Must see Castles on your visit to Kent
As a coastal county, Kent has its fair share of castles that bear testament to its long, and often turbulent, history. From austere Norman strongholds to more homely constructions, we take a look at seven castles in Kent that are well worth a visit.
Perched on the famous white cliffs and dating back to the 12th century, Dover Castle has played a major part in the defence of England. It withstood siege by Prince Louis of France, faced the threat of invasion by Napoleon and was the hub from which Operation Dynamo was conducted. Today, the medieval chambers, wartime tunnels, underground hospital can all be discovered.
One of the oldest castles to visit in Britain, Canterbury Castle was begun by William the Conqueror in 1070 and served as a prison in the 14th century before falling to ruin in the 1800s. Although little remains of the interior, visitors can explore the towers and gardens for free.
Built as an artillery fortress during Henry VIII’s reign, Deal Castle defended the Downs naval anchorage for over 250 years and endured siege during the Civil War. Later, it became a refined residence and today there is plenty to explore, from the storerooms to the captain’s residence.
Best known as the childhood residence of Anne Boleyn, Hever’s homely feel belies its central part in a tumultuous period in Tudor history, which saw fundamental changes to British religion. It was renovated and extended in the 20th century by William Waldorf Astor and now contains an exceptional collection of Tudor portraits, as well as Anne Boleyn’s annotated prayer books.
Formerly the private property of no fewer than six of England’s medieval queens, Leeds Castle has an impressive history spanning 1,000 years. It has played host over the centuries to everyone from King Henry VIII to Jacqueline Kennedy. Today its attractions include the sumptuous rooms of the castle itself, extensive gardens, a falconry and a maze.
This Norman stronghold stands inside the city walls of Roman Rochester and dates back to the 1080s, when it was used to command a river crossing. It withstood siege by King John in 1215 and held Robert the Bruce’s wife captive a century later. Although it fell into ruin in the 17th century, it remains an important reminder of medieval secular power.
With a 13th century gatehouse that remains largely intact, Tonbridge is a fine example of a Motte and Bailey castle. Like Rochester, it was taken by King John in 1215, but was uninhabited for almost three centuries before a mansion was added 1793. Today visitors can enjoy stories of rebellion, murder and marriage on a guided tour of the castle.
Visit Kent’s famous medieval castles
If you’re planning to explore any of the above castles in Kent, why not book a stay at the Marquis at Alkham? Using our luxury hotel as a base, you’ll have easy access to many of the fortresses on this list. Contact us today to book a room.