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Maidstone: Leeds Castle holds its new Battle for the Skies event from May 1, plus dining, music and experiences

By What's On reporter


Relive one of the greatest British battles in history.

New to Leeds Castle, Battle for the Skies will give you the chance to experience the sights, sounds and adrenalin rush as the Battle of Britain is depicted in a dramatic surround-sound display showing the Second World War's great airborne battle taking place before your eyes.

Learn about the part Leeds Castle and the countryside it is set in played in the battle, and step inside the castle to uncover top secret plans that were hatched between Geoffrey Lloyd, the Minister for Petroleum, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Leeds Castle's new Second World War event, Battle of the Skies event comes to the castle in May Picture: Andrew Pickett

Visitors can also hear stories about how the castle became both a field hospital and a base for the top secret testing of new weapons.

The Battle for the Skies opens at Leeds on Bank Holiday Monday, May 1 and will be open daily until the end of October.

Leeds Castle near Maidstone was a field hospital during the Second World War. Picture: Andrew Pickett

While at the centuries-old castle and its 500 acres of beautiful Kent parkland, dine like a king, spend an evening as a sleuth, picnic under the stars or step into some secret gardens.

Open every day apart from Christmas Day, the castle has a programme with something for everyone.

Animal lovers can try an unforgettable experience learning to fly a range of birds of prey across the estate by becoming a falconer for the day, and take a look behind the scenes of the Falconry Centre, or join a Bat Walk with the wildlife team in July and August for an enlightening evening learming about bats and other nocturnal creatures.

New to Leeds Castle near Maidstone this spring: Battle of the Skies

For floral fans, discover the once-hidden Mill Garden where newly-planted dwarf bulbs Tulips, Muscari and Narcissus and Poppies make a colourful spring display or be inspired by the creativity of international award winning florists and floral designers at the Festival of Flowers, from Saturday, September 23 to Thursday, September 28 and join floral workshops, talks and demonstrations.

Servicemen recuperated at Leeds Castle during the war Picture: Andrew Pickett

If fine dining is for you, there's an evening of dinner, theatre and an overnight stay at a murder mystery evening. Choose Murder on the Home Front on Saturday, April 29 or Murder Under the Mistletoe on Saturday, December 9. Or you can picnic under the stars with candelabra and champagne while being entertained by field cannons, fireworks and familiar classical music performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Leeds Castle Classical Concert on Saturday, July 8.

There's more feasting and fighting on Saturday, October 21 when there will be an evening of music toasting and fine food in a traditional Trafalgar Night in the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall, where guests stay overnight in one of the Castle State or Battlement bedrooms.

If you're feeling active, you can swim in the moat as Henry VIII might once have done, at the Leeds Castle Triathlon in association with Triathlon England, with the Sprint Tri and Junior Aquathlon on Saturday, June 24 and the Standard Tri on Sunday, June 25.

The Festival of Flowers comes to Leeds Castle in September

The picturesque castle is also the most romantic setting in which to get married, with a relaxed Garden Party Wedding in the setting of the 16th Century Maiden’s Tower, with your guests enjoying the private walled garden as society guests did in the 1930s.

For details and to book for the Battle for the Skies, and all other events, visit leeds-castle.com

Leeds Castle near Maidstone is just off Junction 8 of the M20. The grounds open at 10am daily and the castle at 10.30am.

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