Here are some facts about Leeds Castle.
- Leeds Castle, which has been described as the loveliest castle in the world, is in Kent. It is about 7 km from Maidstone and about 60 km from London.
- There’s been a castle here since the 12th century, although most of the present building was built in the 19th century. The castle is built on two islands in a lake.
- Edward I became the owner of the castle in the early 13th century. He spent money on defence and built the lake. He also improved the accommodation for visiting members of the Royals Family.
- Henry VIII used Leeds Castle as a home for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. A painting showing Henry’s meeting with King Francis Of France still hangs in the castle.
- Lord Thomas Fairfax was born in the castle in 1693, although moved to the United States to oversee an estate. A sundial in the grounds shows the current time as it is in Virginia, America.
- During World War II, the castle was used as a hospital.
- In 1978, the Israeli and Egyptian foreign ministers met there, and in 2004, Northern Ireland peace talks were held there.
- The castle was privately owned by Lady Baillie from 1926 until 1974. She left the building to the charity the Leeds Castle Foundation, and it opened to the public in 1976.
- Leeds Castle has 20 guest bedrooms, all with antiques and valuable paintings and other authentic furnishings. The castle is a popular place for weddings, banquets and Christmas parties.
- During the summer, falconry displays are popular. Visitors can even take a 5 day course, which will train them to feed and handle several different birds of prey.
- On the grounds of Leeds Castle is Britain’s only dog collar museum. There are over 100 collars on display, including some almost 500 years old belonging to royal hunting dogs.
What next? Discover more castle facts by visiting our castles resources page.