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The UK castle that was once the home of seven queens – with a Narnia-inspired Christmas attraction


A 900-YEAR-OLD castle has revealed its brand-new Christmas attraction that’s been inspired by a beloved children’s book.

Leeds Castle in Maidstone, Kent, attracts thousands of visitors every year thanks to its long history, family-friendly games, and costume characters.

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Leeds Castle in Maidstone attracts thousands of visitors every yearCredit: Leeds Castle
Queen Elizabeth was also imprisoned in the castle before her coronation

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Queen Elizabeth was also imprisoned in the castle before her coronationCredit: Leeds Castle

The Kent castle has over 900 years of history from its first mention in the Domesday Book to being fortified as a stronghold by King Henry VIII.

Dubbed the “Castle of Queens” or the “Queen of Castles”, the castle was home to seven medieval queens, including Eleanor of Castile, Queen Isabella, Philippa of Hainhault, Queen Anne of Bohemia, Joan of Navarre, Catherine de Valois, and Catherine of Aragon.

Queen Elizabeth I was also imprisoned in the castle before her coronation.

Other notable residents include Henry VIII, while King George III and his wife Queen Charlotte were said to have visited the castle.

Anglo-American Heiress Lady Baillie was the castle’s final owner and transformed it into a 1930s party house.

The castle first opened to the public in 1976, and it has been welcoming visitors ever since.

There are several rooms to explore inside the castle, including a library, a dining room, a games room, a writing room, a 1930s salon as well as plenty of drawing rooms and bedrooms.

Other attractions include a Dog Collar Museum and a short seven-minute film called The Queens with Means.

Guests can spend the day exploring the castle’s 500 acres of seasonal gardens and parkland too.

Seasonal events also run throughout the year, including its Christmas experience.

From November 25, 2023, until January 1, 2024, visitors to the castle will be able to escape to the magical world of Narnia.

This Christmas, Leeds Castle will bring C.S. Lewis’s famous novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to life.

Visitors will be able to meet characters like Mr Tumnus, Aslan, the White Witch, and Father Christmas.

There will be several installations inside the castle, including a snowy woodland.

Other festive attractions include a vintage fairground carousel, street food vendors, and the Christmas Lights at Leeds Castle, which will be returning for its second year.

The Christmas light trail will feature a string of illuminated lights, as well as festive music.

Tickets to the castle cost £30 for a full-paying adult, and £22.50 for a child – with entry unlimited for up to one year.

Earlier this year, Leeds Castle announced that it would be renting out its bedrooms to guests.

The rooms were previously used by high-ranking members of the royal family and Hollywood movie stars

Guests can choose to stay in the Castle’s State Bedrooms, where heiress Lady Baillie’s hosted the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Winston Churchill, and even Charlie Chaplin.

Visitors could also opt for a stay in the Battlement Bedrooms, which were designed to house the staff of Lady Baillie’s guests.

Overnight stays at the castle only run on certain days of the year, with new dates set to be announced via a waiting list.

Meanwhile, Tamworth Castle in Staffordshire was also the home of the forgotten warrior queen Aethelflaed.

The Midlands castle was also recognised as a Tripadvisor 2023 Travellers’ Choice award winner thanks to glowing customer reviews.

And here are 10 of the best castles in the UK where you can spend the night.

And one woman revealed how she stayed in an English fairytale castle for just £68 – with a medieval banquet hall & Harry Potter-style rooms.

The Christmas experience will run from November 25, 2023, until January 1, 2024

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The Christmas experience will run from November 25, 2023, until January 1, 2024Credit: Leeds Castle
Tickets to the castle cost £30 for a full-paying adult, and £22.50 for a child - with entry unlimited for up to one year

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Tickets to the castle cost £30 for a full-paying adult, and £22.50 for a child – with entry unlimited for up to one yearCredit: LEEDS CASTLE



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