You may recall that we visited Kent for a few days last month, for Monkey’s birthday. We’d spent the morning of his birthday enjoying a steam train ride on the Kent and East Sussex Railway, had some lunch and I’d got an idea in mind for the afternoon. Monkey has visited a number of castles with us now, from the ruins of Kenilworth and Dover, to the artillery castle at Deal and of course, a few visits to Warwick Castle. He loves them all but there has been one thing missing. A moat, a moat with water in it. It was time to put that right as we spent a cold, grey afternoon exploring Bodiam Castle.
The National Trust 14th century property took about half hour to get to from Tenterden in Kent and is based on the outskirts of Bodiam visit. On normal steam running days, it’s also only a few minutes walk away from Bodiam train station. Daddy P and I had visited before Monkey was born, and I could remember that you don’t actually see the moat until you’re right up close. Exploring Bodiam Castle with Monkey was going to be a great way to spend his 7th birthday, and we kept the water a secret.
There’s a large car park, cafe and toilet block as you enter the site. It’s worth noting if you’re going with kids, that these are the only toilets, and it’s a bit of a trek back from the castle if they need a pit stop. You walk through a little parkland, up to the castle itself, and of course, Monkey’s first priority was to find a stick.
It was nice to see that turning 7 was going to make no difference to his love of sticks. He chatted away to Daddy P as we followed the path, still unaware of the treat ahead.
We could see the castle from the car park but it was only as we reached the brow of the hill that the moat itself came into sight.
Monkey was so excited. I should have caught his reaction on camera, but it was so much nicer to just experience it as his Mum. He was just amazed. A real moated castle Mummy. We’d already explained to him, that although the outside of the castle was intact, the interior wasn’t. He didn’t care. It had a real moat.
It’s such a beautiful sight, even on a dreary day, and exploring Bodiam Castle with Monkey was an instant hit. There’s a small visitor area where you can watch a video presentation explaining the history of the castle. We popped in there first, I thought Monkey would get bored, but he sat, totally riveted to the spot, taking it all in.
With it being two weeks before Christmas when we were exploring Bodiam Castle, we weren’t the only visitors. Eagle Eyed Monkey spotted someone we’d seen earlier in the day on the railway!
It did make us all chuckle and it wasn’t long before Monkey was off in hot pursuit. But as we crossed the bridge to the castle entrance he was soon distracted by some other castle residents, the fish.
We talked about where the original bridge would have been in the past and looked at the ruins of the Barbican Gatehouse before walking under the medieval portcullis and into the castle grounds.
As I’ve mentioned, the interior rooms of the castle are sadly no more. But it’s still possible to climb up a couple of the towers and have some fun. Apparently I’ve now got to start calling Monkey ‘My Lord’!
There was plenty of fun to be had as we imagined what the great hall would once have looked like and thought about what might have been cooked in the kitchen.
Monkey was certainly taken by the well, as a source of drinking water in a bygone age. I even got to practice some of my newly learnt photography skills to take a photo of it that brightened it up so he could see it better on the camera. Go me!
He managed the tight spiral staircases well and we all got to enjoy the views across the Kent countryside.
There was even time to make friends with the local Knight and introduce him to Monkey’s weapon of choice – yes, a stick, obviously.
We’d had a wonderful time exploring Bodiam Castle and I had another trick up my sleeve for the following day. But I’ll save that for another day.
Have you been to Bodiam Castle? Can you recommend any other moated castles we should visit?
42 thoughts on “Exploring Bodiam Castle”
We live quite close to Bodiam, it’s one of our favourite days out. So glad you enjoyed a wonderful day exploring!
Lovely isn’t it, I’ve wanted to take him for such a long time, but it’s such a drive for us. Nice to tie it in with his birthday trip.
How wonderful, must be lovely to see it at different times of the year.
I have always fancied visiting here – it is just a bit out of the way for us. Your post definitely makes me want to visit even more now.
It’s only really practical for us if we’re staying in Kent, but well worth it if you are in the area at any point.
I love Bodiam Castle – it always looks so spectacular. Lovely to see you all having such a great time and fbulous to spot Santa ! I see you mentioned the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway too – that’s something I’ve often pondered doing when we visit my family in Hastings but I’m never sure if it’s worth the price. #countrykids
This time round we did the Kent and East Sussex Railway and their Santa Special – lovely line. We went on the RHD railway a few years ago, it’s very different as narrower gauge and very small carriages. But very interesting to see the different landscape. We said if we did it again, we’d want to get out and explore, rather than do a straight down and back.
We visited here in the summer, it is so fabulous and what a great place to see the big FC! I love that area – Rye and Camber Sands are beautiful too. #countrykids
I agree, we were in that area a couple of years ago. I was born in Kent so a piece of my heart is always in the county really.
