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Welcome to Leeds Castle, Kent

Opening Times

GROUNDS OPEN 10.00am

CASTLE OPEN 10.30am

LAST ADMISSION 3.00pm (Oct - Mar)
4.30pm (Apr - Sep)

GATES CLOSE 5.00pm (Oct - Mar)
6.00pm (Apr - Sep)

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CELEBRATING 900 YEARS

Discover 900 years of history and explore 500 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens at Leeds Castle in Kent.

The whole family will enjoy the maze and grotto, thrilling falconry displays, punting on the moat, adventure playgrounds and more!

What’s On

Sunday Afternoon Tea in The Castle Dining Room Sunday Afternoon Tea

DATES ADDED
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Half Term Hunters16th to 24th February

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Bird of Prey Centre Behind the Scenes Tour18th to 24th February

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A Night To Remember - 1930s Murder Mystery House Party6th April

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Adventure Golf & New Playground Official Opening with Ben and Ryan13th April

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Leeds Castle's Big 900 Story Writing Challenge

Children all over the UK are invited to join in celebrating Leeds Castle's 900th birthday by writing a short story, from 100 to 900 words, about Castles and Time Travel. The two winning stories picked by our judges, including renowned broadcaster and children’s author Clare Balding, will go into a time capsule to be buried by the winning children and only opened again in 100 years’ time.

Clare Balding Entries will be sought in two age brackets: 5 to 9 years and 10 to 13 years. The winning children, with their family, will be invited to a very special Awards Day here at Leeds Castle in 2019 to meet Clare Balding and will win a basket of prizes. They will also be invited to take part in the ‘time capsule’ ceremony later in the summer.

Deadline for entry: 5th March 2019 at 12pm

If you would rather post a hand-written story then please send to us at the following address: Big 900 Competition, Marketing Department, Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL.
Please include your address, contact number/email, parent/tutor's name and child's name/age.

  • Enter
  • Competition Rules
  • Clare's Top Tips
  • ACCOMMODATION

    Come and stay in the grounds of “The Loveliest Castle in the World”

    Holiday Cottages


    Historic properties located within the Leeds Castle Estate
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    Bed and Breakfast

    Twenty two luxury en-suite bedrooms within the Maiden’s Tower and Stable Courtyard
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    Knight’s Glamping

    Escape to the countryside for a glamorous camping holiday in one of our eight splendid striped pavilions
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    Battel Hall Logo

    Leeds Castle's New 5 Star Country House Venue

    HOSPITALITY

    Leeds Castle provides first class service and events for all occasions

    Weddings

    Say 'I do' in the most romantic of settings, "the loveliest castle in the world".
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    Conferences

    Let us cater for all your business needs in a choice of historic venues. 
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    Banquets


    Celebrate a special occasion with fine dining and first class service.
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    The Leeds Castle Foundation

    Upon her death in 1974, Lady Baillie left the Castle to the Leeds Castle Foundation, a private charity whose aim is to preserve the Castle and its grounds for the benefit of the public in perpetuity. In accordance with her wishes, the Castle is kept as a living house, with bedrooms that regularly accommodate guests at weddings, conferences and banquets.

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    Leeds Castle Foundation Logo

    Restoration & Conservation

    If you visit the estate between October 2018 and March 2019, you won’t fail to notice scaffolding on the front of our historic Castle. Here’s why...

    Leeds Castle is run by the Leeds Castle Foundation; a charity whose main aim is to look after the Castle and its estate for the enjoyment of today’s visitors and future generations. Now in its 900th year, restoration on its stonework and exterior fabric has inevitably become a necessity in conserving this beautiful Castle for the next 900 years.

    The current project taking place on the front elevation of the Castle is due to be completed in March 2019, and is part of a long stonework repair programme which first began in 1995 on the Castle Island, then moved onto the Maiden’s Tower; Gate Tower; Moat Bridge and Gloriette.

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    History Highlights Podcasts

    Podcast

    Episode 4: 1520 - Henry VIII at Leeds Castle en route to the Field of Cloth of Gold
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    Available on Itunes

    Podcast

    Episode 3: 1321: The Great Siege of Leeds Castle
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    Available on Itunes

    Podcast

    Episode 2: 1278-1290: Eleanor of Castile transforms Leeds Castle into a queenly paradise
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    Available on Itunes

    Podcast

    Episode 1: 1066-1278: The Normans at Leeds Castle
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    Available on Itunes

    Leeds Castle News

    • Garden Highlights: What to See at Leeds Castle this Spring

      Open all-year-round, the grounds of Leeds Castle provide the perfect setting to experience all four seasons; from the widespread autumn colour and spring wildflowers that fill the Woodland Walk with life, to the expertly planted formal gardens that bloom vividly each summer. 

      Our Head Gardener, Andrew McCoryn, shares his top tips on what flowers to look out for around the Castle grounds this spring… 

      February 

      By the end of this month, you should be able to spot pockets of seasonal snowdrops bursting through in the Mill Garden and in the Woodland Walk on your approach to the Castle. Be sure to also visit the Culpeper Garden to see the dozens of vibrant purple crocuses. 

      March and Apri

      Throughout March and April, visitors will be able to see hundreds of daffodils growing both alongside the Castle moat and in the Culpeper Garden. Meander through the enchanting Woodland Walk to see masses of ‘scilla’ (tiny bluebell bulbs) and ‘anemona blanda’ - a wildflower which spreads through the woodland like a blanket of beautiful blue flowers. 

      May 

      Enjoy a splendid display of tulips and bearded irises in a rainbow of colours in the Culpeper Garden. Beautifully bright and fragrant wisteria also blooms here, on the Pergola in the Mediterranean Garden, and on the Pavilion Lawn. 

