Leeds Castle Golf Stay and Play Review

Jeremy Ellwood enjoys a not-to-be-missed stay and play golf break on the magnificent Leeds Castle estate near Maidstone in Kent

Jeremy Ellwood enjoys a not-to-be-missed stay and play golf break on the magnificent Leeds Castle estate near Maidstone in Kent

Leeds Castle Golf Stay and Play Review

On course par 34, 2.843 yards

The very pretty, compact nine-hole course dates back to 1931 when Sir Guy Campbell (who also designed the fine heathland course at West Sussex) was commissioned by Leeds Castle owner, Lady Baillie, to create a golf course for her house party guests to enjoy.

The golf course at Leeds Castle dates back to 1931

The layout is a real contrast of styles. In places, it feels almost heathland; elsewhere it is reminiscent of the course at Knole Park further west in Kent at Sevenoaks.

You’ll need to have your wits about you over the short but very tight opening holes. The 1st plays blind over a crest and the 2nd then presents you with a narrow funnel of a fairway.

The 3rd is where that semi-heathland feel kicks in, a potentially drivable par 4 with a wide, shallow green.

The short par-4 3rd has an almost heathland feel about it

The 5th invites you to open your shoulders as you fire one down towards the castle itself via an extremely generous fairway. The long and difficult 6th then hugs the moat all the way to its green, all the while serving up distracting views of the magnificent castle.

Glorious view of the castle on the long and testing 6th hole

You head away from the castle on the down-and-up 7th before looping back for home via an uphill par 3 then a short but testing par-4 finale. Precision off the tee is paramount here if you’re to set up a simple short iron up the hill and over the water to the most-bunkered green on the course.

The par-4 7th plays down and up over water

Other golf stay & play options in grand settings Hever Castle, Kent Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire Meldrum House, Aberdeenshire

Off course

The chance to stay and play in the grand setting of Leeds Castle in Kent, which Henry VIII transformed into a royal palace, is a rare privilege.

You don’t stay in the castle itself, but there are many different accommodation options from B&B in the Stable Courtyard or Maiden’s Tower, to one of several lovely holiday cottages or even a spot of glamping in fittingly medieval pavilions.

The Stable Courtyard properties offer luxury B&B accommodation

The courtyard rooms are beautifully decorated in keeping with the ambience of the whole estate, and dining in the excellent Castle View Restaurant is a real treat, almost more so out of season with the castle lit up spectacularly against the night sky.

Rooms are decorated in keeping with the feel of the whole Leeds Castle estate

One of the real bonuses of a stay and play visit to Leeds Castle is that all staying guests get a free pass to the castle and grounds where there is a huge amount to see and do. You are also welcome to walk the gardens and grounds outside of normal visitor hours.

The evening view from the Castle View Restaurant

The whole estate covers 500 acres, ranging from open parkland to the beautiful Culpeper and Princess Alexandra Gardens and much more.

Leeds Castle’s mix of enjoyable golf with luxury accommodation and a rich heritage makes for a unique stay and play experience.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response