What To expect when visiting Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle Official Web Site
Leeds Castle Overview
Leeds Castle is about 40 miles south east of Central London, conveniently situated by a junction of the London to Dover motorway.
Leeds Castle itself is comparatively small and for many people touring inside Leeds Castle will only form a minor part of the visit overall.
Much of the attraction of Leeds Castle is its setting and grounds.
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Often described as the loveliest castle in the world. Leeds Castle is set on two islands and has been home to royalty, lords, and ladies for over 1000 years.
Unlike many castles like Windsor with its emphasis on a 'serious' tour of history and royalty, Leeds Castle is more informal and more set up for a longer visit with much emphasis on keeping the kids happy.
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The extensive grounds has many walks, there is a large aviary, falconry displays, a maze, vineyard, golf course and much else. An ideal place to bring a picnic.
The maze was planted in 1988 with 2,400 yew trees. When viewed from the centre, part of its plan mirrors a queen's crown
Buzzards, eagles, falcons, hawks, vultures and owls delight visitors with displays by castle falconers Leigh and Jo Holmes. Audience participation is high, particularly for youngsters.
Visiting Leeds Castle
The admission gates are some distance from the castle itself, you cannot see Leeds Castle until you are well within the grounds.
For current prices and opening times link to the official Leeds Castle web site at the top of the page.
Tickets to Leeds Castle grant admission to the castle and grounds for one year from the date of purchase with the exception of evening ticketed events.
Unlike a lot of castles and attractions nowadays, an audio guide comes as a supplement, not with admission.
If you find walking a mile a problem or you are short on time then small carts will ferry you to the castle. But its well worth making the walk if you can, descending down to the lake. Leeds Castle slowly appears ahead of you.
Leeds Castle History
Leeds Castle has an interesting and fascinating history. It dates back to 1119, though a manor house stood on the same site from the 9th century.
Leeds Castle passed into royal hands in 1278 and became part of the Queen of England's dower - the settlement widowed queens received upon the death of their husbands. Over the course of 150 years it was held by six mediaeval queens: Eleanor of Castile; Margaret of France; Isabella of France, Joan of Navarre; Anne of Bohemia and Catherine de Valois.
In Tudor times Henry VIII visited frequently, notably with his Queen, Catherine of Aragon, and their entire court on the way to the tournament of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, which took place in France in 1520. Henry's son, King Edward VI, granted the castle to one of Henry's courtiers for his services.
Since then it has been in private ownership
It was in 1926 that Olive Wilson Filmer, later to become Lady Baillie, followed in the footsteps of six of England's medieval queens and fell under the magic spell of Leeds Castle.
Once the sale was finalised, Olive set about her goal of restoring the moated castle and grounds. Her dream was to create a largely medieval castle and turn the castle's Gloriette into a French Gothic fantasy.
Lady Baillie spent her latter years with her family and continued to beautify the Castle. On her death, in 1974, she bequeathed Leeds Castle to the nation in perpetuity under the charitable trust of the Leeds Castle Foundation.
Leeds Castle, Greenwich and Canterbury Tour
- Private viewing of Leeds castle - The loveliest castle in the world.
- Free time to enjoy the rest of the Castle including the Henry II tower
- Entrance to Canterbury Cathedral
- Walking tour of historic Greenwich
- Tea/sparkling wine and scones served on River Thames cruise
After being picked up directly from or close to your hotel, we drive straight to Leeds Castle. for a unique private viewing before the castle opens to the public.
From here we travel to the coast to have lunch in a charming inn overlooking the White Cliffs of Dover and with breathtaking views of the English Channel.
Our afternoon is spent enjoying the delights of Canterbury with its magnificent Cathedral, before heading to Greenwich where we hear fascinating maritime tales about this historic town.
As the sun begins to set we board our luxury boat for a Champagne cruise along the river Thames taking us all the way back to London.
What a day!