Yesterday, was a beautiful day. So is this morning in fact, but I would rather concentrate on the day that was Saturday. The better half of me and I woke early, completed the chores and then set off with picnic in tow along the sea front of Deal towards Walmer Castle.
Walmer Castle is a beautiful site and here is a little history that I have included from the Walmer Castle website.
Walmer Castle was built in 1539–40 as one of a chain of coastal artillery forts begun by Henry VIII in the late 1530s in the face of threatened invasion by Spain. From 1708 it became the official residence of the Lords Warden of the Cinque Ports, a position occupied by many distinguished people including the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. It was adapted over the years to make it a more comfortable and fashionable home.
As Walmer evolved from defensive castle to country residence, so the gardens developed with it. Formal gardens to the south and east of the castle are largely the result of efforts by William Pitt and his niece, Lady Hester Stanhope, who lived with him in the 1790s and early 19th century. A survey of 1859 shows a well-established shelter belt of mature trees, the twin ovals of lawn, the kitchen and walled gardens and the paddock, now a wildflower garden. The dense shelter belt protects Walmer from the prevailing south-westerly winds. In the second half of the 19th century Earl Granville did much to improve the grounds, laying out the gravel walk west of the castle now known as the Broadwalk, flanked by herbaceous borders and great yew hedges. In 1997 Penelope Hobhouse created a new garden within the 19th-century walled garden to commemorate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s tenure as Lord Warden and to celebrate her 95th birthday.
Walking around it was an insight to the beautiful land that lives not too far away but neglect on a daily basis. This is only one of the two times I can remember visiting the grounds, the first being for an outdoor Shakespeare play. I plan to visit more now. It has a wonderful open space seating areas, little nooks perfectly for people with a fond of books and a little time to read and a magnificent moat. It has quirks and subtle little elements that gives off a little bit of wonder and magical sense of the place.
It was insightful and inspirational, the perfect setting for an enchanted story or a romantic period story. It gave me a lot of food for thought and will certainly add aspects of the place to a future fantasy story or similar. I will leave you with some photos that I took for inspiration and to treasure. I hope you had such a wonderful day as I had yesterday, and if you ever find yourself in Kent, Walmer Castle must be on your places to visit.