Leeds Castle, Kent
Leeds Castle has enjoyed a colourful past and an important role in British History.
Listed in the Domesday Book, Leeds Castle was originally built as a Saxon Manor in 857 AD, becoming home to the Norman Crevecoeur family during William the Conqueror’s time. In 1278, the building became a Royal Palace for Edward I who built the fortified mill and Barbican.
In the three centuries that followed, the Castle was a Royal residence for six of the medieval Queens of England, gaining its reputation as a Lady’s castle. Over subsequent years, the Castle passed through the hands of three influential families, the St. Legers, the Culpepers and the Wykeham-Martins. In 1926, a wealthy American heiress, Olive (who later became Lady Baillie) bought the Castle from the bankrupt Wykeham-Martins and totally restored its interior.
Following Lady Baillie’s death in 1975, the Castle was passed on to the Leeds Castle Foundation which continues to promote and preserve the Castle and grounds for future generations to enjoy. There is much to see at the Castle and once you enter the grounds you are free to enjoy the various parts of the Castle, Gardens and Grounds at your leisure. There are several dining and cafe facilities, shops, a yew maze and falconry displays.