Past Summer, I promised myself I would devote one day of every weekend to travelling. One thing about me: if I really commit to something you can be certain that I’ll do it (sooner or later 😉). This statement was tested when the day came to visit Bodiam Castle. As soon as I woke up I knew it was going to be a tough one but I also knew I would not get discouraged by rain. So off I went!
To get there I had to get a train to Hastings and a bus that would take me to Bodiam. It was not a long journey but as soon as I got off the bus I had to hide from the pouring rain in the Castle café and hope for the best. It gave me a chance to indulge in a hot cup of tea, a local gingerbread and read a little leaflet about the castle I picked up while buying the entry.
The 14th century castle is very majestic from the outside. I can definitely say that it made a great impression on me. I could even risk the statement that it’s the most beautiful English castle I’ve seen so far. In order to make the aesthetic appeal even greater, the surrounding area was especially landscaped. The moat surrounding the castle and isolating it from the landscape makes it look more grandeur.
You can then imagine my confusion when I went through the main entrance and discovered a ruinous interior. There are only a few places inside that you can actually see. First chamber I visited had a display opposing the grant of female suffrage. I quite liked the simplicity of it and the fact that it had its own Bodiam Ballot Station where anyone could cast their comments regarding the votes for women.
Apart from that, I enjoyed the display in Postern Tower, which used to be a second entrance to the castle with a set of Murder Holes in the ceiling. The display showed a several gatehouses with the description of the dangerous items thrown down from the Murder Holes in order to attack the enemies.
The Postern Tower itself was open to visitors to climb up the stairs to the top of it. That was my favourite part as I could admire the surrounding grounds and the different sight of the castle from above.
Outside the castle, there is a visitor’s centre but to be honest, I did not find it overly interesting nor appealing.
Was it worth the hassle? Despite the fact that I expected a bit more experiences from the interiors of the castle, I would say that it was worth seeing. Would I go there again? I am under the impression that the restoration works are still in progress, so I would give it another go. Also, a bit better weather conditions would definitely make a difference. I must admit though, a bowl of hot soup and hot fudge cake with a scoop of ice cream in the nearby Castle Inn was a nice end to that wet journey 😉.
A bit of practical info:
To get there, first get a train to Hastings. There are several bus stops right outside the train station. Get on board of 349 Stagecoach service to Hawkhurst and get off at Bodiam, Castle Inn. The return ticket will cost just a few pounds. The entry to the castle itself costs only £4.90 and you get to wear a lovely pink entry band 😀
If you want to see the castle yourself, make sure you visit National Trust beforehand.