Leeds castle was used as a royal palace beginning in the 12th century. It is surrounded by over 500 acres of park land and gardens with a beautiful natural lake around the castle itself.

The castle passed into private hands in the 17th century and, Lady Baillie established the Leeds Castle Foundation in the 20th century. The Foundation still administers the castle and gardens.

The grounds are divided by streams and small lakes. The Duckery provides habitat for 30 species of waterfowl. The woodland garden is resplendent with daffodils and anemonies in the spring. There is also a large English Cottage Garden that is home to the National Collection of Bergamot (Monarda species also known as beebalm, horsemint or  oswego tea).

The Leeds Castle vineyard was mentioned in the famous Domesday Book which was a survey of all property in the year 1086. The nearby maze has a secret underground grotto which may be toured.

 

Leeds Castle
Maidstone
Kent
ME17 1PL

Leeds Castle is an excellent combination of history and horticulture. They have been doing a lot of upgrading and expansion of the garden in recent years. A very pleasant place for a half-day's visit.

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