Monday, December 6, 2010

Leeds Castle

A few weeks back, I took the chance to get out of London with some friends and spend the day at Leeds Castle. Originally built over 900 years ago by Robert de Crevecoeur, it later became a royal palace in 1278 for King Edward I and his queen Eleanor of Castile.

During the Medieval times, the castle became a part of the Queen's dower, which is a settlement a queen receives upon the death of her husband, the king. Over  a period of 150 years, it was held by 6 different medieval queens.

During the times of the Tudors, Henry VIII visited often with his queen, Catherine of Aragon.

Later, his son Edward VII gave the castle to a courtier as a gift for his services. Since that time, the castle has been in private hands and has seen many additions and changes through the years.

 A few of rooms were returned to their medieval style, including Queen Eleanor's bedroom,

and her bath. Bathing in the Middle Ages was not a very popular pastime, but Queen Eleanor of Castile, having grown up in Spain, brought her bathing habits to the English court. Her bath was a wooden tub lined with linen sheets and cushioned with sponges. Water was heated first and scented with flowers or sweet herbs, then added to the tub. The aristocratic ladies who followed suit, wore thin linen gowns for the purpose of modesty. Their attendants would wash them with natural sponges and rinse them with rose water. Definitely a spa-like treatment.

Henry VIII's dining room is decorated in Tudor style.

But many of the rooms are shown in a more recent style and are quite lovely with beautiful views of the grounds.

Leaving the castle, we set out to explore the grounds, some 500 acres of parkland, 

only a small portion of which we explored that day, leaving good reason to come back when the weather is warmer next spring.

Many birds  make their home there, either in the internationally known aviary found there,

or freely strolling the grounds.

But alas, the fall colors have gone and winter has made its way to Leeds Castle,

Wikimedia Commons

leaving it blanketed in snow last week, along with many other regions of England.
A different view, a different season,  another timeless treasure of Britain.


  1. Hello Debi .. another great post and brilliant photos. You certainly are getting out and about around England ... I wouldn't even think of going to Leeds for the day .. .. in fact never been to Leeds at all. Look forward to your next trip out :-)

  2. Thanks for the tour - those are gorgeous photos, Debi! Happy Monday to you! xxoo :)

  3. Lovely castle with the gardens and lawns complimenting the beautiful stone structure.
    My!! wouldn't you love to have Christmas Dinner at Henry's dining table.
    Thank You for this visit to Leeds castle Deb!

  4. Salut Debi. Those pictures a lovely and I can only dream of a bathtime like that...scented with flowers - yes please! Seeing that it's not that far from London, I really should visit too.

    Thanks for your lovely comment, I wouldn't rush back to the UK if I was you, it's bitterly cold and today we had what's known as "freezing fog" - you can imagine how hideous that is...

    PS: I have now listed the first items on Etsy with more to follow over the next few days.

    Have a great week, Love from London xo

  5. Bonjour Debi,
    Thank you for the great tour, looks like you had a marvelous day with friends. The flower scented baths sounds good sans the attendants though! Lovely images.
    Will you be in the UK for Christmas? Hope all is well with you.
    GOod week,

  6. Wow, thanks so much for posting about places I most likely will never go! Wonderful photography! Lezlee

  7. Wonderful tour, and what a contrast in pictures when winter came. I wonder how difficult it is to heat up an olde castle.
    I think I will go gather rose petals for tonight's bath.

  8. Beautiful pics. I've been dying to see this castle! :) Paris in Pink

  9. That should be one of 1000 places I'd visit before I die:)

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  10. Thanks for the tour - those are gorgeous photos!!!

  11. Thank you for posting. This is such a beautiful tour and these photos are so excellent.

  12. Wonderful look at the castle. I remember in the movie Marie Antoinette that she wore a linen gown in one scene, in the tub. I thought that was strange, and now I see it was a custom... oh, and I love that red bed, although I think I would fall out of it!

    From one Gigi and Poppy to another, congrats Gigi and Poppy on having a new grandson soon... we continue our mirror image lives!!! LOL

  13. England is made up up of Ancient Counties and Shires not artificially created EU "Regions", thoroughly rejected by the North East of England in their referendum, the only part of England allowed to vote by the Labour Regime as they were seen as the most 'likely' to vote Yes for the balkanisation of their own Country.

    Beautiful Pictures btw.