      What next? 

      Keep an eye on the website for more information about what to expect from our gardens in the summer months – from beautiful peonies, azaleas and roses, to the brand new gardens which will be unveiled this June in celebration of the Castle’s 900th anniversary.

       

    • Rooting for Future Generations

      When BBC Countryfile visited Leeds Castle in the lead-up to our 900th anniversary, something that particularly captured their attention was the variety of historic trees located around the estate. 

      From native broadleaved trees to evergreen pines, some of the most beautiful standout trees that we have on-site today were planted centuries ago - some of them possibly bearing witness to significant historical events, such as the visit of Henry VIII to the Castle in June 1520. 

      It is the job of our dedicated team of Estate Rangers to care for the variety of woodland habitats, but with many trees now beginning to show their age, they’re in need of some urgent care in order for them to survive for centuries to come. 

      To coincide with the Castle’s 900th anniversary this year, we are embarking on an ambitious conservation programme called, ‘Rooting for Future Generations’. With help from friends of Leeds Castle, we want to ensure the estate’s oldest and most majestic trees are still here for the Castle’s millennia, such as the beautiful ‘Tree of Judea’, a wonderfully floral tree located at the Barbican; and the magnificent ‘Cedar of Lebanon’, the most iconic tree on the Cedar Lawn. 

      As part of this much needed conservation programme, we have been inviting friends of the Castle and companies we work with to become official sponsors for one or more of these glorious trees. It’s great news that several companies have already put themselves forward as sponsors, including The Oak & Rope Company, Jackson Lifts and Hob Mechanical Services Ltd, but there are yet more historic trees that need specialist help to maintain them for many years to come. 

      If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact enquiries@leeds-castle.co.uk who will send you our sponsorship package options.

    • BBC Countryfile Celebrates 900 Years of Leeds Castle!

      Leeds Castle has kick-started this year’s 900th anniversary celebrations with a feature on BBC Countryfile. 

      The episode, which aired Sunday 13th January on BBC1, saw presenter Matt Baker explore the estate and lay the very first plaque on the new Woodland Walk timeline; a walk which will take visitors through nine centuries of history on their approach to the Castle. Matt even tried his hand at a spot of falconry with the Castle's resident birds of prey!

      Describing it as an experience he “will always remember”, Matt was invited to fly Barney; one of the Castle’s Kestrels. Using a lure to fly the falcon, which is a technique commonly used by Falconers to exercise the birds, Matt said the task was much “trickier than it looks” after receiving a lesson from our Falconry and Wildlife Manager, Mark Brattle. 

      Also featured was a Cedar of Lebanon overlooking the Castle; one of the estate’s most iconic trees. Joined by specially trained tree surgeons, Matt Baker and the team established cable systems to stop its branches from wilting out after suffering from storm damage - ensuring the tree will still be standing strong for centuries more to come. 

      Footage from inside the Castle was featured during an interview with Curator Annie Kemkaran-Smith, who spoke about its history and the 900th anniversary celebrations. Co-presenter Margherita Taylor also caught up with Matt at the end of the programme in the Castle’s Thorpe Hall Drawing Room. 

      Leeds Castle’s landmark year will celebrate nine centuries of history, dating back to 1119 when Robert de Crevecoeur built the first stone castle on the estate. A series of special events and activities are planned to celebrate the 900th anniversary, including a Carnival of History and the Big 900 Story Challenge! 

      If you missed Sunday’s episode of Countryfile, be sure to catch up here. Alternatively, to find out more about the Castle’s 900th anniversary visit the information page here.

       

    • Harris Hawks Keye and Texas: Retiring from Duty!

      This month marks the end of an era for two much-loved birds at our Falconry Centre. Texas and Keye, two of our popular Harris Hawks, have now officially “retired” from their normal day-to-day duties of demonstrations and experiences days at the Castle. 

      Over the years, both Texas and Keye have played a special part in both the set-up and overall running of the Falconry Centre, and have regularly taken part in our visitor falconry displays and private falconry experience days. 

      Keye, who is now 17 years old, has been cared for by one of our Falconry Team members since he was only 3 months old. Texas, who is currently 7 years old, was adopted by the Falconry Team four years ago when she was found as a lost bird. Our Falconry Team nourished her back to good health and looked after her before re-training her so she could become part of our regular falconry displays. 

      Now retired, both Keye and Texas can enjoy their new home in one of the Falconry Centre’s five new aviaries that opened this September. They will be the first birds to start our Bird of Prey Breeding program, which will hopefully grow over the coming years with other species being introduced. 

      Our Falconry Team are also delighted to have also welcomed the arrival of some new birds this year… Why not pop along and see them for yourselves? 

      Tash

      Our new female Red Legged Seriema is a natural snake killer in the wild. The team will be demonstrating how she catches and kills snakes in the wild in our shows with the use of a toy snake! 

      Stella 

      Stella is a female Siberian Eagle Owl and is now the largest Owl we have living at the Centre. She can be seen in some demonstrations but mainly she is being flown on our experience days. 

      Chester 

      Chester is a male Common Buzzard, which are a native species to the UK. We are very lucky to have these breeding wild on the Estate and can been seen regularly soaring above the Great Water. Our Falconry Team would eventually like to fly him in our demonstrations and on experiences so visitors can see what they look like up close! 

      Jensen 

      Our newest addition to the Falconry Centre is Jensen, a Barbary Falcon. Jensen is currently still in training but you’ll hopefully be seeing him flying around very soon. 

    Read more news stories from Leeds Castle

    LEEDS CASTLE VIDEOS

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    Medieval Jousting Tournament 2019

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    Motors by the Moat 2019

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    Weddings at Leeds Castle

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