Castles are a staple of English history, and Kent is home to some of the most majestic ones.
Whether you’re a traveller looking for an exciting day out or simply interested in England’s heritage, there’s something for everyone in the castles of Kent!
Let’s take a tour.
This Article Contains:
- 10 Must-Visit Castles in Kent
10 Must-Visit Castles in Kent
About 30 castles in Kent are in a great state of repair and are open to visitors. We’ve listed out the 10 most breathtaking castles you must visit!
1. Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle looks like something out of a fairytale! The beautiful Castle is surrounded by a moat and has a drawbridge. The Castle has been home to many royalties, including Henry VIII.
Now that it’s open to the public, visitors can explore the grounds, including the gardens and maze. There’s also a falconry display and a boat trip around the moat.
Kent is regarded as ‘the garden of England,’ and it’s easy to see why when you visit Leeds Castle. The Castle is set on 500 acres of parkland, and its grounds are well worth exploring.
2. Hever Castle
The beautiful and historic Hever Castle dates back to the 13th century and is set in 125 acres of gardens. The Castle was once the home of Anne Boleyn, one of King Henry VIII’s wives.
Hever Castle was once the home of Anne Boleyn, one of King Henry VIII’s wives.
Now that Hever Castle is open to the public, it’s a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the grounds, take a boat ride on the lake, or visit the Hever Castle Museum. There is also a children’s playground on-site.
3. Dover Castle
The impressive Dover Castle was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. The Castle was originally built as a fortress to protect England from invasion.
Back in the day, the Castle was used as a royal palace, a prison, and a military base. Its rich history outlines how the structure was used as a defence against the French during the Hundred Years War. Today, it’s open to visitors as a tourist attraction.
Visitors can explore the Castle’s many rooms and towers and the on-site museum.
4. Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle is a fantastic example of Norman architecture. The keep, or main tower, is particularly impressive and was built in the 12th century.
The Castle has a fascinating history and was even besieged by King John in 1215! Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction and worth visiting if you’re in the area.
5. Walmer Castle and Gardens
The Castle was built in 1539 by Henry VIII as a defense against invasion from France and the Catholic powers. It has been used as a royal home, a prison, and a home for retired soldiers.
Capability Brown, a famous English gardener, landscaped the gardens in the 18th century.
Today, Walmer Castle is open to the public. The gardens are particularly popular in the summer months when visitors can enjoy the flowers, the views, and the quiet.
6. Tonbridge Castle
William the Conqueror constructed this beautiful Castle in the 11th century. Over the centuries, it was used as a stronghold, prison, and royal palace. Today, the castle is open to the public as a tourist attraction.
The keep, or main tower, is the most notable feature of Tonbridge Castle. It stands at over 30 metres tall and is the largest surviving keep in England. The Castle also has a 13th-century chapel, which is still used for worship today.
If you’re interested in English history, Tonbridge Castle is worth visiting. It’s a great example of Norman architecture and gives you a sense of life in medieval times.
7. Scotney Castle
Scotney Castle is a beautiful 14th-century castle located in the county of Kent in England. The Castle has been owned by the National Trust since 1974 and is open to the public all year round.
The Castle is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty and is surrounded by gardens, parkland, and a mediaeval moat.
There’s lots to do at Scotney Castle, including taking a tour of the castle grounds, exploring the gardens, and visiting the on-site museum. There’s also a cafe and a local produce shop on-site.
8. Upnor Castle
Upnor Castle is a Tudor artillery fort located on the River Medway in Kent. Built between 1559 and 1567 by Queen Elizabeth I, it was designed to protect the new naval dockyard at Chatham from attacks.
The Castle was attacked during the Dutch Raid on the Medway in 1667, leaving it partially dismantled. It’s been managed by English Heritage since 1984 and is open to the public.
Today, you can explore the castle’s grounds and interiors. The castle also hosts several cultural events throughout the year, including reenactments, musical performances, and historical exhibitions.
9. Deal Castle
Deal Castle is a medieval one situated in the town of Deal, Kent. It was built by order of King Henry VIII in 1539 and was designed by the Italian engineer Giacomo Leoni. It’s considered one of the finest examples of Tudor military architecture in England.
Deal Castle fell into ruin during the English Civil War when Parliamentarians held it. It was restored in the late 19th century and is now a popular tourist attraction.
Visitors can explore the castle’s defenses and climb to the top of the keep for views of the coast.
10. Lullingstone Castle
Lullingstone Castle is built in the Tudor style and is one of the most well-preserved castles in England. The Castle has several fascinating features, including a Great Hall used for entertaining guests and an ancient yew tree, which is over 500 years old.
Explore the Castle grounds and gardens, which are beautifully landscaped, or take a tour of the house itself. The Castle also has a café and shop, making it the perfect place to spend a day in Kent.