I could sit here and try to come up lots of different words and ways to describe this practically perfect piece of Kent countryside. However, I think the quote, “The Loveliest Castle in the World” just about does the job. Leeds Castle in Kent is just that – lovely.
So please, sit back, relax and let me show you around one of my favourite places in the entire world.
Leeds Castle, Kent is nothing short of simply stunning!
Getting to Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle is located just off the junction 8 turning of the M20 heading coast bound in Kent.
From the junction 8 exit, Leeds Castle is only one mile away and is clearly sign posted so you will have no problems finding it.
Leeds Castle is a ticketed attraction. For prices and terms and conditions visit the Leeds Castle website.
Your ticket covers all access into the castle and the grounds and there is ample parking. Your ticket is also valid for entry into the castle for the next 364 days – so don’t loose it!
Leeds Castle History
Leeds Castle is steeped in it! In a nutshell:
Leeds Castle has been a Norman stronghold; the private property of six of England’s medieval queens; a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous; and in the 21st century, it has become one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain.https://www.leeds-castle.com/History
Step back in history and learn all about the different owners of the castle. Discover the story of how Henry VIII transformed the castle from a fortification into a luxurious palace in the sixteenth century and how the castle was lived in by its last occupant, Lady Baillie, who lived in the house until 1974.
The Grounds of Leeds Castle
The grounds of Leeds Castle are made up of 500 acres of the most beautiful parkland. A true bounty of exploration for any family spending the day there.
The Oriental Garden
Take a stroll to The Oriental Garden and enjoy the chance to contemplate life in these quiet spaces filled with moving water, various varieties of water birds and a wonderful feature bridge in red that reaches out across the water.
There’s also a dragon lying in wait for your kids to discover, so keep an eye out for him!
One of the most picturesque places in the grounds of Leeds Castle is the Pavilion Lawn.
The old cricket pavilion is decorated in the prettiest wisteria flowers in the spring time and to the right you will find an utterly gorgeous view of the castle itself!
On Pavilion Lawn you will also find various water features. These are fed by the river Len, which flows through the grounds of Leeds Castle and makes up many of the water features throughout the estate.
There are so many different places to get some stunning views of the castle, such as this one on the banks of the moat.
Leeds Castle also offers the opportunity to go punting on the moat! The cost for adults is £7, children £3.50 and under 3s are free (as always these prices are subject to change).
It’s a unique chance to see the castle from a new perspective and enjoy a personal guided tour.
These gardens have been transformed a few times in the castles history. They started out as the castles kitchen gardens, then were changed into a cut flower garden and then finally into a very English cottage garden that you can visit today.
Leeds Castle in Kent has the most amazing maze. Once you successfully reach the centre and have made your way up the viewing tower your prize is to go down into the ground and discover the Leeds Castle grotto!
It’s a good bit of fun and my kids love traipsing up and down the hedge rows trying to find the centre. For them, the longer it takes the better the experience!
Bird of Prey Centre
Behind the maze you will find the Bird of Prey Centre. It is here you can meet the different birds of prey that live at the castle such as owls, buzzards and eagles.
If the weather is good they will be out on their perches on the grass so your little ones can get really up close and personal.
You can also experience the Leeds Castle Falconry Show everyday at 2pm. It takes place in the Falconry Arena, which is located at the front of the maze and last for around 30 minutes.
Playgrounds and Mini Golf!
Any time we go to Leeds Castle the kids can’t wait to go to the play areas. Our little ones are still quite small so we make a bee line for Squires’ Court Playground, which is designed for children aged 6 years and under.
There is another playground called the Knights’ Stronghold Playground for the older ones, which is basically a replica castle! Even i’m looking forward to the day my little ones graduate to that one!
You can indulge in a light lunch or a full three course dinner at the Castle View Restaurant, which, as the name suggests, offers stunning day time and night time views of the castle.
You can also opt for a delightful cream tea for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, as we have done once or twice… or maybe three times.
If a restaurant meal is a little too formal, you will find a few small food kiosks in the courtyard in between the restaurant and the dog collar museum.
Here you can grab a sandwich and drink for your little knights or pop along to Costa Coffee for a little something sweet.
However, if the weather is nice there is nothing quite like a picnic in the stunning castle grounds to perfectly compliment a beautiful family day out.
Take a ride on Elsie the castle train from the entrance right up to the castle. A great option if mobility is an issue or you have kids that are mad on trains! Adults are £1, children 50p and under 4s are free.
Black Swan Ferry
You can also hop aboard the Black Swan Ferry, which can take you from one side of the Great Water to the other, where you will find the children’s play areas. It’s another little bit of fun at £1 per person and kids under 4 go free.
We have been to Leeds Castle lots of times and we never run out of things to do. It’s a great place for your kids to explore time and time again and parents and children alike don’t tire of Leeds Castle’s charm and grace. It really is one of the most loveliest places in the world!
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