This is a sponsored article on behalf of Leeds Castle.
Don’t be fooled by the name – the delights of Leeds Castle are closer than you think. Nestled among rolling Kent countryside, it may be the ultimate summer holiday day trip. And we can prove it.
Before we dive in, it’s important to know that a Leeds Castle ticket grants you free access for a year. Yes, an entire year! So if you can’t squeeze in all the fun activities, history exhibits or nature walks in one go, your next visit won’t cost you a penny. Here’s what you’ve got to look forward to.
Explore the great outdoors
Leeds Castle’s sprawling estate clocks in at a whopping 500 acres. Stretch your legs along three atmospheric woodland walks, dotted with view points so you can steal glimpses of the castle battlements beyond the trees.
Summer is the perfect time to wander the trio of tranquil gardens, each ablaze with summer florals. From English cottage blooms in the Culpeper Garden to the sun-soaked Lady Baillie Mediterranean Garden Terraces, stroll and let your senses come alive. If you want a fresh air fix, you’ve come to the right place.
Packed a picnic? Smart idea. Deckchairs are available on the Pavilion Lawn, but you’re equally welcome to find a secluded spot all to yourself. Or, plonk your mat next to the castle’s vast wrap-around moat for lunch with a picture-perfect view.
Step into the castle, step back in time
The meeting place of kings, site of Tudor tournaments, a fine Georgian mansion – Leeds Castle boasts a star-studded timeline. Queens with Means, a brand new cinematic attraction, uses the latest video-mapping technology to tell the stories of seven historic queens and their connections to Leeds Castle, including Katherine of Aragon.
In the early 20th century, Lady Olive Baillie transformed the castle into one of the period’s most stylish country retreats. This is the property you see before you today. Savour a dose of 1930s glamour as you wander through the elegant Library, Drawing Rooms and of course the Salon, where high-profile guests would have toasted ’til the early hours.
Oh, and for a bonus wag of history, don’t miss The Dog Collar Museum. It spans five centuries of canine neckwear, many of which have never been seen on display before.
Endless family fun
There’s no denying this place is perfect for kids. Little legs can run riot around the yew tree maze, before delving deep into an underground grotto where mythical beasts await. Back above ground, hop aboard Elsie the Castle Train for a charming chug between the main entrance and the castle.
Perhaps the highlight of your trip to Leeds Castle is the Bird of Prey Centre. During the summer, falconry displays take place daily at 2pm and meet-the-birds sessions at 3.30pm. Missed out? No problem, simply swing by the aviary before 5pm to say hello to Coco the Asian brown wood owl and Broc the Harris hawk, among others.
Ferry rides, mini golf, obstacles courses and two adventure playgrounds (one with a full-blown wooden replica of the castle!) complete the fun-filled line up. After all that, a good night’s sleep is most definitely on the cards.
Pay for a day, visit free all year
It’s true. Leeds Castle admission tickets entitle you to free return trips for another 12 months after your visit. Located an hour’s drive outside of London (or a single train ride from Victoria station), you can return to this countryside gem as many times as you like. Summer’s a favourite time to visit, but Christmas at Leeds Castle is pretty magical too.
Tickets to Leeds Castle cost £29/£32 for adults and £21/£24 for children (cheaper rate available when booking at least two days in advance). Under 3s go free. Concessions and family bundles are available. All tickets are valid for 12 months from the date of your visit.