Leeds Castle – it’s not in Leeds!
Located near Maidstone in the south eastern county of Kent, Leeds Castle has fooled many with its misleading name! Though there is a village called Leeds in Kent, it’s nowhere near as well known as the city of Leeds in the north of England. Easily reachable from Central London, Leeds Castle is a gorgeous country retreat full of incredible history.
A castle fit for a King… or 6 Queens
Built in 1119 as a Norman stronghold, the castle has been the private property of six of England’s medieval queens. It was also a palace for Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Other uses included a Jacobean country house, Georgian mansion and a 20th century retreat for the rich and famous! You’ll be walking in the footsteps of legendary world figures as you explore the lavish interior.
Lady Baillie, a wealthy Anglo-American heiress, decorated much of the castle. She was the owner of Leeds Castle from 1926 until her death in 1974. Lady Baillie saved the castle from disrepair and left the castle to a charitable trust in her will.
Why visit Leeds Castle?
Dubbed the “loveliest castle in the world” by Lord Conway, Leeds Castle is surrounded by a sprawling 500 acres of parkland and sits in the middle of a sparkling lake. A walk through the grounds is an idyllic experience at any time of year, but it’s during the spring that the woodland and greenery really comes into its own. Daffodils and bluebells bloom across the grounds and rising temperatures begin to take away the chill that accompanies winter walks.
There are a number of gardens at the Castle, each one uniquely beautiful and a pleasure to explore. Kids and adults alike will love picnicking along the river and checking out the falconry display, featuring owls, hawks, falcons and eagles. Make sure to enter the yew tree maze. It’s a little tricky finding your way out, but great fun!
The Castle’s Great British Kitchen serves traditional meals made even better by the gorgeous views across the castle’s moat. It’s a completely serene, picture-perfect setting for dinner.
How to get there:
Leeds Castle is located approximately 1 hour 30 minutes from London and getting there is relatively simple.
If you want to explore more of the picturesque area around the beautiful South East of England and the coast, why not try a Leeds Castle, Canterbury, Dover & Greenwich River Boat Ride tour? The package includes travel in a comfortable coach, professional guide and entry to both Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral!
Don’t forget to tag us in your lovely pictures @goldentoursuk!
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