Leeds Castle is located in 500 acres of parkland set in “the Garden of England”, as the county of Kent is known. The castle was built in 1119 and, although some parts of the original remain, it has seen many changes and additions over the years.
It has a unique setting on an island in a lake and visitors approach over a stone bridge which would have been the site of the original drawbridge. The interior of the castle was extensively renovated by Lady Baillie, the castle’s last private owner, and most of the lavishly decorated rooms that the family occupied are open to the public. Because the interior is limited in space and also contains many fragile and valuable objects, pushchairs are not allowed inside the castle. Baby slings are available from the entrance hall.
Bird lovers are well catered for as the castle grounds house internationally renowned aviaries which provide insight into modern conservation and captive breeding programmes. Swans are plentiful on the moat and lake and peacocks wander freely through the grounds. An added attraction is the “World of Wings Shows” where birds of prey are allowed to fly freely. Please note that these shows are not on every day and it is best to check for availability before travelling.
The extensive castle grounds have 3 distinct gardens, the Wood Garden, Lady Baillie Garden and the Culpeper Garden, all offering a different assemblage of plants and landscaping. A bonus for visitors aged under 6 is that they can bring their own bikes, trikes and scooters into the grounds. For older children there is the Knights’ Realm, a huge adventure playground modelled on the castle. The little ones aren’t forgotten as there is also a toddler’s playground with a maze and other activities.
The castle is also home to the only museum in the country devoted exclusively to dog collars. The collection of collars contains examples from the 15th century through to the present day.
There are 2 gift shops located within the castle grounds. One is aimed at the gardening enthusiast with a selection of garden tools, plants and speciality food items. The other is stocked with items that reflect the character of the castle and its history.
For visitors who would like to try their hand at a craft there are facilities to have a go at pottery making and T-shirt printing. There is an extra charge for these activities.
There is a restaurant serving a varied choice of dishes in the courtyard. Light refreshments are available from several kiosks located in various parts of the castle area.
- Car parking is free within the castle area.
- A land train with disabled access operates to several parts of the grounds.
- Toilets are plentiful, including disabled and baby changing facilities.
- Photography is allowed except in the chapel and at special events.
Tel: 01622 765400