When I imagine visiting inside a medieval castle, Bodiam Castle England comes exactly to mind. They say that there are only a few buildings that can rival its magnificent settings and I could not agree more. Located on a grassy estate, its solid fortifications are surrounded by a large moat (filled with huge fish) and the only access is by a long bridge positioned at the back of the castle.
Bodiam Castle England is one of those places that would appeal to both adults and children alike. You can climb up the castle towers and explore the walls together, or take one of the guided history tours. During the Spring/Summer months, you have the addition of castle activities and characters dressed up in medieval costumes wandering around.
I am a big fan of Bodiam castle, not only because is a great day out but you get to learn about history too. It is also a wonderful way to escape for a little while, transporting yourself back in time with your surroundings. Another place that does this to me and is associated with medieval history is stunning Hever Castle.
Visiting Bodiam Castle
Although most of the inside of the castle is mainly ruins, there are still a lot of things to see and do at this historical site. There are guided walks, costumed interpreters, and demonstrations organised.
During the Spring/Summer months, the castle also arranges various activities inside the castle and within the gardens, which I think is an added bonus.
If you’re planning on visiting Bodiam Castle, here is everything you need to know before you go.
History of Bodiam Castle
The 14th-century medieval castle is in the county of East Sussex, England, and was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge with permission from Richard II. Ostensibly to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years War.
The castle itself has been sold to various people over the years and eventually Bodiam Castle was donated to the current owners, The National Trust, by Lord Curzon, who have maintained and opened it to the general public.
Inside Bodiam Castle
As I walk across the bridge into the entrance of Bodiam Castle England, I notice straight away how the castle is made to look larger and more formidable from the outside than it actually is.
Most of the inside is now ruins and should only take you an hour to explore (not including the outside garden). Both the entrance and the corners of the castle are defended by towers and topped by crenellations.
Here are some of the things to look out for and see inside the medieval Bodiam castle
- The main gatehouse – When you enter the castle courtyard
- The Chapel and window in the east wing
- The well in the south-west tower
- The three doorways that led to the kitchen, pantry, and buttery
Walking along the upper Walls
You can still climb up the towers and overlook the inside and outside of the castle. If you listen closely when going from one tower to the next, you can hear the bats that live within the castle walls. Don’t worry though as the bats are more frightened of you than you of them.
Be careful though as the spiral staircase is steep with narrow treads and steep rise. Make sure that you wear good shoes, so you don’t slip.
⇒ Have you ever walked along the walls at Tower Bridge in London?
As I am about to leave, I close my eyes for a minute to listen to the medieval singers (who are there during the spring/summer period) playing in the grounds while children dressed up as knights and princesses run around giggling, and for a second I forget that we are in the 21st century.
Apart from medieval singers, there are also colourful characters wandering around, helping you with information.
Take one of the free guided tours inside Bodiam Castle
One of the best ways I love to learn about a historical place is to take a guided tour. They usually tell you stories you might not read about and show you points of interest you might not have seen.
The National Trust offers free guided tours around the inside of the Bodiam castle, they start at the bridge (over the moat), opposite the castle entrance. These tours last between 20-40 minutes and tell the secrets of the castle and history.
Pricing, Booking and Opening hrs for visiting Bodiam Castle
- Adult – £10
- Child – £5
- Family (2 adults and 2 children) – £24.50
- 1 adult family (1 adult and 2 children) – £15
There are discounts for group bookings (15 people or over) and under fives go free. Prices include visiting the castle inside and the surrounding grounds. Parking is an additional £3 for non-members.
If you are a National Trust member it is free to visit and park your car.
Booking your ticket
You don’t have to book your tickets in advance during the week to visit Bodiam Castle. However, it is recommended that during busier times like, weekends and school holidays it’s best to book beforehand.
This will save any disappointment and time for you. Here is a link to the National Trust pre-booking section.
The castle is open from Monday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm throughout the year. During winter it closes at 4 pm with the last entry being 1 hour before it closes. They are closed on 24th and 25th December for the Christmas period.
Facilities available inside and around Bodiam Castle
Use one of the audio guides
Use one of the audio guides to explore inside Bodiam Castle with the kids at your own pace. It is a great way to start your family friendly visit with an audio adventure ‘A Knight’s Peril’. A small deposit is required but it will be returned when you hand back the Echo Horn that is provided.
Are there toilets available at the castle?
Yes, toilets and a baby change room are available in the car park entrance Wharf café. There are no other toilets facilities inside the castle. The main car park to the castle is 5 – 10 min walk away. If you need the restroom, best to go before starting your visit to the castle.
Where you can eat?
There are two café’s available on site at Bodiam Castle, the Wharf tea room and Castle View café. Wharf tea room is located at the main entrance car park and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The Castle View café is located opposite the castle near the entrance to the bridge over the moat.
