Leeds Castle in Kent (UK) - the castle of queens, the queen of castles
Location show on map
Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL, United Kingdom
Date of build
1085-1119 - first castle
Leeds Castle is a castle in the county of Kent, located 8 km south-east of Maidstone.
One of the most remarkable facts about Leeds Castle is that it was built on three islands in the lake formed by the River Len. The river is only about 16km long and further joins the River Medway.
The history of the building dates back to the early 12th century, when Robert de Crevecoeur built it in 1119 on the site of a wooden castle.
In 1278, English King Edward I and his wife Eleanor visited the fortress. The incredible beauty of the building made it a royal palace. To meet the needs of the king and queen, the building was technically improved. A Barbican, drawbridge and gates were built to protect the entrance to the fortress. The walls are 15 feet high.
The most interesting episode of Leeds Castle's existence happened in 1321. The castle was left in the care of Margaret de Clare, who did not accept King Edward II of England's wife Isabella. As the Queen's retinue approached the fortress, it came under fire. The king then surrounded and took over the castle.
One of the castle's most famous owners was King Henry VIII, who rebuilt it for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Leeds Castle is often referred to as 'the castle of queens, the queen of castles'. Six queens had their main residence in the castle during the medieval period. These were Eleonora, Isabella, Philippa of Hainault (wife of Edward III), Joan of Navarre, Catherine de Valois and Catherine of Aragon.
During the English Civil War the site was used as a weapons arsenal and prison.
The last private owner of Leeds Castle was Lady Olive Baille. She acquired the castle in 1926 and, with the help of French designers, transformed it into her new home.
During the Second World War the fortress was used as a hospital. After Lady Olive's death, the castle was donated to the Leeds Castle Foundation. After two years, it was opened to tourists in 1976.
Leeds Castle has 20 guest rooms, all with antiques, valuable paintings and authentic furniture. The castle is a popular venue for weddings, banquets and Christmas parties.
The castle is surrounded by a beautiful lake and extensive green spaces. Tourists from all over the world come to see this magnificent building, a park with a labyrinth, caves, vineyards and a golf course.
The castle also has a grotto and the amazing attraction of a labyrinth made of 2,400 yew trees.
During the summer months, falconry shows are popular, where visitors can take part in a five-day course that will train them to feed and handle several different birds of prey.
Within the grounds of Leeds Castle is the UK's only dog collar museum. On display are more than 100 collars belonging to royal hunting dogs, some of which are almost 500 years old.
Official website: https://www.leeds-castle.com