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Glorious Gardens!

Not yet explored the stunning grounds of Leeds Castle? Then this summer’s the perfect time! And here’s our 5 steps to getting the most out of these gorgeous gardens…

It’s one of the most beautiful castles in the world and offers a year-round calendar of events – which is perhaps why the grounds and gardens of Leeds Castle have traditionally played second fiddle to the main attraction.

But the stunning parkland is itself increasingly coming under the spotlight thanks to a programme of investment and the magic of head gardener and his busy team (yup, we’re talking 500 acres of land here!). If you’ve not yet been summer’s the perfect time – and here’s our 5 steps to getting the most out of these gorgeous gardens…

1. The Woodland Garden

Up by the Main Entrance is The Woodland Garden where in spring you’re greeted by a vibrant burst of colour in a carpet of Daffodils, Narcissi and Anemones. Then, later in the season, comes the splendour of Azaleas and Rhododendrons.

The Woodland Garden is being redeveloped over the course of the next few years into six individual gardens, including The Oriental Garden, The Jungle Garden and The Winter Garden. If you’re taking your parents or any family members that can’t walk too far catch Elsie the Castle Train from the main entrance up to the Castle.

2. The Mediterranean Garden

The Black Swan Ferry Boat takes passengers across the Great Water from the castle drive to the maze and play areas. Take the boat along the River Len which runs through the gardens – a particularly lovely way to approach the Castle and view the grounds. With Tuscan Pines, cactus and sunny palms this space is an architecture of exotic foliage. Sit by the river, close your eyes and you’re in Morocco.

3. The Culpeper Garden

Potter round the corner from the Mediterranean Garden and things get a little more traditional. This gorgeous walled garden screams (or should that be serenades?) romance. Named after the family who owned Leeds Castle in the 17th century; the Culpeper Garden was originally the site of the Castle’s kitchen garden.

4. Yew Tree Maze

If you’ve got kids in tow you’ll want to visit the Yew Maze and a huge adventure playground modelled on the design of Leeds Castle and built entirely in wood. The Mudlets can let off steam through a scale model of the Castle, with opportunities to climb the Maiden’s Tower, scale the revetment wall, joust along an aerial runway, cross the perilous bridge between the New Castle and Gloriette and explore the secret tunnels. Slides, bash bags and rope walkways add to the fun. Older kids will enjoy the challenge of the maze and they’re building a version for younger kiddies to open in 2019.

5. Refreshments!

Nature-lovers, families and explorers young and old can finish the day off with a visit to the restaurant or coffee shop for freshly made sandwiches, paninis, cakes and pastries or a cream tea.

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Kent