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.
first stone castle was built by a Norman baron during the reign of
William the Conqueror’s son Henry I, on an island in the River Len. In
1278, a century and a half later, it came into the possession of Queen
Eleanor of Castile, first wife of Edward I.
For the next 300 years
the castle remained a royal residence, before again becoming a private
home. This in turn was handed down over four centuries, by both
inheritance and purchase, through a network of interlinked families.
the fascinating history of the Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie, the last
private owner of the castle; a wealthy Anglo-American heiress who
acquired Leeds Castle in 1926 when it was sold to pay death duties.
the influence of Lady Baillie continues to bring the state rooms to
life while visitors can see the effect of Medieval and Tudor periods in
many of the other castle rooms
Tickets to Leeds Castle grant
admission to the castle and grounds for one year from the date of
purchase with the exception of special ticketed events. Some daytime
events may incur a small additional charge.
A huge adventure playground built entirely in wood.
can let off steam through a scale model of the castle, with
opportunities to climb the Maiden’s Tower, scale the Revetment Wall,
joust along an aerial runway, cross the perilous bridge between the New
Castle and Gloriette and explore the Secret Tunnels. Slides, bash bags
and rope walkways add to the fun.
The Knights’ Realm has been
carefully constructed to offer thrills and challenges for visitors aged
5 and over, while meeting rigorous health and safety standards (ROSPA
Toddlers' Play Area
children need not miss out while their older siblings have all the fun.
The Toddlers’ Play Area close by is designed for under 5’s. So, too, is
the Turf Maze where youngsters can follow circles of turf leading to a
small wooden castle in its centre.
Parental supervision is required in all play areas, and there’s plenty
of seating for adults.
The Maze and
yourself in the spiraling yew maze, and return to civilisation through
an underworld grotto, complete with macabre forms and mythical beasts
created from shells, minerals and wood.
The maze consists of 2400 yew trees and when viewed from the centre,
part of its plan mirrors a queen’s crown.
The Turf Maze
above the top of the Great Water and close to the children’s play area,
the Turf Maze was designed for younger children, the circles of turf
lead to a small wooden castle in the maze centre and mirror those of a
silver rosewater container, which can be found in the castle's Heraldry
During your visit to Leeds Castle, enjoy the fresh air and stroll
through the beautiful
grounds of the park estate.
The Cascade Garden
garden that gives you your first view of Leeds Castle, with its
beautiful water cascade falling from the Cedar Pond. In 2010 the 70
Gurkha Field Support Squadron QGE restored the bridge, situated across
the Cascade Garden Pond, to provide visitors with beautiful views over
the pond and the original pleasure gardens on either side.
The Wood Garden
spring, the Wood Garden alongside the River Len is a particularly
lovely way to approach the castle. Its carpet of Daffodils, Narcissi
and Anemones presents a vibrant burst of colour. Later in the year, the
visitor is treated to the splendor of Azaleas and Rhododendrons.
The Culpeper Garden
after the family who owned Leeds Castle in the 17th century; the
Culpeper Garden was originally the site of the castle’s kitchen garden.
Lady Baillie's ownership it became a cut flower garden, but in 1980
garden designer Russell Page transformed it into a large cottage garden.
its informal layout and low box hedges as a border this very English
garden features Roses, Lupins, Poppies and Lads' Love, with exotic
blooms mixed in to create a profusion of colour and scent.
The Lady Baillie Garden
by the landscape architect, Christopher Carter, on the site of Lady
Baillie's original aviary the garden is a favourite destination for
visitors to the castle. With its south facing aspect and Mediterranean
style, visitors can relax and enjoy superb views across the Great Water.
Other attractions include The Dog Collar Museum as well
as regular events.
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