When we travel we love exploring the city that we are staying in but we also love to do big day trips to other countries or attractions if possible. A trip to Leeds Castle for kids was the perfect day trip. The Eurotunnel from Calais to Folkstone was just a 45-minute drive from Dunkirk and taking the Eurotunnel was an added adventure for us.
Dunkirk is such a perfect location for a home base to explore other cities and destinations nearby. It was a perfect starting point for our WWII themed Normandy road trip and we were very excited to head across the channel to the UK and explore Leeds Castle for kids and visit the magnificent cliffs of Dover.
Eurotunnel to Leeds Castle
There are two ways to get to Leeds Castle for kids from Dunkirk for a fun day trip excursion. One is to take the ferry from Calais to Dover and then drive to Leeds or you can take the Eurotunnel from Calais to Folkstone. We take ferries regularly living on the west coast of British Columbia so we opted to take the Eurotunnel. It was also a much quicker crossing and we had heard that it was also a fun experience.
The entire loading process was so slick, with its automated reservation systems upon arrival to their expedited loading systems. It was a quick 30-minute crossing, it felt like riding a subway in your car and we were on our way to Leeds Castle. We spent 110 Euros on our round trip passage and it was well worth the money for the experience.
Leeds Castle For Kids
Our day trip to Leeds Castle for kids so was much fun for our boys and adults too. The grounds were massive and full of things to do. Holter and Heath loved feeding the ducks as we made our way up the trail from the parking lot to the Castle. The ducks come right up to you as you walk and the boys enjoyed picking out the ducks that they wanted to feed because there were ducks everywhere.
You can take the train from the parking lot to the Castle but the walk is peaceful and kids will definitely enjoy feeding the ducks. Admission for the day was 26 Pounds for adults and 17.50 Pounds for kids.
Leeds Castle Maze
The maze at Leeds Castle was a hit for our family. The four of us spent a good 30 minutes trying to find our way through. It is quite a large maze so there are many choices of which way to go and many family discussions on who gets to pick each time! Luckily they had some hidden boxes with hints along the way that we had to resort to doing in order to find the exit.
Lunch at Leeds Castle
We had a lovely but overpriced lunch at a cafe overlooking the lake. I found that all the food and especially the drinks were very expensive at Leeds Castle so I would highly recommend packing a lunch or snacks to bring with you. There are many different areas to eat or you could bring a blanket with you and enjoy a picnic lunch on the grass. Just watch out for the duck poop!
Cliffs of Dover UK
After spending roughly four hours at Leeds Castle we decided to take a drive to see the Cliffs of Dover. I remembered them so vividly from a trip I had taken in my early twenties and wanted to see them through my boy’s eyes this time around. They were just as spectacular as I remembered.
Dover is an easy drive from Leeds and it provided another opportunity to get out of the car and walk along the trails above the Cliffs of Dover. Be very careful though because there are absolutely no guard rails along the edge of the cliffs which raised my blood pressure immensely! I kept a very tight grasp on my boys and kept to the higher trails.
Final Thoughts on a Day at Leeds Castle with Kids
After a full day of exploring we started the drive back to Folkstone to catch our Eurotunnel back to Calais. The great thing about the Eurotunnel is that when you arrive at their automated reservation system to check-in, it will allow you to board an earlier train if there are spots available. We arrived 45 minutes early for our scheduled train and were able to immediately get into the queue for one that was currently boarding.