Leeds Castle built on islands in the River Lee is everyone’s dream idea of a medieval castle. Although there is a land train from the ticket kiosk, it is worth walking to the castle. It is a half mile woodland walk along the banks of the River Lee. This is a very attractive walk past a series of small ponds with bridges. At the beginning of May, the daffodils were past their best and the Gunnera was only just beginning to grow again. There was lady’s smock and marsh marigolds.
The first view of the castle is across the lawns. A rockery is being restored among the ruins of the Barbican and fortified water mill.
From here there are views along the Great Water with Lady Baillie’s Mediterranean Garden towards the maze and Dark Skies Experience. There are swans, ducks and other water fowl on the lake.
The domestic buildings and barns now house the restaurant and exhibition block including the Dog Collar Museum. Beyond the buildings is the Culpepper Garden with low box hedges around the flower beds containing a wide variety of English cottage garden flowers like roses, lupins, geraniums, poppies….
A short flight of steps leads down to Lady Baillie’s Mediterranean Garden. A series of south facing terraces face south across the lake and are a real sun trap.
At the far end of Lady Baillie’s Garden, the path climbs up to the Maze, planted in 1988 with 2400 yew trees. It takes an average of 20 minutes to follow the spiralling path to the centre and exit is through an underground grotto. Falconry shows are held in front of the maze in the summer months.
If you are expecting lots of formal flower gardens, you may well be disappointed. For me, the best bit was the walk along the river to the castle.
There are more pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/gardens/england/south/leeds/index.html