Bodiam Castle does look like an exciting place to explore and it looks like it lived up to Monkey’s expectations and more. I bet his reaction as you crested the hill and saw the moat was adorable to watch, it does look like it would be an awesome sight to see in real life. It’s fab that you spotted Santa exploring too, he must of been on his Pre-Christmas checks of the local area.
Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.
It was the perfect second half of his birthday. He loved every moment.
We have wanted to visit this castle for a while now – looks like such a magical place sitting out in the water! What a great place for an adventure
Just popping over from Country Kids
It a lovely castle and in a pretty party of the world too.
I love a good castle. My young boys I don’t think have been to a proper moated castle – tintagel is probably the closest! This looks gorgeous though – loads to do inside 🙂
It’s really rather wonderful, and another castle to put on his list. We went to Tintagel last summer, that’s rather special too isn’t it.
I love visiting castles and looks like I should add this one on my list. Reminds me of Chepstow castle in Wales, would love to visit. Now if only Kent wasn’t so far from Cornwall 😉 Looks like you guys had a lovely day out too. And belated Happy Birthday to Monkey 🙂 #countrykids
It’s mad really that Kent isn’t really that far away from us, but takes almost as long as Cornwall due to the ‘wonderful’ motorways.
We love exploring castles, and we are lucky that here in North Wales we are spoilt for choice. I haven never been to one with a moat though – Bodiam looks pretty spectacular! I hope he had a lovely birthday – can’t wait to see what else you got up to! #countrykids
Oh yes you are aren’t you. I drove my ex mad making him stop at every castle we saw when we visited your part of the woods 20 years ago!
I love Bodiam Castle – we went a couple of years ago and had a fab time. They had activities on like archery, and something else… and some chap within the castle doing a talk. I think he picked out H for something so she hid behind me. Ha!
Leeds Castle is another good one – that’s on our to-do list. I need to find a good discount code for it. I love how a lot of the castles in this area are linked to Henry VIII – H has just been learning about him at school so it’s all fresh in her mind. I’m guessing Monkey might do it soon too? Hever Castle is our next one but I don’t think that has a moat? #countrykids
I was toying with the idea of Leeds Castle as I’ve been but years ago, and then looked at the price – ouch! Will save that for another trip and look for a deal too. It’s beautiful there though isn’t it and not far from where I was born. I’ll be gutted if Monkey doesn’t like all things Tudor as I’m slightly obsessed. Hever is on my list too, must sort out our HCP date too x
I absolutely love Bodiam Castle, I’ve only been twice but the moat makes it so impressive, I love literally everything about it, aside from climbing up those steep steps inside which made me feel a little giddy. I loved seeing your photos on Instagram #CountryKids
Yes the steps nearly did for Monkey, but he kept with it. It’s wonderful isn’t it.
Love all your photos, looks like a fab place to explore x
Aww I love Bodiam. We went to visit Father Christmas there again this year and it was wonderful! It really is a proper fairytale castle from the outside, and so strange how much of a ruin it is inside based on how perfect it is from the outside! I recommend Leeds Castle for another good moat! #countrykids
It’s lovely isn’t it
I just read other Leeds Castle recommendations – expensive yes but it is one of those places where the ticket lasts the whole year. So if you live close by it is so worth it as there is so much going on there. I got vouchers from my mum for Christmas and am so excited about having a ticket once again! #countrykids
It is beautiful there, and probably on another non birthday trip I’d justify the extra cost. Enjoy your voucher x
I’m definitely adding this to my places I would love to visit! I love how excited your boy is throughout the day. I don’t know any other moated castles I’m afraid but how exciting to hunt them out!! #countrykids
It looks absolutely brilliant. I love exploring castles and the kids have fun running around whilst I soak up the atmosphere. Looks a great day out x
What a lovely castle. There’s something special about a castle with a moat.
I love the photo of Santa in the distance and I could imagine my children chasing after him!
It’s not often you see a moat with water. I can’t even think of any, although I suppose Baddesley Clinton kind of has one even though it’s not a castle. That’s a huge one here though. #countrykids
This is on our list of visits using our National Trust membership, I imagine our little man would love it. #countrykids
I’m sure he would, it’s fab
Happy 7th birthday to Monkey and what a lovely way to spend the day! Bodiam Castle looks like an amazing place to visit – I love that it has a proper water-filled moat and even though the interior is no longer complete, it’s still fascinating to wander around and imagine what it might have looked like. This is definitely on my list of places to visit if we are ever in the area! 🙂 #countrykids
It’s certainly left an impression on Monkey
This looks like a lovely day out. The castle looks so impressive, particularly from the bridge across the water.
David – Potty Adventures
It’s very impressive
Ohh Bodium is one of our favourites as it is so close to us and has so many fab living history events there. Mich x
I just stumbled upon this and wanted to say that as a father of seven children, I really appreciated the obvious love you have for your son. Beautiful family time and such a precious gift he is. Take care.