Roger St Pierre is almost lost for wordsKent’s breathtakingly exquisite Leeds Castle is a moat- and lake-girded medieval wonder that appears as if it has leapt straight from the pages of a fairytale. In its time it has housed six Queens of England. Indeed, it was here, at the self-proclaimed ‘loveliest castle in the world’, that Henry VIII built one of the floors expressly to accommodate his first wife Katherine of Aragon and her ladies in waiting.
An hour and a half from London and just a couple of miles from the M20 motorway to the Channel ports, the castle is well placed for MICE clients. It has a range of meeting spaces and can host corporate activities both indoor and outdoor. It also offers the rare privilege of staying overnight in one of Britain’s oldest and best-preserved medieval treasure houses.
Back in the 1930s, when American-born socialite Lady Baillie modernised and redecorated the accommodation, she made absolutely certain that her guests – a cross section of the great and good of the day – would receive the very latest in comfort and in service. It’s an approach that is proudly maintained to this day.
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Five historic cottages are available within the 500-acre estate. For something that is truly different and a lot of fun, organisers book their delegates into the Mediaeval Knight’s Glamping – colourfully striped Tudor-style pavilions, where guests sleep under canvas, in the same style as Henry VIII’s entourage during his stay at Leeds Castle in 1520.
There’s no loss of comfort, however, as the amenities include four-poster beds, log-burning stoves, crisp cotton bedclothes and snug rugs. Breakfast hampers can be delivered directly to the tents.
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On-site attractions include extensive gardens and a selection of team-building activities, including falconry, archery and memorable firework displays.