It feels like so long since I shared a blog post about a weekend away! But finally this year we are getting back to normal and we have a few trips booked in. One of the first was a night in Kent. We had an amazing day out and loved our stay at Leeds Castle. So if you are looking for things to do in Kent and want to find out more about Leeds Castle then read on!
I try to get down to Kent at least once a year (normally), I grew up in a small village just outside Maidstone, called Bearsted. It was an idyllic childhood and I still keep in touch with my two best friends, we started school together at 5 and moved to junior school then to secondary school before my family had to relocate for my dad's job when I was nearly 15.
For this visit, my friend suggested we might enjoy a stay at Leeds Castle, I hadn't realised they had accommodation and I have never visited the castle as an adult so it seemed like an ideal opportunity.
We arrived in Bearsted on Saturday afternoon, had a little wander around the village green and a cup of tea in one of the pubs, I love my memory lane trips! Then we made our way to Leeds Castle, it closes to the public at 4 pm in the winter months but if you are staying you are welcome to enjoy the grounds without the crowds.
We had booked a standard en-suite double room in the Stable Courtyard Bed and Breakfast accommodation at Leeds Castle. Our room was a little dated maybe but it was full of character, immaculately clean and I loved the window overlooking the the Mediterranean Garden and the Lake beyond. I immediately pulled back the net curtains so I could see through the pretty lattice windows and watch the ducks and swans and enjoy the sun streaming in. Although it was still very cold, we were lucky with brighter skies.
We ventured out that afternoon and explored the Mediterranean Gardens and along the side of the Lake. Then we went back to the room for a cup of tea and a snack from the cafe but I couldn't resist another walk to see the castle when the day guests had left - well I can't turn down a photo opportunity on the drawbridge can I? Although my 'definitely NOT an insta-husband' was less keen so I didn't get many.
You can dine at the Castle View Restaurant, we were heading out to meet our friends so we didn't try it, and a full English or Continental breakfast is included in the room price, also served in the Castle View Restaurant which has stunning views of Leeds Castle.
We had to remember to book our taxi for the evening in advance though, Leeds Castle is a bit remote and we have been caught out before when staying in Kent! We were having dinner at the Miller & Carter in town - and I had booked the table - for 4 and there were 6 of us! Not sure what bit of my brain malfunctioned that day but fortunately they took pity on me and we didn't have to wait too long for a table of 6!
On the Sunday we decided to take full advantage of our free entry to the castle and grounds (included in our room rate). Leeds Castle opens at 10 am but being resident means you can get up to the castle earlier and be one of the first in.
I enjoyed finding out about the history of Leeds Castle, from a Norman Stronghold, a Tudor Palace, a Jacobean House, a Georgian Mansion and learning how it evolved over time to become the glamorous country home of Lady Baillie in the 1930's. When she died in 1974 she placed the castle in trust to be enjoyed by visitors for years to come. When I lived in Kent from about 1970 to 1985 it was only in it's very early days as a visitor attraction!
I loved Lady Baillie's bedroom suite and dressing room area with it's big mirrors, freestanding dressing table and modern bathroom (modern for the time)! I could imagine her getting ready for one of her regular parties! In her bedroom is a beautiful vintage Louis Vuitton trunk that must have seen some travels in it's time!
Leeds Castle is a popular location for weddings. It's easy to see why. The grounds are a perfect backdrop for a dream wedding and any wedding photographer's dream. Some guests even get to stay in the main part of the castle. We saw one of the rooms - there are eight state bedrooms furnished with antiques, art deco marble bathrooms and four poster beds with the most amazing views over the moat and parkland. Imagine the history, the rooms were used by Lady Baillie for film stars, musicians, politicians and members of the royal family.
The grounds and park are beautiful and we enjoyed walking around the moat and following the stream. We eventually ended up in the maze, now I haven't done a maze in forever but our friends had recommended it so in we went! It was so funny, we had absolutely no clue how to reach the grotto in the middle (and the way out)! After a lot of dead ends, and a lot of laughing, we cheated and followed some children that were being directed by parents who had made it up to the grotto view point!! We had to run to keep up with them though! Leeds Castle does make a fabulous day out for families, and grandchildren, they also have Falconry and an Adventure Playground.
I would really recommend Leeds Castle as a fun day out with a bit of history involved too. Check out their Holiday Cottages, Knight's Glamping and Battel Hall for a big family occasion! Leeds Castle also has a golf course, Go Ape and Segway.
Kent is a beautiful destination for a weekend away or longer ... we are visiting in June with my dad and staying near New Romney. When our children were young we loved our holidays staying near Dungeness, the Dungeness Lighthouse and the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway were very popular with both Alex and Emily!
Kent really is the Garden of England ... if you love history and castles especially, I can also recommend Dover Castle, or for wine enthusiasts there are wineries to visit and don't forget the beaches and seaside towns like Whitstable. I wrote a blog post a few years ago A Weekend in Kent | Chatham Historic Dockyard and Chartwell House where I shared lots of other ideas for things to do in Kent.
So a really fabulous weekend! And a lovely place to stay.
Disclaimer: this is a personal post and does not contain any gifted items or affiliate links.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my 50s. I started this blog in 2016 with the purpose of helping other women at this stage of life. I’m delighted that my blog has grown to over 13k visitors per month. Visit my Work with Me page and request my Media Kit for details of product reviews, blogging services and social media content creation.
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