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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Leeds Castle in Maidstone, Kent

The Leeds Castle (and no, it is not in Leeds, Yorkshire) is set in 500 acres of parkland in the midst of the lovely Kent countryside. The Castle, is set on two islands on the River Len and gets its name from its first owner, a man named Leed (Ledian) who built himself a wooden castle way back in 857. Some say it gets its name from the tiny village of Leeds which is nearby though.




Here is an aerial view of the castle. Pic courtesy the Leeds castle website.


The castle has been the royal residence for six of England's medieval queens and a palace of Henry VIII. Much of the castle is open to the public. Some parts of the castle are let out for special occasions.




The last owner of the Leeds Castle, Lady Baillie completely refurbished the castle to create an elegant residence. You can see this in the collection of art and antiques in the castle.









The castle grounds house several gardens, an aviary and a unique museum dedicated to the collection of antique dog collars. Lady Baillie kept lot of exotic birds and even now you can see diverse and spectacular bird species here.










The castle grounds also host a show called "A World of wings" where birds like storks, kites, eagles and parrots perform breathtaking manoevoures. It was amazing watching these birds. Such excellent co-ordination between the birds.


You can watch the bird show videos here

There is also a grotto and a maze. The maze which was planted in 1988 with around 2400 trees. When viewed from the centre it looks like a queens crow. We spent quite a lot of time running around in the maze trying hard to figure the way out.





Once you manage to reach the center of the maze you find the entrance to the underground grotto. The grotto has macabre forms and mythical beasts created from wood and shells all with eerie lighting. You walk through the grotto and can exit the maze - back into the gardens.



 

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2 comments :

  1. This place is so pretty, It would be perfect for a family day out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, Nayna. Excellent place to spend a day. Kids will enjoy it as well as adults.

    ReplyDelete

 
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