Bodiam Castle was #1 on my National Trust wishlist and I finally got around to visiting over the August bank holiday weekend. This 14th-century moated castle is located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, less than 2 hours drive from London.
We arrived around lunch time so we stopped at the cafe first for some food before walking over to the castle (about a 5 minute walk from the cafe/car park).
The castle looks so imposing from the outside, I thought there would be a lot to see on the inside. I was a little surprised to find that the inside is just a shell - a courtyard surrounded by the outer walls.
At each end of the castle there’s a staircase you can climb to the upper level where you can look out over the courtyard and surrounding countryside. Only a small number of people can fit on the upper level so there was a bit of a wait to get up there.
You only need about an hour to fully explore the castle. Once you’ve climbed to the upper level and walked around the courtyard then you’ve pretty much seen everything there is to see inside the castle.
Since we are National Trust members it was free for us to visit, however I feel the admission price for non-members plus the cost of parking is a little steep for what is essentially a ruin. Admission to Bodiam Castle £8.20 for adults, parking is £3 for cars or £1 for motorcycles. Compare this to Rochester Castle for example, another castle ruin looked after by English Heritage, which is £6.20 for non-members. I felt like there was a bit more to see inside Rochester Castle and the admission price is couple of quid cheaper.
I definitely think Bodiam Castle is worth a visit if you are a National Trust member, however if you’re not a member and are just looking to visit a castle there are probably other castles close to London that offer a bit more value for money.
If you’re an English Heritage member you could combine your visit with a trip to 1066 Battle of Hastings Abbey and Battlefield (about 10 miles from Bodiam Castle) to get the most out of your day trip.
Have you visited Bodiam Castle before? What did you think?