What is Leeds Castle grounds & gardens UK like now it has reopened with Covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Leeds Castle grounds and gardens in about 10 minutes.
We look at ticket prices pre and post covid, and surprisingly, there isn’t much difference (but they were always reasonable value to begin with).
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Both flats, Broadstairs and Margate are about 75-90 minutes east of London UK. Margate has a LEGO themed Holiday Lets / Airbnb Short Term Stay awith a LEGO Wall. Broadstairs has an iconic red London bus bunk bed (at time of recording).
Time codes to the Video:
0:36 Pre Booked Tickets & Queueing – So Stupid
1:25 Favourite Castle?! One Way System Loop
1:45 Leeds Castle History
2:42 Leeds Castle Main Entrance Pathway
3:10 What is Open at Leeds Castle?
3:17 What is Closed at Leeds Castle?
3:32 The Knights Stronghold Adventure Playground
4:35 Birds of Prey Centre & Garden Maze & Grotto
5:45 Walking Loop back to Leeds Castle
6:20 Picturesque Views of Leeds Castle
7:40 The Barbican & Fortified Mill & Punting
9:12 Leeds Castle UK – Is it Worth it?
9:44 Sedway Tours
10:45 Summing up and concluding
Transcript from the Show
G’day Everyone, Matt Elder of Family Bricks here. What is Leeds Castle UK like now it has reopened with covid 19 measures in place? Is it worth going, what has changed, what is the experience like etc.? We will cover this in the video and give our thoughts and firsthand experience as a family. We will do a full tour of Leeds Castle grounds and gardens in about 10 minutes.
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We spent the day at Leeds Castle UK August 2nd, 2020 – 4 weeks after it reopened. So it has had some time to bed in the new corona virus safety guidelines and we’ll give you a sense of if Leeds Castle is worth visiting. On the screen you can see the names of different attractions pop up as we go past them.
Pre Booked Tickets & Queueing – So Stupid
You have to have pre-booked tickets and show them to the carpark wardens to even get into the carpark.
Then you have to join the socially distanced queue and pre-covid peak times it was never like this. This was about a 15 minute queue. You had your ticket scanned, then had to give them another reference number and annual number, and collect wrist bands. Its all a nonsense. This isn’t due to Corona, this is due to stupidity.
You’ve booked online, paid and have tickets with barcodes on your phone. Why does it have to be so complicated?
Favourite Castle?! One Way System Loop
That said, Leeds Castle is probably one of our favourite castles to visit and we have been here many times, even stayed overnight.
The Leeds Castle grounds in general have a one way loop, particularly at the entrance / exit. Some sections are closed off and the train tractor that normally runs isn’t running. So as you’ll see here as we go along, it can be a fair bit of walking, so those with mobility issues might struggle.
Leeds Castle History
Leeds castle is over 900 years old so has had many functions, owners and remodelling over the years. Its current appearance dates from 1823 in the Tudor style. Henry VIII transformed the castle in 1519 for his first wife Catherine of Aragon. It has had many owners in the meantime.
The last owner was Lady Baillie as at the time of her death, Estate Duty was running at an eye watering 85%. So the castle went into the Leeds Castle Foundation but very quickly became apparent the cost of running the estate were significant. Thus in 1975 the gardens were open to the public and in 1976, the castle was open to the public.
The grounds are fantastic so can you take dogs to Leeds Castle? The only dogs that are permitted are assistance dogs for visually and hearing impaired.
Where is Leeds Castle located? Leeds Castle is 40miles souths east from the center of London.
Leeds Castle Main Entrance Pathway
Now we’ve had a healthy walk across the grounds and gotten our step count up for the day, were are coming up to the main path leading into the castle itself.
Later in the video we’ll come back and check out the castle from several sides, the moat, the Barbican and Fortified Mill. Having little kids, the only thing they care about is the playground… a playground is never too far to walk to for little kids. The adventure playground is on the side furthest from the main entrance, so off we continue.
You do kinda get to walk through Culpeper Garden so it would be borderline as to whether it is open or not.
What is currently open at Leeds Castle?
At time of filming, The Adventure Playgrounds, Bird of Prey Centre, Adventure Golf and Gardens were all open.
What is currently closed at Leeds Castle?
The Castle, Maze, Falconry Arena/Displays, Punting, Dog Collar Museum, Gatehouse Exhibition, Black Swan Ferry and Castle Train are all closed at the moment. Some are meant to be reopening in the coming weeks and months. Check Leeds castle website for the latest.
So there is a lot more closed than open.
The Knights Stronghold Adventure Playground
Into the Knights Stronghold that was refurbished a couple of years back and it done really well. The front elevation is done as a mock Leeds Castle, so that is a nice touch. This is for kids up to 14 years old and there is another area for kids under 6, equally as well done.
Right next to the playground is Adventure Golf which too is also only a year or so old. Shown here there isn’t many people here but come back in a couple of hours, there were groups on every hole. Back to the playground walk through.
The playground has 3 levels, multiple entrances and easily accessible by an adult. On a really warm day like today, the elevated sections had a really nice breeze passing through it and helped to keep things cool.
There is a secondary area to the rear of the playground that has a flying fox. The kids naturally loved this and had a couple of goes on it. Go number 1 and go number 2. So out of the rabbit warren of a castle playground and onto the next attraction for the kids.
