our Year 6 class an opportunity to experience the wonderful activities at Hever Castle (…) we really enjoyed being in the environment full of fresh grass and crystal blue water (…) [and] when everyone had a big picnic with sandwiches and crisps provided by you, which was amazingly thoughtful. We felt really comfortable and at ease with our partners (Seb and Elisa) – they really included us and made us part of the group. They made me feel special and happy. It is unexplainable to say in words how appreciative we all are. This was one of the best experiences ever!

– Omar and Paul-Davis

“When we joined your class we were warmly greeted by them. This made us both feel very welcome and at ease. Next, one of your teachers told us some amazing facts about Henry VIII (…) there was so much to see. The most interesting part was when they spoke of a spirit within the castle. (…) We believe that this trip was perfect. We really appreciate what you did for us. Once again thank you all so much for inviting us to this amazing experience. This is something that we would never have the opportunity to do.

– Shafi and Lucy