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10 Best Castles for Kids in Kent

6 December 2022

A common landing ground for invaders of Britain, Kent has its fair share of castles. Whether your kids want to delve into history in a grand, sprawling estate or simply scramble around some ancient ruins, there are plenty of choices. 

Hever Castle, near Edenbridge

This stunning little castle has everything. The childhood home of Anne Boleyn, it’s brimming with Tudor history. 

But there’s plenty more on offer. In spring and summer, the majestic gardens are in full bloom and kids can lose themselves in the mazes. They can even try their hand at archery and watch mediaeval knights go full-tilt at the jousting. 

Rochester Castle, Rochester

Kids will love exploring these eerie ruins. They’ll travel back in time as they walk around the ancient walls and climb to the tops of the towers. The views from up there are truly spectacular.

There isn’t a huge amount of information about the castle and it won’t take long to get around. You’ll have time to explore the nearby cathedral or grab a bite to eat in the lovely town of Rochester afterwards. 

Dover Castle, Dover

Situated at Britain’s closest point to mainland Europe, this castle has been in the thick of British history for over 800 years. Kids can discover the castle’s role in historic events from Mediaeval times right up to the Second World War. 

There’s plenty to explore both above and below ground: the tunnels running underneath the castle were used as command centres during the World Wars. 

During school holidays, the castle hosts kids’ quests and activity days. 

Leeds Castle

This beautiful castle has enough to keep the kids entertained for days. The entrance fees are very pricey, but they do give you unlimited admissions for a full year. It’s worth it for those families that live nearby and can visit again.

The huge estate contains several gardens and a maze to explore. There’s also crazy golf, a truly epic castle playground and a Bird of Prey Centre with daily displays through spring and summer.

The food here can be expensive, so you may want to bring your own picnic.

Walmer Castle, Deal

Built by Henry VIII, this charming castle has had some illustrious residents. Top of the list is the Duke of Wellington. You can even see the chair he was sitting in when he died. But there are some more cheerful things to see. Kids can explore the spectacular gardens and enjoy the little play areas scattered around the woodland walk. 

Lullingstone Castle, Dartford

If your kids are green-fingered, they will be blown away by this place. While the castle is pretty enough, the highlight is the World Garden. They can scurry along the little paths among thousands of extraordinary plants from around the world.

There’s lots more to see, with sculptures, tunnels and woodland walks. The castle also hosts kids’ activity days during the spring and summer. It’s perfect for a more relaxed day out. 

Deal Castle, Deal

It might be flower-shaped but there are no blossoming gardens or grand galleries here. This castle was built by Henry VIII for the sole purpose of defence. The flower shape simply enabled guns to be pointed in every direction.

Kids will love pretending to be soldiers of the past. They’ll even get wooden muskets to defend the battlements and be on the lookout for enemy ships. Wellies are provided so they can explore the damp tunnels down below.

Upnor Castle, Rochester

Just down the river from Rochester Castle, this pleasant little castle has enough to keep your kids entertained for an hour or so. It’s cheap to enter, has friendly and knowledgeable staff, a few towers to climb and stunning views across the river. 

There’s no cafe, so it’s a good place to stop and let the kids explore before heading into Rochester. 

Scotney Castle, Tunbridge Wells

This little gem is actually two castles in one, and lots more besides. The original castle is partly ruined and surrounded by a picturesque moat. It could have been taken from a fairytale. 

There’s also the Victorian mansion and hundreds of acres of parkland. The kids will find nature activity trails in the woods and there’s a discovery room in the mansion with plenty to see and do. 

Tonbridge Castle, Tonbridge

Just off Tonbridge High Street, this compact motte-and-bailey castle is one of many things your kids will enjoy in the fabulous town of Tonbridge. It’s well worth a couple of hours. They can recon the tunnels and towers, inhabited by waxwork models going about their medieval lives. 

After that, they can scramble up the steep slopes of the motte and see across the town. 

Whether you’re after an all-day castle caper or just need somewhere for your kids to let off some steam, you’ll find it at one of Kent’s castles.

Looking for other things to do in Kent?

Activities in Kent for kids listed on Hoop

Best beaches in Kent for families

Best sailing clubs in Kent

Canoeing for kids in Kent

Best parks for families in Kent

Need somewhere to stay? Make a short break of it with our list of the best campsites in Kent

Prefer to stay in a hotel? We've got a list of the best family-friendly hotels in Kent.

Photo by Steve Payne on Unsplash

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