Leeds Castle, Kent, England (with Map & Photos)

Leeds Castle is perhaps one of the most romantic castles in England. It is located in the southeast of the country, built on two small islands in the Len River. It originally belonged to the royal family of Saxony, between 856 and 860. The first construction was a wooden palisade that later became a huge stone wall, with two towers along the perimeter.

Leeds Castle is 4 miles southeast of Maidstone, Kent County, England, dating back to 1119, although a manor house stood on the same site in the 9th century. The castle and grounds are to the east of the town of Leeds, Kent, in the county of Kent, not to be confused with the town of Leeds, West Yorkshire.

History


Built in 1119 by Robert de Crevecoeur to replace the Saxon manor house of Esledes, the Castle became a royal palace for King Edward I of England and his Queen Eleanor of Castile in 1278. The most important improvements occurred during that time, including the Barbican, made up of three parts, each with its own entrance, drawbridge, gate and gate. The medieval tower is called "Gloriette" in honor of Queen Eleanor.

Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle

In 1321, King Edward II besieged the castle after the Queen was not allowed to pass, and used crossbows to force its defenders to surrender. Richard II's first wife, Anne of Bohemia, spent the winter of 1381 in the Castle to be married to the King, and in 1395, King Richard II received the French chronicler Jean Froissart, as Froissart himself describes in his Chronicles.

Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle

Henry VIII transformed the castle for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and a painting commemorating his meeting with Francis I of France is still in the castle. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned here for a time before being crowned.

The Leeds Castle escaped destruction during the English Civil War thanks to its owners, the Culpeper family, allied with the Parliamentarians. The Castle's last private owner was the Honorable Olive, Lady Baillie, a daughter of Almeric Paget, Queenborough's first Baron, and his first wife Pauline Payne Whitney, an American heiress. Lady Baille bought the castle in 1926. She redecorated the interior, first working with French architect and designer Armand-Albert Rateau (who also oversaw both exterior and interior touch-ups such as a 16th century carved oak staircase) and later, with the Parisian decorator Stéphane Boudin. Baillie founded the Leeds Castilo Foundation. The Castle opened to the public in 1976.

Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle

On July 17, 1978, the Leeds Castle was the site of a meeting between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, this meeting was preparatory for the Camp David Accords.

In September 1999, Sir Elton John gave two concerts on the grounds of Leeds Castle.

Sightseeing


This Castle and its grounds constitute a major tourist destination in the county of Kent. In the grounds of the Castle there is a bird cage, a labyrinth, a grotto, a golf course and what may be the only museum in the world dedicated to dog collars. It also hosts an exhibition of hot air balloons once a year. In the Leeds Castle it is available for conferences.

Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle

The labyrinth was built in 1988, with 2,400 yew trees. The disappointment for those who believed that all mazes were solved by keeping the right (or left) hand glued to the hedge, while going through the maze, is that Leeds Castle proves that belief to be false, as not all walls of the maze are connected. In this way, following the method explained, the visitor is led into a circle but does not reach the exit, which is located under a small viewpoint in the center of the labyrinth. You can find your way out here. There could be more than one possibility, think.

Leeds Castle Map