Our day trips continue and this time we ended up in Walmer castle and gardens. Only a stone throw (20min drive) from Dover castle which I went to last weekend.
Located on the beautiful but stony banks of southeast England this castle packs a punch with its impressive historical background.
Due to its beneficial and exposed location, the castle developed from a barracks to what it is today and is part of the Cinque Ports and is the official home of the lord warden, but more on that later. I really think it’s worth the trip, you start off very underwhelmed and end up quite impressed. I also highly recommend the audio guide as it makes the castle come alive.
How to get to Walmer castle from London
By car from London: takes on average 1.5 to 2 hours from London. The address is Kingsdown Road, Deal, Kent, CT14 7LJ.
By train: from st pancreases London takes on average 1h18 to get to Walmer train station then you can walk around 20 mins or catch a taxi. From Stratford International, the train will take 1h11
Other modes: Stagecoach East Kent service 82/82A
you might also like a day trip from London to Arundel Castle
History and importance of Walmer castle
Walmer Castle has a long and rich history due to it’s very exposed yet beneficial location. It has not always had a glorious past and evolved from a barracks to what is now the Lord Wardens residence.
Let me first explain what a Lord Warden is. The role of Lord Warden evolved just like Walmer castle did. It originally was a functional role commanding the 5 ports along the southeastern coastline of England. With the English Channel being the only thing separating well England from France there was always a concern of invasion.
That’s where the cinque ports and the Lord warden come into this story. The Lord Wardens role was to ensure the Kentish coast was protected from evasion so this started off as a very militant position but fast forward throughout the ages and Walmer castle and the Lord Warden became a ceremonial role.
Notable Lord Wardens throughout the times have been William the Younger, The Duke of Wellington, W.H. Smith and the Queen Mother. All with their impressive history. While walking around the houses you will learn more about William The Younger who was the youngest prime minister Of Great Britain at the ripe age of 24.
There is also a great exhibition about The Duke of Wellington as this is where he lived and passed away. His career and life has an impressive amount to shout about but most will know him for the battle of Waterloo and of course, the man who invented wellies well who at least paid someone to make him the boots.
I dont want to spoil everything you will learn when you go so if you would like a more detailed look into the history of Walmer castle head here. Like many of these buildings they have a rich and long history and it always amazes me how we can still walk through and ‘relive’ some of these stories.
What to do at Walmer castle
This is one of the sites where equal importance is put on the house and the gardens as both are as impressive as each other. As I explained above with its rich history Walmer castle will keep you entertained for quite some time.
Armed with your audio guide which will plan your route for you, you will start in the lower part of the house learning about its older history then move on to when the Queen mother was in charge but it gets more interesting the further on you go. Upstairs you learn more about Wellington, Churchhill and one of Englands youngest prime ministers William Pitt the Younger. He is also the man you can thank for income tax.
Once you have had your fill of the house its time to explore the amazing gardens. They are quite expansive so expect to take your time here and if you can get yourself on a free garden tour. There are three key areas the boardwalk garden, the kitchen garden, and the Queen Mothers Garden but there are many other areas to discover too.
Pricing and food
I will keep harping on about this so here we go again- for the best value for money get a membership and all these wonderful places I keep telling you about will be free. You pay £60 per year for a membership, cheaper if you go for joint and even cheaper if you go for family and if you go to even just 4 places in the year you would have made your membership back and that’s excluding the free parking costs you will save too.
If you don’t want to be a member that’s fine I won’t look down on you. But you will be looking at a price of £12.20 per adult, which is actually quite cheap for these places. Included in the price is access to all areas as well as a free audio guide which makes the visit all that more interesting.
There are a couple of options to fulfill your hunger cravings and both are a decent option. The first is by the gift shop/entrance and is tucked away in the nook but they do have an outdoor seating area and some deck chairs upstairs for you to chill on and enjoy the view of the sea while you munch on your baked potato.
The second option is at the end of the vegetable garden tucked away amongst the trees and pretty shrubbery. It is fairly new and offers a range of sandwiches, afternoon tea, and snacks. Both the glasshouse cafe and the Wardens tearoom use the produce made from the gardens on site so that’s pretty cool.
Or you could bring your own lunch and chill out on the many lawns surrounding the property or even walk across the street and enjoy it on the beach while avoiding the gulls and their greedy beaks.
The 20-second breakdown
Address and contact- Kingsdown Road, Deal, Kent, CT14 7LJ. Email is
Parking costs for non-members and is free for members. Parking is available onsite depending on the weather; otherwise, there is a pay and display public car park opposite the castle entrance.
Entry Fee- Below are the prices. If you choose you can sign up to be a member and will get free entry, it works out if you go to 4 places you end up getting your money back. Sign up here, please note I will get a tiny commission if you do choose to sign up which helps me fuel my chocolate addiction. I have both English heritage membership and national trust membership and as I’m sure you have seen all over my blog I use them a lot.
|Child (5-17 years)||£7.30|
|Family (2 adults, up to 3 children)||£31.70|
Opening Times- Both the castle and gardens are open from 10.00-18.00.
Accessibility level– Disabled passengers can be dropped off at castle entrance.
Food- They have a cute little cafe tucked into the corner just behind the gift shop. The best part is you can take your food up to the terrace and get a great view of the sea. As like many of these other trust places the menu is much the same and quite pricy so do bring a picnic if you can.
That’s the end of the guide. Please do drop me a note if you do end up going to Walmer castle and love it as much as I do!