Castles in Kent
Spend a few days touring the magnificent Norman castles in Kent and visit some of the many grand stately homes to find the sumptuous real-life settings for the dramatic love intrigues of King Henry VIII, The Defender of the Faith, the head of the Church, a title which is still represented on every British coin today, and learn how royal romance altered the course of English history forever.
Our Tours of the Realm will take you on journeys through the centuries from fairy tales to fortresses, and you will witness history come to life in front to your very eyes as we explore some of the oldest and most fascinating castles in England. Our tour itineraries are custom designed to the preferences of our clients, and they vary from tour to tour but these magnificent examples of Kent castles are not to be missed.
Castles in Kent
Dubbed as the ‘loveliest castle in the world’, the fairy-tale moated Leeds Castle is built on two islands in the middle of a stunning lake, and it is a must see for all visitors. Listed in the Domesday Book, this castle is steeped in ancient history. It has been a Norman stronghold, a royal residence, and a royal palace since 857AD and it is home to a myriad of invaluable art, artefacts, and fables. Leeds Castle is a Tours of the Realm favourite.
Explore the most iconic of all English cliff-top fortresses, Dover Castle, proudly standing on top of the White Cliffs overlooking the Straights of Dover. It has commanded the gateway to the realm for almost nine centuries and it has played an important part in guarding Britain against invaders.
Dover Castle is described as the ‘Key to England’ due to its defensive significance throughout history, a fascinating English Heritage site with an incredible 2000 years of history in one location. Dover Castle is the largest castle in England and it has withstood many sieges over the centuries to protect the Crown, such as the invasion of Prince Louis of France in the 13th century. Immerse yourself in history and roam through the centuries from the Romans all the way to the Cold War.
Kent boasts many exquisite Henry VIII castles such as Walmer Castle, which was originally a Tudor fortress but it later transformed into a stately home for the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports, and it became the residence of famous names such as the Duke of Wellington and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, to name a few. Take a tour through the castle and browse the exhibition which brings to life Wellington’s career, his story of life and death, and you can even cast eyes on the very first, original Wellington boots!
Another well-preserved Henry VIII castle is Deal Castle, which is one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England and among the earliest and most elaborate of a chain of coastal forts, which also includes Calshot, Camber, Walmer and Pendennis Castles. Spend a fascinating day exploring the whole castle from the dark passages beneath the bastion, (which gets wet but complimentary wellies are supplied), to the storerooms, kitchens, captain’s residence and beyond, and get a real feel for Europe in the 16th century by immersing yourself in the life of the people who lived and worked here for over four hundred years.
The most powerful characters of English history come alive between the walls of Deal Castle as you listen to the stories about Henry VIII and how his fears for the safety of his realm shaped England’s defences and his own married life. Deal Castle is a real gem for a day out for the whole family and the large imposing structure and the walls make you feel like you have stepped into the Middle Ages.
For an example of a romantic picture-perfect castle with great character and lots of nooks and crannies to explore, look no further than Bodiam Castle. This magnificent thirteenth-century castle is surrounded by a full moat which is home to the most enormous carp, it has a long access bridge and boasts the oldest portcullis in the world. Although only the outer walls still stand intact, this castle is well worth a visit for the young and the old. Climb the towers to amazing heights and marvel at the surrounding breath-taking countryside and nearby vineyards.
Experience 700 years of history at the romantic double-moated Hever Castle, and enjoy this charming place whatever the weather. Hever Castle was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the intriguing and ill-fated second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I. This 13th century castle is a real gem for history lovers as it is steeped in portraits, paintings, furniture, tapestry, treasures, and two prayer books inscribed and signed by Anne Boleyn herself. The castle tour is enhanced by the magnificent gardens which delight the sense through every season. Soak up the beauty of the Italian, Rose, and Tudor gardens and topiary, and take a leisurely stroll around Anne Boleyn’s Walk and the Sunday Walk. Visitors of all ages can enjoy trying their hand at archery here and the challenge of finding their way through the Water Maze and the 100-year-old Yew Maze.
Why come on a Tour of the Realm with us?
Although we offer tours further afield, and we are always delighted to put a perfect tour together anywhere in England based on our clients wish-list and preferences, we are proud to be from Kent, this most wonderful part of England, and as passionate historians with a deep affection for this place, we take great delight in imparting our knowledge and passion on visitors to our shores.
What sets us apart from other tour operators is that we offer a personalized and holistic experience to our clients to be immersed in British culture and to learn how centuries of history has shaped who we are as a nation.
Our tours retrace the steps of our ancestors from thousands of years ago, and visitors are introduced to churches, castles, cathedrals, stately homes, gardens and orchards that have been immaculately preserved over the centuries and have served many purposes to this day.
Our tours will take our clients to places where the first Christians worshipped on these shores, follow in the pilgrims’ footprints to Canterbury Cathedral, visit castles and fortresses that have witnessed the rise and fall of powerful kings and queens, and learn how the ingenuity of our ancestors utilized the natural defences of our stunning coastline to make Britain the most powerful nation throughout the ages, all the way to the World Wars.
You will hear stories, which cannot be found in history books and you will soak up the glorious Kent countryside as we travel through charming little villages and green rolling hills, stopping by to sample quintessentially English treats along the way with plenty of photo opportunities. We are expert guides in castles, cathedrals, medieval architecture, World War histories, and the beautiful English countryside with the ‘hold your breath’ narrow country lanes between tall hedgerows.
Our tours are designed with the greatest care, with our clients’ wishes in mind, and it always takes place at a leisurely pace in the luxury of your guide’s car who makes every tour exciting, interesting, stress-free, but most importantly full of fun and humour. We have intricate knowledge of the best places to stay and eat in Kent and the surrounding area, and we are always happy to make further suggestions for you to take advantage of your limited time in England.
We are professional and punctual, and with a great eye for detail when it comes to our clients’ requirements. We like to think that we always go the extra mile to ensure that you have a memorable experience in England.
Our clients often say that our tours are the highlight of their holidays and on occasion the trip of a lifetime because they could walk around the old barracks where their late father was based during WW2, a profoundly emotional experience for them, or sit in the pews of an ancient church where their ancestors worshipped hundreds of years ago.
Our tours are packed full of information and detail but they are also conducted with a great sense of humour and lightness to ensure that our days together are enjoyable and memorable.
These pages only offer ideas and examples of places of interest to visit but please get in contact with us with your preferences here in Kent or further afield and we would be delighted to put together a tour for you based on what you would like to get out of your visit to England.