Walmer Castle & Gardens in Kent has opened the private apartment of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Port for the first time. 

Walmer Castle and Gardens, Kent

Source: English Heritage

There’s more than eight acres to explore.

Locked away behind a ‘secret door’ until now, the apartment has been used by Lord Wardens over the years, including Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother from 1978 to 2002. Groups will now be able to see the sitting and dining rooms, plus the master bedroom she once used.

Other famous names who have been enrolled as a Lord Warden include Sir Winston Churchill, William Pitt the Younger and the Duke of Wellington, who died at Walmer Castle in 1852. The Queen Mother was the only woman and the longest serving to hold the ancient office.

Cared for by English Heritage, groups visiting Walmer Castle & Gardens can benefit from discounted admission (11 or more people). Groups can also pre-book a light lunch or refreshments in the Lord Warden’s Tearoom or the Glasshouse Café in the Kitchen Garden after exploring the castle and its gardens.

Walmer Castle and Gardens, Kent

Source: English Heritage

See inside the private apartment of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Port for the first time.

Walmer Castle’s links to history

With furnishings evocative of a bygone age, the apartment is said to have an air of cosiness and intimacy. The Queen Mother is known to have loved her annual summer visits to the castle - often with corgis in tow. A vase of flowers from Walmer’s gardens was said to always be in place to welcome her.

Created to enable crown control of the powerful five ports (“Cinque Ports”) of the south east coast, the Lord Warden was one of the most coveted and influential offices in medieval England. Walmer Castle became the official residence for the role holder in the 18th century. Today it is a purely ceremonial position.

There are more than eight acres of award-winning gardens in the grounds of the Tudor fortress turned country house, which was built on the orders of Henry VIII to defend England’s southern shore.

Highlights include flower-filled borders, a kitchen garden, wildflower meadows, shady woodland walks, the restored glen garden and the striking yew cloud hedge in the Broadwalk.

For more information about group visits to Walmer Castle & Gardens, click here.