This is a question that has always completely bamboozled me so on one of our camping trips we decided to explore the castle; trying to gain an answer.
Why Is Leeds Castle in Kent?
Listed in the Doomsday Book as a Saxon Manor called Esledes, translated into modern English as ‘Leeds’, is one reason for the name. Others believe the name comes from the first owner, a man called Ledian who built a wooden castle on the site in 857 which was then replaced in 1119 with a fortified mill and vineyard – both schools of thought seem quite viable.
In history this magnificence landmark, described by Lord Conway as ‘the loveliest castle in the world’, has been a Norman Stronghold, a Royal Palace, the home of an American actress and a film location.
Probably the most famous King to have spent time here is Henry VIII who transformed the castle for Catherine of Aragon. This influence can still be seen when visiting today, with fine detailed carvings around fireplaces to extravagant but elegant decorations in many of the rooms.
Modern Day History of Leeds Castle
Later in history Lady Baillie, believed to be the longest owner of the castle, completely restored both the fabric and the structure of the building and this design is what you will see when you wander around the wonderful estate.
The 500 acre park is now under the trusteeship of the charitable Leeds Castle Foundation and provides the backdrop for weddings, concerts and even government meetings.
Buying your ticket at £24.90* may seem expensive but that provides you with access for a year whether that be to admire the castle itself, sit in one of the coffee shops enjoying the views, having a picnic in the grounds or enjoying the wildlife talks and shows there is something for everyone.
Whatever you reason – historical, horticultural or ornithological – you will have a great day out!
Have you visited Leeds Castle? Perhaps you have spent the night there and have a story to tell.
* Prices correct as of May 2017