Originally named High Street House, dwellings situated on this site date back to the 16th century. Once fronting the high street in Chiddingstone village, a major overhaul of the grounds in the 19th century placed the house where it is today. Renamed Chiddingstone Castle by the Streatfeild family, it has also been occupied by Canadian forces during WWII, a school and owned by Lord Astor.
Denys Bower, a London antiques dealer, purchased the 'castle' in 1955 to make his collections public. Unfortunately, in 1957 he accidentally shot his girlfriend and was sent to prison for life. Luckily he was released in 1962 after his law team proved a miscarriage of justice.
On his death in 1977, he bequeathed the house and its collections to the nation forming the Denys Eyre Bower Bequest. The artefacts Bower collected, I have to say, are pretty special. As you wander from room to room there is just too much to take in. My favourite was the Egyptian but the Japanese, Buddhist and Stuart and Jacobite are just as good.
Outside, there is a fishing lake (day ticket), an orangery and acres of grounds to walk around. You can also easily walk to the village from the house. Although looking a bit tired now, Chiddingstone Castle is used for weddings and a multitude of functions – they had a band playing while we visited. If you don't fancy the house, you can visit the grounds for free. Chiddingstone Castle