Over the centuries East Sussex & Kent, have been the invader’s gateway to Britain. Being the closest point to mainland Europe, these two counties have witnessed some of the most important moments in this country’s history.
Early invasion and the founding of England happened in Kent. It was at Pegwell Bay in Ramsgate that 40,000 disciplined Roman soldiers marched in to conquer the country.
Several hundred of years later it was East Sussex that was the site of the last successful invasion. Probably the most famous date in English history, 1066, when the Norman army led by William the Conqueror stood victorious on Senlac ridge, now known as Battle.
Start your historical journey at Bodiam Castle. One of the most famous and evocative castles in Britain, Bodiam was built in 1385, as both a defence and a comfortable home. The exterior is virtually complete and the ramparts rise dramatically above the moat.
Herstmonceux is renowned for its magnificent moated castle, set in beautiful parkland and superb Elizabethan gardens. Built originally as a country home in the mid- 15th – century, Herstmonceux Castle embodies the history of Medieval England and the romance of Renaissance Europe.
Walk in the footsteps of the Tudors through the real-life settings of the dramatic love intrigues of King Henry VIII.
At Hever Castle discover how Anne Boleyn spent her childhood and find many artefacts unfolding her infamous romance with the King. Rising from a lake in 500 acres of parkland, Leeds Castle is the epitome of elegance and a treasure house of furnishings, paintings and antiques dating back centuries.
Deal Castle was one sturdy link in the chain of coastal fortresses built by order of Henry VIII, who feared invasion from France. A little further along the coast is Walmer Castle & Gardens. Find out how this Tudor fort transformed into the elegant residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
Dover Castle, the ‘Key to England’. By “unlocking” the castle, hostile forces believed they could push open the door to the rest of the country. Today you can unlock the compelling WW2 world of the Secret Wartime Tunnels, where the evacuation of Dunkirk was masterminded. The recently transformed Great Tower elaborately tells the story of King Henry II and his court.
Canterbury is one of England’s oldest cities with a continuous history. The story of its sublime World Heritage Site – the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church – begins in AD 597 when St Augustine came to reintroduce Christianity to southern England.
Immerse yourself in the military might of Rochester Castle, among the best-preserved and finest examples of Norman building in the country. Then experience the peaceful atmosphere of England’s second-oldest cathedral – Rochester Cathedral.
You can save money on visiting many of the Castles here by purchasing an Overseas Visitor Pass here