Walmer Castle, Royal holiday home and where the Duke of Wellington departed
Kent undoubtedly has its fair share of castles scattered around the county, particularly along the far east shoreline.
Armed with our English Heritage cards, we jumped in the car, picnic onboard and travelled off to the coast to uncover the intrigue behind Walmer and Deal Castle.
Dover Castle we were saving for another day.
Henry VIII’s defences
The shoreline in front of Walmer Castle
The threat of invasion from Spain and France led to three castles (Walmer, Deal & Sandown) being built and earthwork defences in between.
King Henry VIII wasn’t taking any chances to ensure his British turf was protected.
Interested in the coast around England?
We have a new little book on our shelves that we delve into when we're heading to the coast.
Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different counties of England. It tells tales of the history of the shoreline that surrounds our country.
Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves the English seaside.
Walmer Castles Bastions & Cannons
Immediately we arrived at Walmer Castle, I was struck at how picturesque and beautifully maintained the fortress was.
This magnificent ancient castle is now preserved by the meticulous people at the English Heritage.
Visitors are welcomed to tour Walmer Castle at their own leisure and pace. As you stroll around this low-lying stronghold, there are friendly faces to stop and ask any questions you wish.
Within Walmer Castle, there’s so much to discover. Not only are you able to wander around the Keep, but there are also four circular commanding bastions to head out upon with cannons strategically pointing out across The English Channel.
A cannon pointing out to sea from Walmer Castle
The view of Walmer Castle from its moat
Another area of Walmer Castle I particularly enjoyed was its surrounding deep moat that encircled the citadel.
The moat is no longer full of water and discouraging anyone who comes near, it is all laid to lawn and lovingly planted out all the way around for everyone to enjoy.
Unfortunately no photography is allowed within the keep.
Walmer Castle, a comfortable retreat
Although Walmer Castle was originally built as Tudor Fortress, in 1708 the citadel was to become the official residence of the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports.
Walmer Castle in the evening light
A position not to be sniffed at, as many distinguished people including the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, held this post.
Therefore, Walmer Castle was to evolve over the years and was refashioned into a comfortable home.
Walmer Castle from across the moat
Kent coastal road trip
Walmer Castle from the gardens
English Heritage Membership
If you plan on visiting multiple English Heritage sites, you may want to consider an annual pass. You’ll be amazed at how much you will save, just click on the banner below.
Free parking is available on site.
Walmer Castle’s most celebrated resident was the Duke of Wellington. Who famously defeated Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He was also the UK Prime Minister in 1830 and briefly again in 1834.
The Duke a Wellington at Bank Station
The Duke of Wellington was made Lord Warden in 1829 and claimed Walmer Castle was his favourite residence. Wellington died at Walmer Castle on 14th September 1852.
A state funeral was held for Wellington on 18th November 1852, an honour only given to a few British subjects. He is buried at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Kent rural road trip
Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger held the post of Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports from 1792, until 1806.
Pitt the Younger’s niece, stayed with him at Walmer Castle for three years from 1803. It was during this time that she transformed the simple kitchen garden into a beautiful formal landscape garden, that can be seen today.
Walmer Castle from the kitchen gardens
How to get there
During your visit to Walmer Castle ensure you allow plenty of time to appreciate the wonderful garden. Take a wander amongst the eye-catching vegetable and fruit gardens. So much care and attention has been undertaken by the castle gardeners to ensure that it looks attractive and lush all year round.
The vegetable garden at Walmer Castle
Oh yes, you must also take a stroll through the colourful greenhouses, when we visited it was like a Harvest Festival. Plump gourds and pumpkins, juicy ripe apples and plenty of courgettes and tomatoes.
Inside the glasshouse
The harvest from the kitchen garden
An interesting read
If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".
You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.
The Queen Mother’s Garden
In 1997, a commemorative garden was laid within the 19th-century walled garden, for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. This was to celebrate the Lord Warden’s 95th birthday.
The Queen Mother's garden at Walmer Castle
Map, guides and more
When you’re nurturing the seed of a road trip, plotting your destinations across a paper map just brings the adventure to life. Whether it’s the touchy-feely aspect of the map or the rustling sound of mastering the art of origami while trying to fold it away, I’m not too sure. Nonetheless, the good old Ordnance Survey guys and gals always come up trumps.
Take a look at the vast array of maps you can choose from.
Been tempted to venture to the seaside to discover Walmer Castle for yourself?
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