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Walmer Castle

Walmer Castle is to be found in the County of Kent, in the South-East of England. Perched on the picturesque Kentish coastline, it was built as part of King Henry VIII’s coastal defence network in 1539-1540 in order to counter the threat of invasion from Catholic Europe. Walmer Castle was the Southernmost of three artillery forts constructed to defend the Downs, an area of safe anchorage in the English Channel. The entrance to Walmer Castle faces the seafront on Kingsdown Road. It is only 3.22km away from Deal Castle, and six miles away from Dover Castle.

History of Walmer Castle

After divorcing the Spanish Queen Catherine of Aragon and splitting from the Catholic Church, King Henry VIII feared an invasion and therefore planned to construct a chain of defensive castles on the coast. Amongst these castles are Sandown Castle, which was almost entirely destroyed in the 19th century, Deal Castle which is a gem of architecture, and Walmer Castle, which has a very unique history. (more in the History section)

Castle Today

Today the Castle also hosts the Lucas Collection of Wellington Memorabilia, which was donated to the property in 1966. This collection is on display and contains portraits and busts, as well as pot lids, paperweights and other things – all of them portraying the Duke of Wellington. There is also a smaller room containing the Wellington museum, which offers a number of other objects associated with this famous personage, including a pair of his well-known Wellington boots and hand-printed instructions describing their design. The collection also contains an impressive death mask of the Duke.

Another important Lord Warden whose presence is still felt strongly on the premises is Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who regularly stayed at the Castle. Some of the rooms she used are open to visitors. Most impressive is the magnificent garden created in celebration of her 95th birthday, which is one of the highlights of the castle grounds and includes a commemorative lawn, a woodland park, a croquet lawn, and a working kitchen garden. The main Kitchen Garden on the other hand, has been growing produce for the Castle for nearly 300 years. One can step into the greenhouse and admire the flowering shrubs and plants, some of which are on sale at the gift shop. There is also an area dedicated specifically to children within the nearby moat.

Opening Hours of Walmer Castle

1 October to 1 November – 10.00am – 5.00pm


15 February to 19 February – 10.00am – 4.00pm
Closed from 24 – 28 December, on 31 December, and on 1 January
 
Text: Melisande Aquilina