Bodiam Castle Hastings
National Trust
Bodiam
Nr Robertsbridge
East Sussex TN32 5UA
 
 
Bodiam Castle is everyone’s idea of what a medieval castle should look like - an impregnable fortress entirely surrounded by water.  This archetypal castle in southern England was built in 1385 by a rich Sussex Knight, Sir Edward Dalyngrigge.
 
Edward had to make his own way in the world but he was a resourceful young man.  First he married the daughter of a local land-owning family and became the owner of the manor of Bodiam.  Then he went off and fought in France as a mercenary, making a great deal of money.
 
On his return he applied to King Richard II for permission to build a castle which was granted.  Richard thought a castle at Bodiam would defend the area against a threatened invasion by France.  This was a mistake by Richard because Bodiam is not near the coast.
 
Crenulated Towers, Drawbridge, Portcullis and Murder Holes
The castle was designed to impress and it certainly does have  some defensive features such as a curtain wall, crenulated towers at the entrances, a drawbridge, a portcullis and murder holes in the gatehouse vault but there is no Keep.  Inside the defensive walls was built a comfortable and lavish residence.
 
The Dalyngrigge line died out and Bodiam Castle passed by marriage to the Lewknor family who unfortunately supported the losing side in the Wars of the Roses.  They surrendered the castle to the Crown but King Henry VII gave it back later.
 
By 1641 when the English Civil War started, Bodiam was owned by John Tufton, a supporter of King Charles I.  Once again, they chose the wrong side because Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentary forces won.
 
Like many other castles that supported the ‘wrong’ side, Bodiam was slighted, i.e. dismantled to prevent is being used again.  In Bodiam’s case the building was not defaced and only the barbican, the bridges and the buildings inside were dismantled and this is how we see it today.
 
The exterior is virtually complete and the ramparts rise dramatically above the spring fed moat. Enough of the interior survives to give an impression of castle life. There are spiral staircases and battlements to explore, and wonderful views of the Rother Valley from the top of the towers. In the impressive gatehouse is the castle's original wooden portcullis, an extremely rare example of its kind.
 
Monty Python & the Holy Grail
Fans of the film Monty Python & the Holy Grail will probably recognise Bodiam Castle because it became “Swamp Castle” in the “Tale of Sir Lancelot” sequence.
 
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Hotels.com here:    External Link
 
Open
All year with reduced days during winter.  Check the official website for complete details.
Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
 
Admission Price
NT Members free.  For up to date prices go to the official website.  Reduced rate when arriving by cycle, on public transport or for visitors arriving via the steam heritage Kent & East Sussex Railway; Bodiam Station is ¼ of a mile (402 metres) from the castle.
 
Disabled Access
There is level entrance to the building, however this is a medieval castle with many steps.
Grounds are partly accessible but can be difficult to negotiate, especially if the ground is muddy.
Car park and toilets are 400 yards (366 metres) from the castle.
 
Facilities
Gift shop and Wharf Tearoom.  During summer the castle kiosk sells ice creams and cool drinks.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone  +44 (0)1580 830 196
Mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website  National Trust/ Bodiam Castle    External Link
 
Getting There
- By Heritage Rail
We recommend Visitors travel to Bodiam Castle by the Kent & East Sussex Railway - use this handy link for travel directions.
 
- By Car from London to the Heritage Railway at Tenterden
From Junctions 3 and 5 on the M25 London Ring Road, take the M20 to Ashford, exiting to the A28 at Junction 9 at Ashford. Travel on the A28 to Tenterden and the free Heritage Railway Station Carpark.
 
Bodiam Castle has a National Trust car park - fees can apply.
 
Google Maps - Bodiam Castle