The most beautiful castle in the world-Day 4-29 May 09

I've only been to one castle in my life and that's Kellie's castle in Ipoh, Malaysia and so I don't really have the right to say that Leeds Castle (it's in Kent, UK by the way) is indeed the most beautiful castle in the world but it sure is the most beautiful I've seen close up.

Hubby did some research the day before and decided to take the Southeastern train in the morning which runs frequent services to and from Bearsted and a coach shuttle service run by Spot Hire is available from the station.

We weren't the only ones to plan this as we had 2 pigeons join us half way through the journey to the dismay of the train attendant. When purchasing tickets, ask them if they have the Group Save offer on- this enables 4 people to travel for the price of two! For train schedules go to: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ .

We reached the Bearsted station at about 11am and were looking for the Spot Hire shuttle service. As there was no clear sign, we simply waited outside with a bunch of other tourists who looked as equally lost as us. A few minutes later, a driver came up to us and herded us into a van after paying him GBP5 each for return tickets. There was no conversation or cordial chatter in the 15-min ride to Leeds Castle.


We were dropped off at the entrance and were told that the last pick-up time was at 5.00pm sharp and were assured that they will keep track of the number of people expected to return but even if we were missed out, they would come searching for us.






We then happily joined the long queue to buy the tickets to enter the castle grounds. The tickets can be used all year round for an unlimited number of visits explaining the number of people picnic-king on the gardens. The queue moved fairly quickly and we soon made friends with an Italian bloke who works in a restaurant outside of London city.

The castle grounds were truly spectacular! Well maintained lawns and beautiful surroundings. Here's a little history about the castle :http://www.leeds-castle.com/goto.php?sess=u2665883p139n160c1333934s0g1d0&pg=A_Short_History

We decided to take a tour inside the castle and were impressed with the grandeur of it all.


A white peahen/ peacock welcomes us






Beer barrels for those wild parties held sometimes










How the whole area looks like from a distance





























Hubby and our Italian friend figuring the intricate technology of the sun dial



















The reading culture is very much part and parcel of the European culture














Lady Baillie's room http://www.leeds-castle.com/goto.php?sess=u2665883p138n158c1333934s0g1d0&pg=Lady_Baillie










Oriental furniture in their drawing room












Imagine taking a bath here!











As we walked through the castle, we soon came to a spiral stairway which was carved out of a single piece of oak tree































The top of the stairs where a laughing crusader and a lion stand guard. The staircase from France and installed by Lady Baillie


























In 1797, tax was imposed on time pieces resulting in people carrying them less.

fter the tour, we strolled outside to a public area where jousting was to take place. It was so crowded that we could only sit on the nice grass a distance away while trying to keep warm.
The "knights" on horseback were tasked to a few challenges in front of "King Henry VIII" to the amusement of the crowd.











After the jousting, we watched a catapult being set up and put into action












Flowers blooming everywhere




























At 15 minutes to 5pm we quickly made our way to the pick-up point. Our Italian friend had stayed back to sketch the castle while hubby and I walked through the gardens so he was no where to be found but we recognized a few people who were on the van earlier. We waited and waited and waited some more but there was simply no sign of the van! As everyone left the grounds with their own transport, a bunch of us (about 12) were left waiting. Finally, someone working there asked us if we were ok and he helped call Spot Hire.
When the same driver came about 2 hours later than he was supposed to, he said that he had left at 5pm as stated and now we had to pay him for his extra trip. Hubby and I knew he was lying as we had reached there 5min before 5pm and how could have so many people missed one van? After much quarelling (with hubby and I trying to be as invisible as possible as we were the only Asians there), the driver relented and took us back to the train station where to our surprise our Italian friend was waiting. He confirmed our story saying that a coach (not van) left before 5pm. And the worst part was, there was no apology whatsoever from the driver.






Our Italian friend and his sketch of the castle.












We ended the day by meeting A for dinner and walking around the heart of London


















Show business is good business for the UK


















The most expensive electronic billboard in the world!










Which celebrity does this limo belong to?























We walked on Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus (where we saw the most expensive advertising board) to Covent Garden and back to Oxford Street where our feet fell like falling off and no cabs came to the rescue until a lot later. We shared a cab which dropped us off at the hotel before dropping A off at Gloucester Road. The ride cost us GBP12!!

Comments

  1. Whoa, what a nice place...
    Want to go there someday ^_^
    Thanks for sharing your experience ^_^

    ReplyDelete

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