A general picnic area and ice cream shop. We head on past the Adventure Golf we saw from the Castle Playground area. Up to the gate the leads onto the accommodation and glamping area.
Birds of Prey Centre & Garden Maze & Grotto
This is all new, you have a Birds of Prey Centre. You’ve got your birds and your owls, all either in cages or sitting on the ground stumps there. Definitely worthwhile checking out. A number of birds here just hanging out, chillaxing … a couple more over here.
Just a quick time-lapse walk through of the Birds of Prey Centre.
So right next to the Birds of Prey Centre, you’ve got the garden maze, which is currently closed but you can sort of see normally, entrance over here, try to figure out how to get in, so you come up to the top there, and you actually drop down, go out and the exit is out the other side. Ashame its not open … good way to loose the kids.
From here go past the maze on the other side. They actually had fruit trees here like apple trees. Don’t recall these being here previously.
So this is it here the Maze and Grotto entrance. Normally when it is open you just go in and start your maze. And then you actually end up coming out. Once you go through and find the center bit, you go down it, under the ground and come out over here.
Walking Loop back to Leeds Castle
So now we’ve are going to start the loop back towards the Leeds Castle, which is on the upper area. So you’ll see that no one is walking towards the camera. It does feel a little more constricted than normal not being able to choose your own path.
About to head into the Culpeper garden which you can usually walk through. While there are 3 different routes, they feel more like passage ways than a chance to take your time and have a look around the garden.
Out into the Stable Courtyard which also has accommodation. The boys managed to find a white albino like peacock. We’ll head out of the Stable Courtyard and find some really picturesque views of Leeds Castle.
Picturesque Views of Leeds Castle
There is a moat going all the way around the castle and on a bright sunny day like today, create great water reflections.
And here you have Leeds Castle. You’ve got the main part of it there, and the maidens Tower there, and another section over here, which has a drawbridge back in the day, and the main military fort garason there. Beautiful day for it here.
And over the back there, you’ve got a 9 hole golf course, which then wraps around up here.
So we’ll take a walk back around to the front entrance of Leeds Castle itself. Coming up on the left are the birds that people feed, which come out of the lake on the other side of the path.
Its always amazing to look at these buildings that have stood for hundreds of year.
So the main part of the castle at the moment is obviously closed. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we will be staying in there and do a video on that.
The Barbican & Fortified Mill & Punting
We come over the other side here and the same sort of thing, the Barbican and the Fortified Mill out the front too., but that is also closed.
And usually in summer in the moat, you’d have punting where somebody would be taking you around in a little tiny boat just around the moating telling you the history, which is always great. Glorious day for it.
Now we are going to head around the side of the moat and have a look at Leeds Castle from a different angle.
Coming up on the left will be the Pavilion Lawn. It’s a great open space and last year they had a stage setup and we watched a performance of Alice in Wonderland. You’d bring your own chairs and picnic and that was great. But not this year.
Up this little embankment and what do we see?!
So here you have the other side of Leeds Castle. So that second part there. The main fortifications back in the day you had a draw bridge there. So the main manor, Maidens Tower, and then the main entrance so youd have the soldiers and that would be there, got the moat here, there other bits there.
So you know they could have access there and if they got overrun , the could then go back into the castle. But also too, that there, that funnels everyone into one killing zone, for back in the day.
Look at that, that really is quite something. Had a friend get married here a number of years ago and a wonderful space for it – even did a watercolor painting with a vintage car in front of the Leeds C astle.
So Leeds Castle, is it worth it?
At the moment if you buy a ticket, it normally gives you an annual pass. At the moment that has been extended to 15 months. So easy to come now, and again next spring and summer and really get value. Unlike some other castles, there isn’t an additional surcharge to get access to the castle. Family annual passes are reasonably priced at £80.
It bills itself as the loveliest castle and given some of the shots you’ve just seen, it’s a fair claim to make. We happily come at least once a year and is about 40 minute drive from where we live.
At the moment, numbers are really restricted. On a nice sunny day like today, that is quite welcome, and it didn’t feel like people were on top of you and still plenty of space to be socially distanced and enjoy. How long that is sustainable is a completely different question as ticket prices seemed comparable to last year but a fraction a number the people at the attraction.
Quite a number of the food shops felt closed or restricted so might be worth a thought to bring a picnic lunch like we did. There is a Tesco Superstore about 4 miles away that I think is a 24 hour one so can always grab some pre-prepared sandwiches on the way.
As with many UK attractions, get in early as crowds build throughout the day, but numbers are way down when compared with previous years.
There really weren’t a great number of people wearing faces masks. Certainly they were in the shops that were open. We did a visit to Hever Castle a week prior, (click around the video for that), and felt more people there were wearing face masks at Hever Castle, but that still wasn’t a huge number of people.
Summing up and Concluding
So is Leeds Castle still worth a day out? I’d have to say so, I would really like to see more of it open and hopefully it will be in the coming weeks and months.
What do you think? Would you go? If you’ve been, what did you think? Sound off in the comments below.
Maybe you fancy a stay at Leeds Castle accommodation, check out our video here. If you’d like to check out Hever Castle grounds in under 5 minutes for a comparison, check out this video.
Alternatively here are some other videos you might be interested in. That’s it from us here at Family Bricks, hit that thumbs up if you found something useful in this video and thanks for watching. Until next time when we talk about all things lifestyle.
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