Venue Fact File: Leeds Castle, Kent
24 Mar 2017
The second most popular tourist attraction in Kent, after Canterbury Cathedral, Leeds Castle presents a dramatic and magical backdrop for your big day
Leeds Castle was most famously described by the historian, Lord Conway, as the loveliest castle in the whole world and it is clear to see why. Set amid 500 acres of parkland and gardens, Leeds Castle can tailor your special day to make your wedding wishes come true – whether they be for a grand castle ceremony or a more intimate affair.
The first question most visitors ask is why is it called Leeds Castle when it is nowhere near Leeds, but in Kent. Leeds is a village in the Maidstone District of Kent, standing on a slope above the valley of the River Len. Leeds Castle is situated seven miles east of Maidstone and can be reached from Junction 8 of the M20. It is just one hour from London and 30 minutes from the Channel Tunnel and Channel Ports. Trains run frequently into Bearsted (a seven minute drive away) and a coach shuttle service is in operation from the station from October to March.
Once part of the Manor of Esledes (now called Leeds), Leeds Castle was built in the 12th century as a Norman stronghold, before becoming the private property of six of England’s medieval queens. Known as The Ladies’ Castle as it was a gift bestowed upon queens by their kings, the castle was once owned by Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, as well as Catherine deValois, widow of Henry V. Lady Baillie was the last owner of the castle and many of her interior choices remain today. Following Lady Baillie’s death in 1974, the castle has been in the care of the Leeds Castle Foundation.
Leeds Castle offers four options for your big day, with 2017 prices starting from £7,950:
Castle – Taking place in the newly refurbished Ceremony Room adjoining the Library, a castle wedding is a spectacular option for weddings of 100 guests. Your wedding breakfast is served in the largest room of the castle, the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall, before guests are invited to retire to the opulent 1920s Castle Drawing Room. The castle also houses 20 bedrooms, many of which feature traditional four-poster beds and breath-taking views across the moat and parkland.
Maiden’s Tower – Used for weekend house parties in the 1920s, the Maiden’s Tower is an elegant and exclusive setting for up to 80 ceremony guests. The venue houses two function rooms, a private garden and five en-suite five-star bedrooms with magnificent views. Couples can also opt to have their rings delivered by owl at Maiden’s Tower.
Fairfax Hall and marquee receptions – An immaculately restored Kentish timber-framed barn with large garden terrace, this 17th century venue is ideal for larger parties of up to 200. For parties of up to 500 guests, a marquee on the Cedar Lawn is the perfect option.
Battel Hall – The 14th century Battel Hall, currently being renovated, is due to open in late 2017. Battel Hall is a large and comfortable home full of character and charm. Featuring a ceremony room and areas for intimate dinners and cocktail parties, the venue also houses five luxurious en-suite guest bedrooms, while the adjacent Battel Oast offers a further six en-suite rooms.
A passionate and professional hospitality team, headed by a dedicated wedding co-ordinator, will guide and advise you through every stage of the wedding planning process. Leeds Castle also offers the services of a highly qualified, award-winning and experienced in-house floristry team who can work with you to create bespoke floral arrangements for the venue and your bouquets. A talented team of caterers have an exceptional reputation for the quality of their cuisine and excellence of service, working closely with you to create a menu that suits your taste and style of wedding.
The team at Leeds Castle will also be able to recommend local suppliers – from musicians to photographers – ensuring your wedding day is fulfilled by only the best businesses.
In addition to the accommodation options offered by each of the wedding venues, guests can also stay in the four-star Stable Courtyard Bed and Breakfast rooms – just a short stroll from the Castle Island; one of the castle’s luxury self-catering properties located within the estate; or, during the summer months, the medieval styled Knight’s Glamping accommodation.