I’ve loved castles since I was a child. History has always been a love of mine and I’m always eager to explore historic sites. For me, the facts and figures of the past really come alive when you can see the evidence for yourself. I want Monkey to have a good all round knowledge of the world around him, whether that be the natural, scientific or historical world. I want him to know that learning isn’t boring, it can be fun and informative and real. This post shares part one of a tale of two castles in Kent, as we explored Walmer and Deal castles. Can you believe that these photos were taken at the end of October a couple of years ago!
Both castles are managed by English Heritage and can be found close to each on the Kent coast north of Dover. As we’d explored Dover Castle earlier in the weekend I was eager to explore two very different castles and show Monkey that not all castles have huge towers and turrets.
We’d been staying on the outskirts of Dover and decided that it would be possible to explore Walmer and Deal castles in one day. So we headed off to Walmer Castle to begin our adventure. The castle was built in 1539-40 as one of a number of coastal forts, by Henry VIII, and by the early 1700’s it became the official residence of Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports.
As you arrive in the car park you realise that Walmer Castle is very different indeed, and in fact you would be forgiven for thinking it was a grand house on first sight.
We were the first visitors of the day and were waiting for the castle doors to open, but the prospect of exploring the moat beckoned.
The grass looked inviting and Monkey was eager to explore, although a tad disappointed that the moat wasn’t full of water.
The castle itself is full of history and we particularly enjoyed looking at the various artefacts belonging to the Duke of Wellington who lived and died at Walmer Castle whilst he was Lord Warden.
Monkey was nearly 5 when we visited Walmer Castle and he was eager to get out in the fresh air and explore the gardens. We had a great garden quiz to complete, which gave him things to look out for and kept him well amused.
The gardens offer something for everyone really, with the wonderfully formal layout of the Queen Mothers Garden, the Broadwalk Garden which I could imagine being a riot of colour in the summer months.
Then there’s the woodland area and Kitchen Garden which Monkey really loved. Stepping stone to navigate and crops to identify.
No fortress can be without its cannons, and it wasn’t hard to imagine these protecting us from an imminent attack from the Spanish fleet.
A tale of two castles in Kent had begun with a visit to Walmer Castle and would end in the seaside town of Deal. It’s possible to walk along the seafront between Walmer and Deal Castle and when we’re next in Kent I think we would choose that option.
From this weekend, Walmer Castle opens daily and is well worth a visit, we found half a day was more than sufficient to explore the castle and grounds.