Is there parking available?
Yes, there is parking on site available at the main entrance. If you are a national trust member it is free for non-members it is £3 for all-day parking.
Where is Bodiam Castle
Bodiam Castle is located near Robertsbridge in the county of East Sussex, England. It is roughly 67 miles from central London and around 39 miles from Brighton.
Address and Postcode: Bodiam, Robertsbridge TN32 5UA
Getting to Bodiam Castle
Getting to Bodiam Castle can be a bit tricky due to the location, especially if you do not have a car. On public transport, it will take around 3 & half hrs and you will need to change several times. If you don’t have a car and are looking for a day out to a historical site that’s easy to get to, I suggest Hampton Court Palace.
Directions by car
It is about a 2hr drive (about 60miles) from central London to Bodiam Castle. The drive is pretty straightforward from London as it is mostly down the A21 highway.
On your way back and if you have time, stop in at Scotney Castle, which is just off the highway.
Hire a car for the day
Alternatively, if you don’t own a car, consider hiring one for the day and make the most of it. There are numerous companies in and around London where you can hire a car. Before we owned a car, we used to use Zipcar, car sharing company.
Can you get a train to Bodiam Castle?
The closest mainline station is in Robertsbridge about 5 miles away. You can get the train from London Charing Cross or Waterloo via the Hastings route. From there you can get a taxi or an uber which will need to be ordered.
⇒ Travelling by train to other parts of England, Wales or Scotland? Then how about the Interrail Great Britain Pass, making train journeys more convenient. (and you can book your tickets at the same time)
Catch a Steam Train for something unique.
Wanting to do something a little different and unique? How about catching a steam train? Seasonal steam train journeys go from Tenterden town to Bodiam station: Operated by Kent & East Sussex Railway.
Other Things to consider before a visit to Bodiam Castle
Taking your dog to Bodiam Castle
Most people love taking their dogs along with them for a day trip or on a UK staycation. Dogs are welcome to visit the grounds around Bodiam and in Castle View café on a short lead. If you want to visit inside the castle, there is a dog water bowl and tethering point near the bridge entrance crossing over the moat.
There are also water bowl points and bins available for your pet on the grounds. The Wharf tea-room offers doggy treats and doggy ice cream and Castle view café also offers a variety of dog products.
Assistance/Guide Dogs are welcome in all areas of the castles and cafés.
How long do you need at Bodiam Castle?
You only need around an hour to go inside the castle to explore the Tower walls and walk around the moat. I would add on another hour if want to have a picnic and take part in one of the activities.
If you are coming from London to Bodiam Castle and factoring in traveling, I would consider it to be a full day.
Take a waterproof jacket and wear good walking shoes
There is not much shelter available inside Bodiam Castle or on the surrounding grounds. The English weather can be unpredictable especially during the winter months, so consider taking a waterproof jacket. Also, just like Tintagel Castle, the pathways are gravel and in some areas uneven, think about wearing good gripping shoes.
I went during late April when the weather is a little unpredictable with rain but the months are getting warmer. I wore my Northface outdoors lightweight jacket and my Merrell Women’s Ontario Mid Wp 39S Boot ankle boot. Both are lightweight and waterproof for unseen weather changes.
Other related things to do in East Sussex
Tips and Additional information for inside Bodiam Castle
- The last entry – is an hour before closing
- Online Bookings – You can book your tickets online to save time and money.
- Opening Time – from 11 am to 5 pm daily (Inside the castle)
- Another National Trust property in the area worth a visit is the stunning Scotney Castle.
- Take a water bottle, to keep hydrated, as the only place you can purchase water is at the shop/cafe.
- If you have time, visit the pill-box, which you will pass on your way from the car-park.
- Stay connected with 4G SIM Card for the United Kingdom to keep update with maps and things to do in Bodiam.
Is it worth visiting medieval Bodiam Castle?
Bodiam Castle truly is a magical place and worth a visit, especially with kids for a day out in England. During the summer months, you can have a picnic outside or partake in one of the many activities that are arranged by the National Trust. It is a great idea to see the outside activities used to educate children to keep them interested and focused,
It is also good to see such organisations like the National Trust safeguard these amazing historical places for future generations to explore and be educated about history.
Discover other Historical Sites in England
If you are interested in discovering other historical sites, feel free to read the following articles. All are located within the United Kingdom.
Thank you for reading this article, I hope it helped you to decide what to to do while visiting Bodiam Castle, England.
If there is anything more you would like to know, please do not hesitate to message me with your questions. Otherwise, you can get more information from the Bodiam Castle site.
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⇒ Looking to discover other parts of London, please feel free to head to my England page.
Have you visited Bodiam Castle England and climbed inside before? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below, I would love to hear about it.
Disclaimer: I paid to go to Bodiam Castle, England. All views are my own and based on my own experience.