Castles in Kent

Kent is home to some of the most beautiful - and important - castles and fortresses in Britain's history, most of which can be visited all year round.

Crowning the White Cliffs of Dover, the mighty Dover Castle has protected Kent's shores for centuries, defending the realm from invaders, rebels and tyrants for more than 2,000 years. Relive the courtly days of King Henry II, and venture deep underground into the Secret Wartime Tunnels to discover how the castle served the country during the Napoleonic era, Dunkirk and the Cold War.

Exquisite Leeds Castle should not be missed. Romantic, lake-ringed and packed with heritage, its ornate art-deco interior is unforgettable, making it one of the iconic castles in Kent.  Outside, 500 acres of parkland house a giant hedge maze, holiday cottages and the high-wire thrills of Go Ape.

The 113ft Norman keep of Rochester Castle is one of the tallest in England, while the castle is also among the country's best-preserved. Head to 13th century Hever Castle to relive the romance between one-time resident Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII - you'll be sure to 'lose your head' when you venture into the stunning grounds.

Walmer Castle was built by Henry VIII to bolster defences against the French, before being turned into the elegant home of the Duke of Wellington, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Prowl battlements and storerooms at beautifully preserved Deal Castle, another Henry VIII fortification. While fairy-tale, riverside Upnor Castle is a real rarity: an Elizabethan artillery fort, designed to protect the Queen's fleet at nearby Chatham Docks.

Lose yourself in 770 acres of woodland and parkland in the romantic grounds of Scotney Castle, a 14th century fairytale moated country house.

Finally, pay a visit to Chiddingstone Castle  and its 35 acres of beautiful grounds. There you'll find a lake, a tranquil rose garden, woodland walkways and an award-winning Grade II listed orangery.

The list of enthralling castles in Kent, big and small, stretches far and wide revealing unique history and heritage in some of the most beautiful parts of the county.