Leeds Castle in Kent – ‘the loveliest castle in the world’ – is one of the UK’s most attractive and well-known heritage sites.
Understanding the castle as it is seen today is by no means straightforward as centuries of adaptation and re-use have resulted in a challenging set of architectural remains. Visitors can easily be forgiven for thinking that nineteenth-century buildings are medieval and that parts of the medieval fabric are the results of modern restoration.
Virtual Past was asked to create a digital model showing the development of the castle from the twelfth to the twentieth century in order to help visitors interpret the complex site.
The project recreated the castle over seven separate time periods, with the animation showing phases of re-building and neglect, a disastrous fire and the restoration that made the castle into the visual masterpiece it is today.
The source material that informed the model included historic prints and paintings, architectural drawings and the results of geophysical survey.
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For the first time in hundreds of years the visitor can now visualise the original twelfth- century fortress, see the castle during its heyday as a medieval and Tudor palace, witness a disastrous fire in 1665 and visualise the Victorian and Twentieth-Century re-building and restoration.