After having had divorced with Catherine of Aragon and broken with the Catholic Church, Henry VIII suddenly felt vulnerable and started to consider the possibility of being attacked by Spain or France. As the result on the southern coast of England appeared the chain of fortifications, one of those was called Walmer castle. With the development and perfection of weapons it became obvious that the traditional bulky castles, having been a perfect target for the enemy, could sustain higher losses than a more compact building. Thus built in squat and curvy proportions Walmer castle was able to divert a canon ball. And of course Henry VIII wouldn’t be himself if he didn’t add any signs of the Tudor might to the castle, so Walmer castle immortalized the great dynasty by taking the shape of Tudor rose.
From the 1708 Walmer castle turned to the residence of those who were conferred on honorary rank of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. This title belonged to such statesmen like: William Pitt the Younger, a talented politician, who became the Prime Minister of the UK during George III in the age of 24, the Duke of Wellington, infamous for his glorious victory at Waterloo, Winston Churchill, an eminent figure of the whole XXth century and the Queen Mother that became the first woman to hold the post of Lord Warden.
During the centuries the residents of Walmer castle had been putting their own marks on it, softening and alleviating the strict features of the Tudor stronghold by attaching to it the wealthy elements of the civilians and also developing its grounds. Nowadays the castle is owned by the English Heritage, and the visitors can appreciate this impact of the former inhabitants on the interior and exterior of Walmer castle.
The majority of the items in the castle are devoted to the duke of Wellington (you will even see the great-grandfather of the modern wellies), but there are the exhibits telling about the other Wardens as well.
The 10 acres of garden are enclosed by brick walls and natural shelter of woodland, which create the sort of microclimate, protecting the plants from the coastal wind and salt spray. The stroll along the cosy garden, highlighted by yew cloud hedge, and shady mysterious stretch of the wood, swarming with squirrels in autumn time, also will not leave you indifferent.
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