micbinks - UK holiday, leisure & tourist attraction images

UK Tourist & Leisure Attractions - Kent

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Kent Holiday June 2013 - page 1

Kent has more historic castles than you can shake a stick at - or should that be shoot a bow and arrow at!  We visited two of them while holidaying in Kent, Leeds Castle and Bodiam Castle.  At Leeds we got lost in the magnificent maze and at Bodiam arrived via the wonderful Kent and East Sussex Railway, a preserved steam railway that runs from Tenterden to Bodiam.
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Kent 1 | Kent 2 | Kent 3

Leeds Castle surrounded by a natural lake
We kicked off with a car-free day on day one of our Kent holiday, walking to Leeds Castle from our holiday cottage in nearby Hollingbourne.  As you can see, Leeds Castle is in a glorious setting surrounded by a natural lake and is...

Visitors near the entrance to Leeds Castle in Kent
...one of the most visited historic buildings in Britain.  And we can confirm Leeds Castle is in Kent, not Leeds, despite the name!  We first headed in to tour the castle's many splendid state rooms reflecting the Medieval and Tudor periods...

Small courtyard within Leeds Castle in Kent
...passing by this delightful medieval courtyard on our self-paced tour before heading on to...

Leeds Castle: Henry VIII's banqueting hall
...Henry VIII's banqueting hall.  Now that guy got everywhere and frequently pops up on our travels.  We could just imagine the riotous laughter and merrymaking as the serving wenches served up yet another dish.  The ebony floor was sprung for dancing and the carved Caen fireplace originates from the 16th century and came from a French chateau.

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The state rooms in Leeds Castle, Kent
Here's Lady Baillie's bedroom, complete with Louis XIV-style panelling.  She was the last private owner of Leeds Castle before leaving it to a charitable trust in 1974 after her death.  We were delighted photography was allowed around Leeds Castle's state rooms, as so many of these sort of places don't permit it.

Leeds Castle Maze entrance
Next we made our way through the castle's colourful Culpeper and Lady Baillie gardens to get lost in the Leeds Castle Maze, comprised of 2,400 yew trees.  Apparently, the average time taken to get through the maze is just 20 minutes; we took about twice that!  Anyway, eventually...

Leeds Castle Maze centre
...we emerged at the maze centre, called the mound.  Although the maze at Leeds Castle is square shaped, from the mound it looks circular - amazing!  Then the exit from the maze was through...

Inside Leeds Castle maze underground grotto
...an eerie underground grotto full of mythical beasts such as this guy, Typhoeus.  The scary grotto was created out of shells, minerals and wood and enhanced by some well-designed mood lighting.

Elsie, the Leeds Castle dotto train trundling past
Leeds Castle adult entry cost 21 at the time of our visit with tickets valid for a year; this also covered the extensive gardens, maze, falconry demos, moat punting and this castle train, called Elsie.

Kent and East Sussex Railway, Tenterden Station
We often manage to get a preserved railway ride in on our holidays and so we headed to Tenterden for a trip on the Kent and East Sussex Railway (KESR) to Bodiam (cost 15).  Our outward journey was on...

Diesel railcar at Bodiam on the Kent and East Sussex Railway
...this diesel railcar (er, a DMU Class 108 to be exact), seen here on arrival at Bodiam.  The KESR extended the track to Bodiam in 2000.  OK, back to...

Boarding the KESR train at Tenterden Station
...Tenterden then and Mike excitedly boarded the KESR vintage train carriage.  Can you spot the water tower used to fill the steam locomotives on the right?

Travelling in a vintage carriage on the KESR in Kent
It's about a 50 minute ride through the Kent countryside between Tenterden and Bodiam, passing through Rolvenden and Northiam along the way.

Driver's view on the KESR
Mike headed up the train carriage to get this shot of the driver and the railway track ahead.  Now this isn't a view you can get on the steam hauled train!

Kent and East Sussex Railway steam locomotive passing
However, we did enjoy watching the steam service of the Kent and East Sussex Railway hissing and spitting as it came by the other way at a passing point.  Wonderful!

Entrance to Bodiam Castle in Kent
We combined our ride on the Kent and East Sussex Railway with a visit to the moated 14th-century Bodiam Castle, which entitled us to a reduced entry price from the usual 6.70.

Bodiam Castle's courtyard
Unlike Leeds Castle earlier, Bodiam Castle is preserved in ruins which can be explored with the help of the (included) guide sheet.

Bodiam Castle interior
We headed up the narrow spiral staircases to the castle's interior rooms which were rather bare save for a few information boards.  Several spiral...

Bodiam Castle, Kent: looking down to the courtyard
...staircases and ramparts later we reached the battlements high in the huge towers offering a magnificent view down to Bodiam Castle's courtyard.  But all too soon it was time to return to...

Chuffing along on the Kent and East Sussex Railway
...Bodiam Station for the ride back on the KESR, this time steam hauled.  There's more Kent heritage on our next page where we visit Chatham Dockyard and Herne Bay's Reculver Tower >>>

Previously in Kent we've visited Canterbury Catherdral and Dover Castle, and the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway.