UNLIMITED ACCESS TO OVER 400 HISTORIC PLACES
Live and breathe the story of England at royal castles, historic gardens, forts & defences, world-famous prehistoric sites and many others.
We have changed the opening arrangements of our sites to play our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. The gardens and grounds of Walmer Castle are open to local visitors and Members to use for exercise during the lockdown period. You will need to book in advance in order to visit, and we ask everyone to bear in mind the government’s latest advice on travelling before you plan your visit. All the interior spaces will be closed, but the grounds and gardens remain open. We have additional safety measures in place at all of our sites including social distancing, enhanced cleaning and limits on visitor numbers to protect the health of all our Members, visitors, staff and volunteers. Thank you for your understanding and patience during this difficult time.
Please Note -The castle interior is currently closed. Takeaway service is available at the Glasshouse cafe.
We've made some changes to help keep you safe, and things might be a little different when you visit. Here's everything you need to know.
Faced with an alliance between Spain, France and the Pope, Henry VIII commissions a chain of defences from Hull to Milford Haven.
Henry builds castles on the Kent coast, including three at Sandown, Deal and Walmer. More than 1,400 workmen complete building works in 18 months.
Find out more about the history of Walmer Castle
A captain, lieutenant, ten gunners, four soldiers and two porters form Walmer’s first garrison.
With the outbreak of civil war in England, the three castles come under Parliamentarian control.
Fear for the future of the monarchy provokes a Royalist uprising. In Kent, Royalists occupy Sandown, Deal and Walmer castles, all of which are recaptured after siege and bloody fighting.
The Duke of Dorset makes Walmer Castle an official residence as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and builds a new apartment and a garden.
Prime Minister William Pitt is Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. He makes improvements to the house and, together with his niece Lady Hester Stanhope, creates the framework of today’s extensive gardens and grounds.
The hero of Waterloo is made Lord Warden and frequently stays at the castle in summer. He often entertains and has friends and family to stay.
Queen Victoria stays at the castle for nearly a month with Prince Albert and their children.
Wellington dies at Walmer. His room is now displayed as it was on the day of his death.
Earl Granville is Lord Warden. He and his wife improve the grounds and have extra rooms built above the gatehouse.
WH Smith, bookshop owner and politician, Lord Warden for only six months, sets up a trust to ensure the historical furniture remains in the castle forever.
As Lord Warden, Earl Beauchamp enjoys Walmer with his family each summer, holding parties, tennis and croquet matches, pageants and dances.
Beauchamp lends Walmer to Prime Minister Asquith as a weekend retreat. Guests include Lord Kitchener, poet Rupert Brooke, author Henry James and Winston Churchill, later Lord Warden himself.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother stays at the castle every year, as Lord Warden. She takes a close interest in the gardens and grounds.
Learn more about Walmer Castle