Leeds Castle is located in Kent, England and is built on an island in a lake formed by the Len River east of the village of Leeds and is 37 miles southeast of London. In 2019, Leeds Castle is celebrating its 900 year anniversary. The castle has been called the “loveliest castle in the world” and it is understandable because of its location on an island surrounded by a beautiful calm water and the estate consists of 500 acres of gardens and parkland.
There are three buildings on the castle island. They are the main castle, the maiden’s tower and the gatehouse. The main castle is actually built in two separate sections. The original castle called the “Gloriette” was built in the lake and is the left section of the picture below and the new section is built on the island with a double arch bridge connecting the two. The maiden’s tower is seen in the second picture on the left and the gatehouse is shown in the third picture.
Being built on an island provides security from land invasions and the only access to the castle is across a double arched bridge into the gatehouse. After crossing the bridge, getting onto the gatehouse is through a single gate that consists of a metal door and a pointed metal gate that drops down in front of the door for extra protection.
In front of the main castle and in the center of the island is a large manicured lawn which can be used for many activities including croquet as seen in this picture.
The inside of the castle is decorated somewhat like expected. There are paintings of some of the famous people that once lived in the castle like King Henry VIII and King Richard II. The rooms are modeled with furniture from the past and other decorations are throughout the castle to allow visitors to see how the castle once looked.
The views from within the castle allow you to see courtyards inside the castle and the view of the parklands surrounding the castle.
The extensive parklands of the castle were landscaped nearly 300 years ago and some of the trees planted then are still growing today. The 500 acre parklands are quintessential English countryside with grasslands, wooded areas, lakes and gardens.
Birds are seemingly everywhere on the property. Peacocks and black swans are resident birds. Normally Mute Swans are seen in Britain but the Black Swans which are native to Australia were a post-war gift to Winston Churchill from the Government of Australia and were introduced at Leeds Castle. Other common birds that can be seen around the water are Canadian Geese and Barnacle Geese.
When I think about my ideal of a British castle it would be Leeds Castle. Everything about this castle is the definition of a British castle. It has a moat surrounding it, each corner has a tower lookout, the top of the walls are notched for protection, the decorations inside are appropriate for the time period and it is located in the setting of the British countryside. If you’re planning a trip to London, make sure to set aside a day to visit Leeds Castle, you won’t be disappointed!