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Published: June 10th 2015
The drive to Leeds Castle was a little easier than yesterday’s as Bob and the Tomtom managed to find wider roads.
Before we set off Bob phoned the new satnav company and informed them we would be sending it back as soon as we are home again as a satnav which doesn’t know where the satellites are is not really fit for purpose.
Clarissa our friendly Tomtom is feeling much happier now she has been brought out of retirement.
We arrived at Leeds Castle just after 10am and shortly after it had opened for the day. Lovely big carpark and plenty of room for Tandy.
The grounds of the castle are wonderful and extensive. It’s a good 15 minute walk up to the castle and longer if you take your time as we did, just enjoying the plants and the water birds.
There is plenty of water around the castle. As well as the full moat there are a couple of lakes and other little canals and streams so there seem to be ducks, geese and swans everywhere. An excellent time of year for baby birds and we saw several families swimming
The Black Swan was introduced to Britain by the last owner of the castle and the castle coat of arms features two black swans.
We timed our first entrance to the castle quite badly as it coincided with that of three coachloads of French who were not stopping to read the guides (all in English) but did manage to cause long queues to get through the narrow doorways. We “pardon’d” and “merci’d” our way through as it was just too difficult seeing anything and emerged from the castle with not much of an idea of what was in there.
We did discover that there has been a castle on this site since the 1100s but that it has been largely rebuilt several times. It has been the home of several English Queens including Henry Vllll’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. It has no clear path of ownership though a family line as it appears to have bankrupted a few families because of inheritance tax. The last private owner was a rich American lady who bought it and did a lot of restoration and rebuilding. She then left it to a
As well as being open to the public it has residential conference facilities and hosts functions and weddings.
After our visit to the castle itself we headed for the formal gardens which were a sheer delight. Flamboyant plantings all within box hedges. We walked along the great lake and watched some baby geese and black swans then up to a recreation area where we had a sandwich for lunch. We watched a brief spectacular, a digital display to explain Henry V’s victory at the Battle of Agincourt (Dark Skies), relevant to Leeds castle as Henry V’s wife also lived here for a while.
We then headed back to have another attack on the castle. This time we managed to visit in a more pleasurable way taking time and space to see the exhibits and read about them. Much of the décor is from the latest ownership so 1900s but it is a very elegant and beautiful castle.
Another leisurely stroll took us back to Tandy and we drove on to Canterbury, our stopping place for the next two nights.
Our campsite is another
Camping and Caravanning Club site. Quite a big site, open all year and excellently placed to get in to Canterbury as it’s only a couple of miles to the centre and there is a bus-stop just outside the site. We will be using the scooter though.
I may need to donate a carrot or two to the rabbit population. They’re here, there and everywhere.
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