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Review of Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle
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Leeds Castle, including entrance and Canterbury
Ranked #4 of 57 things to do in Maidstone
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Considered one of the most romantic castles in England, this historic site was originally the stately home of the Saxon royal family during the reign of Ethelbert IV in 856-860.
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Reviewed January 18, 2018

Had been wanting to visit Leeds Castle for years and unfortunately on the day in question it was dull and cold. However on the upside, the number of visitors was evidently going to be low from the lack of cars in the car park. My friend and I were shocked to be charged £25 for adult entrance which did not even include a leaflet to tell us the basic facts about the place! A small map was given to ensure we didn't get lost, but I would not expect to pay that amount for entry and then be required to cough up a further £1 for a flimsy leaflet or £5 for a printed brochure. We hoped to find a cosy place for a warming coffee but were again disappointed to find that a Costa was on offer which I feel belongs in a shopping street not in a place of history and heritage. On entry into the castle we were directed to a small display area with background information and this was a useful start point but the rest of the building, although very interesting architecturally, was disappointingly bland. There was no real sense of social history and the use of some of the bedrooms for conference delegates - requiring the stripping out of any valuable items - just served to sanitise the presentation. We were glad we visited, but I feel they could take do with giving the place more of a human touch and including more information about how, for example, previous residents lived there, were supported by staff, how the staff functioned in such a place etc in order to bring it all to life. The dressing room of the last owner had a few shoes in a cupboard but it all felt so bland. There are lots of egs of National Trust properties bringing properties, that don't necessarily have a lot of exhibits, to life using creative ideas to give them a USP and with a much lower entrance fee. Notwithstanding my appreciation of the fact that there must be huge running costs at Leeds Castle, I would recommend that they step back and look at the offering with fresh eyes. The range of overpriced and on the whole tacky souvenirs in the two shops again left us disappointed. It they are trying to wow overseas visitors on a package tour with a quick snapshot of English history and the chance to buy a memento then no doubt it hits the spot, but for me it is not somewhere I would return in order to try and get value for money out of my entrance fee !

1  Thank Moyworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shane G, Manager at Leeds Castle, responded to this reviewResponded January 22, 2018

Thank you for the feedback on your recent visit to Leeds Castle, and for coming out on a dull day as well.

Leeds Castle is an independent charity and is run without any additional grant income. Every penny from your admission fee, plus the Gift Aid if relevant to you, goes into maintaining this near 900-year old estate. Our admission fees are benchmarked against similar heritage destinations and our aim is always to give value for money throughout the year - with your ticket now grating you free admission for 12 months so that you can return to enjoy the castle, grounds and gardens through the different seasons. Your tickets also include many events, such as Easter, Motors by the Moat, Jousting, Flower Festival and Christmas.

Leeds Castle has had a varied 900-year history, but much of what you see today dates to the early 1920s when it was owned by Lady Baillie. The management team is currently working with interpretation consultants to look in to innovative ways in which we can tell some of the other stories of the castle's history - adding more and more layers to your visit through traditional and modern methods.

Our shops are stocked with merchandise aimed at all our audiences. We do have a lot of tourists, but we are confident in the quality of the stock and its relevance to tourists, domestic visitors and locals alike. But this is an area of many opinions and we respect yours.

Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to review Leeds Castle and, through your visit, supporting the work of the Leeds Castle Foundation.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"beautiful grounds"
in 182 reviews
"lady baillie"
in 60 reviews
"fairfax restaurant"
in 59 reviews
"black swans"
in 105 reviews
"falconry display"
in 136 reviews
"dog collar museum"
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"birds of prey"
in 125 reviews
"annual ticket"
in 81 reviews
"costa coffee"
in 50 reviews
"car park"
in 165 reviews
"stately home"
in 38 reviews
"ticket price"
in 46 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 97 reviews
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177 - 181 of 3,974 reviews

Reviewed January 15, 2018

Be prepared for a bit of a walk to get to the castle but once you see it, you know the walk is worth it. Extensive grounds and gardens plus a moat surround this glorious castle. Knowledgeable staff are in many rooms to answer questions. The extensive history of the castle is timelined in the first room you enter. The decor is from more recent owners but still very interesting.

Thank magpiegirl036
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 14, 2018 via mobile

It is a but pricy but given that you can go back as many times as you want in a year with the same ticket is great if you don't live too far afield. The grounds are beautiful especially around spring with all the daffodils. The adventure playground was really good for the kids and something for all ages with the larger playground and the smaller one. The maze is really fun, it will be great when the mini one is finished. We missed the bird show but it was lovely seeing them after. The castle was great from what I could see, there was a lot and I'm talking hundreds of French students in there which made it very claustrophobic for me personally so I whizzed round as fast as possible. There are also the most beautiful black swans here. It is well worth a visit.

Thank King-of-pink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 13, 2018 via mobile

We had a very disappointing meal served on the night of December 31st.

The food portions were woefully small, the food lacked taste and the presentation was awful.

The Castle clearly spent a lot of money on various peripheral things to entertain the guests, but arguably the most important part of the evening - the dinner - was a complete let down.

The Castle charge a premium rate for the New Year event - and in return the guests should receive a exemplary service. In our eyes they failed.

We will not be attending that expensive event again.

1  Thank Triumphexplore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shane G, Manager at Leeds Castle, responded to this reviewResponded January 16, 2018

It is always our aim to exceed our guests expectations and to offer a memorable experience when dining at Leeds Castle. We are truly sorry this was not the case in your experience.

We will be reviewing the portion size offered at future functions, but feel the quality and presentation of the dishes was, as always, of a high standard.

We are thrilled to note that 20% of the guests who attended the New Year's Eve event have already re-booked for the next year's party.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us directly and on line with your feedback.

We will be taking this into account and look forward to providing an even better party for New Year's Eve 2018.

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Reviewed January 13, 2018 via mobile

Very good gardens and grounds to explore with a abundance of birdlife, rivers and lakes. Castle itself is amazing wall back in time.

The food is where it goes down hill fast, at the back of the grounds is the food courtyard with a restaurant and cafe. Restaurant prices are ok, at around £10 per main but the choice is dyer. The cafe is the worst food is very over priced (£5 for a mediocre sandwich) posh looking crisps which are nothing special, unexciting cake/cookies again £3 a pop and Costa coffee chain which can't seem to serve a latte correctly.

Overall bring. Picnic. Spending £20 on entertainment and then same again on a small lunch isn't worth it.

Thank Ben W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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