Jetsetting

Lovely Leeds Castle | Discovering England

When a family member was living in Kent, she always spoke about Leeds Castle. I was intrigued by what she spoke about because of my love of medieval castles, cathedrals and towns. Leeds Castle definitely held up to its reputation from its strong castle walls, fascinating history and its lovely grounds.

Leeds Castle had gone through many centuries of evolution starting from 857, when an existing castle was already on the site. During the 13th century, King Edward I had possession of the castle and it became his favorite residence. Later in the 16th Century, King Henry VIII housed his first wife here, Catherine of Aragon. Presently much of the castle dates back to the 19th Century and has been publicly open since 1976.

The castle also has a connection to the state of Virginia in the United States, interestingly enough. During the English Civil War in the 17th Century, the castle was owned by Sir Cheney Culpeper and was used as both a prison and an arsenal. Members of his family had sided with the Royalists and were granted more than 5,000,000 acres of land in Virginia for assisting the escape of the king’s son, Charles, the Prince of Wales. In Belvoir, Virginia there is a sundial corresponding to a commemorative sundial at Leeds Castle, symbolizing the connection between the both.

Greetings from Leeds Castle.

During the late 18th and into the 19th Centuries, the castle changed hands and sale of the family estates in Virginia allowed extensive remodeling and repair. The Tudor style exterior that we see today, is the result of that refurbishing that was completed in 1823.

Lady Bailiee’s Room

Much of the interior of the castle was an elegant time capsule of the last century, and was designed during the 1900s. The last private owner was an American Heiress, Hon. Olive, Lady Bailliee who purchased the castle in 1926. She spent the remainder of her life and a large portion of her inheritance on the restoration of the castle, the grounds and the estate. Much of the internal restoration was done by the French designers Armand-Albert Rateau, as well as Stephane Boudin who assisted in design and planning other improvements to the castle.

Lady Baillie was a renowned hostess and held lavish parties on the weekends at Leeds Castle. Then during World War II, the castle was turned into a hospital as did many large estates. Lady Baillie and her daughters hosted Commonwealth airmen, who were burn victims, to help aiding in their recovery. She was remembered with kindness and fondness by many who knew her. When she passed away in 1974, Lady Bailliee left the castle to a private charitable trust, the Leeds Castle Foundation, to help preserve the castle and the grounds for public benefit.

Chapel

Today, you can visit Leeds Castle and tour the interior and the grounds. Also, in true Lady Baillie fashion of being a hostess, Leeds Castle hosts several events during the year. When I had visited during late October, the castle had a Halloween event where families came in with their children dressed in costumes. Enjoy!

For touring information and events, please visit – Leeds Castle website

Leeds Castle Photos

The gladdest moment in human life is a departure into unknown lands…

– Sir Richard Burton
Yours Truly on an English train

🌎 Thank you for visiting my website and NEVER STOP EXPLORING!

📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre

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