5 Top Castles to Visit in Kent

The United Kingdom is an island steeped in history, with beautiful stately homes, ancient ruins, and castles aplenty. In Kent you will be spoilt for choice at which castle to visit as there are more than 30 castles in the county. This is considered a particularly high density of castles, which is due to the key geographical location of the county. With so many castles to visit you will find it hard to choose which one to go to! So, to make your job of selecting a destination for a family day trip easier, here is the low down of our favourite castles which you can enjoy all year round. 

1) Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is cited as the “the loveliest castle in the world” and when you visit you can see why. Set in 500 acres of beautifully maintained parkland the castle rises majestically from the Kentish countryside and is one of the most iconic historic buildings in Britain.

Leeds Castle started life as a “Norman stronghold; became the private property of six of England’s medieval queens; it was a palace used by Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon; a Jacobean country house; a Georgian mansion; an elegant early 20th century retreat for the influential and famous; and in the 21st century, it has become one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain.” 

In addition to the castle and parkland you will find 3 gardens, 2 adventure playgrounds for the children, birds of prey exhibits, a maze, grotto and a 12-hole adventure golf course. Leeds Castle is a fantastic day out for all the family with something for everyone, young or old. 

2) Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle, near Tunbridge Wells, looks like it belongs in a fairy-tale, the moated castle dates back to the 14th century and is surrounded by romantic gardens, the perfect place for a picnic or a charming stroll. The landscaped gardens are described as looking “seemingly untouched by human hand and its cloud-like planting of rhododendrons and azaleas creates a fairy-tale feel, with the ruins of the Old Castle at its centre” which makes for a truly stunning backdrop to all your family photographs and is beautiful come rain or shine. 

3) Hever Castle

The double moated 13th century is famous for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, 2nd wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I. Perhaps the most famous of the wives of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn’s former home now is the perfect setting for a fun day out for all the family. 

After exploring the castle there are 2 amazing adventure playgrounds to entertain the kids, you can go boating on the lake or discover the Japanese Tea House. Over the summer holidays be enthralled by medieval knights as they joust and engage in 1 to 1 combat to be crowned the season’s ultimate champion! Cheer on your favourite knight from the comfort of your picnic blanket or watch from the medieval spectator stands. 

One thing is for sure Hever Castle is not to be missed off your summer holiday bucket list!

4) Dover Castle 

Built in 1066 and rising from the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, Dover Castle has been the site of epic sieges and royal intrigue spanning over 1000 years of history. With a something fascinating to discover around every corner, Dover Castle, is one of the most interesting and historical places to visit in the UK. 

The castle is built above a network of tunnels used to house soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars and more recently was used as a headquarters and hospital during World War II.  The tunnels were made into offices which were integral to the war effort, and became essential to Operation Dynamo, which saw the evacuation of 338,226 British and Allied Troops from Dunkirk beach.  

In fact, there is so much history to be unearthed at Dover Castle, you cannot do it justice in a few short paragraphs, so go see it for yourself!  The castle is the perfect destination for school trips and educational days out for children and adults alike. 

5) Rochester Castle

Towering over the town of Rochester, the castle is an imposing fortress. Built along the Roman road, the castle was strategically placed to guard the river Medway which was an important stronghold for defence.

During your visit learn about the epic siege of Rochester Castle in 1215, which caused the destruction of the southern corner of the castle. Immerse yourself in medieval history at this powerful castle and afterwards explore the cobbled streets of Rochester for an interesting day of sightseeing. 

Educational visits are a valuable way to consolidate classroom learning, put theory into action and inspire students to continue discovering for themselves. Sometimes, the best way to learn is through experience, and these top 5 educational visits are bound to fully immerse your students in the learning process!

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