Enjoy Henry VIII luxury at Leeds Castle in Kent

Leeds Castle exterior

Roger St Pierre is almost lost for words

Kent’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.

Guests can enjoy the 4-star Stable Courtyard and the 5-star 16thC Maiden’s Tower, that affords spectacular views across the lake to the castle, standing proud on its own island.

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.

The 17thC oak-beamed setting of the Castle View Restaurant offers diners a relaxed atmosphere, with spectacular views across the castle terrace, beautifully lit at night. The aim is to use the best local and seasonal ingredients and to allow the quality of the produce to speak for itself.

On-site attractions include extensive gardens and a selection of team-building activities, including falconry, archery and memorable firework displays.

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