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Exploring the 10 Best Castles in Kent for a Majestic Getaway

Kent, often referred to as the ‘Garden of England’, is not only famous for its picturesque landscapes and Kent campsites but also for its rich historical tapestry, woven through its numerous castles.

These castles, set against the backdrop of Kent’s lush countryside, make for an ideal family getaway, especially for those who enjoy the adventure of air tents for family camping.

Here are the top 10 castles in Kent, each offering a unique glimpse into England’s regal and turbulent past.

Leeds Castle

Dubbed ‘the loveliest castle in the world’, Leeds Castle is a sight to behold.

Surrounded by a serene moat, the castle’s history spans over 900 years.

It has been a Norman stronghold, the private property of six of England’s medieval queens, and a palace used by Henry VIII.

Today, visitors can explore its lavishly decorated rooms, wander through its maze, and enjoy falconry displays.

The castle’s grounds are perfect for family picnics, and the nearby campsites offer a delightful stay under the stars.

Hever Castle

This 13th-century castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife. Hever Castle is a double-moated gem that boasts stunning gardens, including a 38-acre lake and a 110-acre woodland.

The castle’s interior is a treasure trove of Tudor history, with an impressive collection of Tudor portraits, furniture, and tapestries.

The annual events, like jousting tournaments, bring history to life, making it a perfect destination for a family outing.

Dover Castle

Commanding the shortest sea crossing between England and the continent, Dover Castle has been strategically important for over 2,000 years.

Known as the ‘Key to England’, this medieval fortress offers secret wartime tunnels, the Great Tower, and stunning views of the English Channel.

The castle’s interactive exhibits and vivid historical reenactments make it an educational and entertaining visit for all ages.

Rochester Castle

Standing tall over the River Medway, Rochester Castle is famous for having one of the tallest keeps in England.

This 12th-century fortress bears the scars of many sieges and battles throughout its history.

Visitors can explore the castle’s ancient walls and enjoy panoramic views from the top of the keep.

The castle’s grounds are ideal for family picnics, and its proximity to Rochester’s charming town centre offers additional attractions.

Walmer Castle

Built by Henry VIII in 1539, Walmer Castle was originally designed as an artillery fortress.

Over the centuries, it has evolved into an elegant stately home and was the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens, including the Queen Mother’s Garden, a woodland walk, and a kitchen garden.

The interactive exhibits and well-preserved rooms offer a glimpse into the castle’s varied history.

Deal Castle

One of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England, Deal Castle was also built by Henry VIII.

Its unique flower-like design was cutting-edge for its time.

Today, visitors can explore the storerooms, captain’s residence, and the bastions.

The castle’s seaside location makes it a perfect spot for a leisurely day out, with the charming town of Deal nearby offering quaint shops and cafes.

Tonbridge Castle

A fine example of a Motte-and-Bailey castle, Tonbridge Castle boasts a rich history dating back to the Norman Conquest.

The castle’s well-preserved gatehouse is a highlight, offering an interactive audio tour that brings its history to life.

The castle grounds are a peaceful retreat, with beautiful views over the River Medway, making it a perfect spot for family outings and picnics.

Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle offers a unique two-in-one experience – the romantic ruins of a medieval moated castle and a Victorian country mansion.

Set in a beautiful wooded estate, the castle’s picturesque landscape gardens are a delight to explore.

The castle hosts various events throughout the year, making it a dynamic and engaging destination for visitors of all ages.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

While not a castle in the traditional sense, Sissinghurst’s fame lies in its stunning gardens, created by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson.

The gardens are designed as a series of ‘rooms’, each with its own unique character.

The estate also includes the remains of an Elizabethan manor house, offering a peaceful and picturesque setting for visitors.

Upnor Castle

Overlooking the River Medway, Upnor Castle is a rare example of an Elizabethan artillery fort.

Its history is closely tied to the naval dockyard at Chatham.

Visitors can explore the gun platforms and magazine buildings, and learn about the castle’s role in the Dutch raid on the Medway in 1667.

The castle’s riverside location offers stunning views and a tranquil setting for a leisurely visit.

Each of these castles in Kent not only offers a journey through England’s rich history but also provides a picturesque backdrop for a memorable family outing.

Whether you’re camping in the lush Kent countryside or exploring the grandeur of these historic fortresses, Kent’s castles are sure to leave a lasting impression.

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