Leeds Castle - Featured Retailer April 2017

Few of Goupie’s retailers enjoy such a spectacular setting as Leeds Castle.  In fact the breathtaking views of the Castle, rising majestically from its moat, is one of the great sights in Kent.

Set in 500 acres of stunning parkland and formal gardens, and with a packed programme of daily activities, falconry displays, special events and year round attractions, Leeds Castle is one of the best days out in the UK; and that is before visitors even set foot in the two stylish and enticing gift shops which set the gold standard for UK heritage retailing.

Often billed as ‘The Loveliest Castle in the World’, Leeds is perfect for days out with family and friends, or as a romantic getaway with a loved one.

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The castle’s interior is just as enticing.  It has a timeless allure that is largely the result of the major refurbishment by top European designers in the 1920s and 30s for its last private owner, Lady Baillie.

Located five miles southeast of Maidstone, Leeds has boasted a castle since 1119. In the 13th century it came into the hands of King Edward I, for whom it became a favourite residence.  In the 16th century, Henry VIII used it as a dwelling for his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.  The castle, which is built on islands in a lake formed by the River Len, has been open to the public since 1976, and annually attracts in excess of 550,000 visitors.

The Castle has a range of catering facilities.  These include The Fairfax Restaurant

located in a magnificent 17th Century oak barn.  This serves light lunches and an enticing seasonal menu.  Particularly popular is the indulgent cake table, produced by a dedicated pastry team.

Less formal, The Maze Café & Grill offers a menu for all the family, from burger sliders and corn dogs, through to sandwiches and locally made ice cream.

There is also a Coffee Shop.

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Events are one of the keys to Leeds Castle’s massive popularity.  This September it will host a delicious event for ‘foodies’: the Leeds Castle Food Festival.  Leeds Castle also hosts an annual Christmas Market on the Cedar Lawn.

There is even holiday accommodation on site, including the Stable Courtyard, where all rooms have views of either the lake, the gardens or parkland estate.

Far removed from the hustle and bustle of the high street, Leeds Castle’s two shops offer a very broad and well chosen range of unusual, quality gifts.  As well as locally-sourced food and drink, including Goupie, shoppers will find a wide range of items, including a selection of scarfs and jewellery, themed souvenirs, seasonal decorations, and special pieces inspired by the Castle.

The Leeds Castle Shop at the main entrance to the Castle stocks several ranges for children, including traditional toys, dress-up, and pocket money pick-ups; alongside Union Jack themed memorabilia and delicious locally-made products like confectionery, Kent liqueurs and cider, honey and preserves.

“I’m enormously proud to be able to support Kent food and drink producers wherever we can as part of our offer.  We are very fortunate to have a fabulous range of excellent products, made by passionate suppliers.  It is wonderful to be part of representing Kent to our 600,000 visitors each year, whether they are amongst our loyal regulars from just down the road, or making a once-in-a-lifetime visit from the other side of the world.’ Explains Bob Needham, Retail Manager.

One of the main attractions of shopping at Leeds Castle is that both shops are stocked with seasonally changing gifts for all occasions throughout the year.   And an added bonus is that shoppers do not need an admission ticket to shop, and car parking is free.

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The retail mission at Leeds Castle is to raise money for the Leeds Castle Foundation, as an independent charity that preserves the castle and grounds for the benefit of current and future generations.

“Leeds Castle is run by an independent charity.  We only exist because of people’s support and love of what we do.  So our mission in our shops is to raise as much money as possible for the Leeds Castle Foundation, in order that we preserve the Castle and grounds for the benefit of the public … for posterity, not profit.,” explains Bob.  “I like to think that we do that with a sense of relevance, fun, and style; in-keeping with our 900 years of fantastic history here.  That all means we have a unique and constantly evolving selection of over 1,500 products in our two gift shops at any one time.  I hope that our shops are the icing on the cake for the people that visit us on a lovely day out.”

“My personal favourite is the Cherry and Almond Goupie”.

You’re not alone Bob! Leeds Castle is certainly a valued member of the Goupie network and we’re already excited for their Christmas market! Keep up the good work guys!

Find more at leeds-castle.com