Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Lovely Leeds Castle

On Monday, we decided to spend the day at Leeds Castle.  
So we bundled up and drove the 40 minutes from Folkestone to Maidstone to see
"The Loveliest Castle in the World."  

Leeds Castle, Kent, England
The Castle was built in 1119 on two islands on a lake and 
became a royal palace in 1278 for King Edward I.   

We began our walk through the grounds to the castle and were immediately greeted by the welcoming committee. 
The grounds are beautiful!  Rolling green lawn with ponds and waterways.

Lady Baillie was the last private owner and she loved birds.  
The estate is a home to a large variety.  
The Black Swan is the symbol of the Castle. Lady Baillie was the first to import them from Australia to the U.K.

  Matt was freezing by this point so we headed to the Castle.  (I was enjoying the brisk weather and was feeling quite toasty.  Pre-menopause... the silver lining?)

We picked up our handy dandy Audio-Tours, pushed play (in sync, of course) and began exploring the Castle. 
The castle has undergone many additions and changes over 900 years with it's Norman Foundation, Medieval gatehouse, Edwardian Gloriette, Tudor Tower 
and 19th Century Country House. 
The Queen's Bathroom
In 1278, the Castle became a part of the dower for the Queens of England and was held by six medieval queens over 150 years.  Some of the rooms in the older Gloriette have been restored to the medieval period.  

In 1552, the estate was granted to a noble and has been in private ownership since that time.    

Olive, Lady Baillie, was the last private owner.  She was the daughter of an American Heiress and English Lord.  She purchased the Castle in 1926 with the 2nd of her 3 husbands.  She completely refurbished the property using French architects and designers.

The newer section of the Castle is restored to how the residence was in the 20's and 30's when Lady Baillie lived and entertained there. 

We both wanted to linger for days in the Library.

After a nice lunch on the property at The Fairfax, we visited "the largest collection of dog collars on public display in England."  (I know, right?  That's what we said.) 


  We then visited the Aviary.  Between the peekaboo playing Kia and the Laughing Kookaburras, there were lots of giggles (me) and eye rolling (Matt).

We ended our day with a trip through the maze to the the Grotto.  It is a modern addition and a bit out of place, but still a lot of fun!
My 6'4" Englishman got us through the maze safely.
 Leeds Castle was a perfect day out, even on a brisk English day!

My trip report wouldn't be complete without the slideshow.  
In 5 hours, I somehow managed to take 400 pictures.  I've narrowed them down to less than 200 (wasn't that sweet of me?) and here's the link if you want to see more.  
Don't forget to grab a cocktail first!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. I love to hear from you!