Gammel Lejre is on the west side of Lejre river valley. Farms and houses flank both sides of the village street, and in the Viking Age a chieftain's or king's estate stood on the hill behind the thriving village. In the Middle Ages, Gammel Lejre became a more normal village that passed to the Crown in 1348. In the mid-17th century it comprised six copyholder farms, some houses and a watermill. It remained that way until 1800 when three of the farms relocated further out of the village in the fields. Today, two farms are left, one on each side of the road when you approach from the south and a third farm stands in the centre of the village.
In the late Iron Age and the Viking Age – from the 5th century until the end of the 10th century – Lejre was home to a family of chieftains and kings. Its heyday ended in about the year 1000 when Roskilde assumed the leading role with its King's residence and cathedral. In a chronicle from the late 1100s, Lejre was described as almost deserted and among the humblest villages. But it was not as bad as all that, and by the 12th century it had a rich man's domicile with a stone cellar and watermill by the river. This is probably the farm that moved out of the village in the 14th century and was called Udlejregård. No one knows precisely where it once stood, but its replacement is called Ledreborg Castle.