Bodiam is a typical, even stereotypical, English castle. Like sandcastles built by children on the beach, Bodiam is a nice square endowed with a tower at each corner, crenellated walls, a courtyard in the middle and a huge moat all around.
It was constructed in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, one of Sussex's wealthiest men of his time to prevent French incursions along the River Rothe. But the castle was also designed as a comfortable home, with a separate suite of rooms for the Lord, and to display his owner's status.
Bodiam remained in the Dalyngrigge family until 1483, then passed to Sir Thomas Lewknor by marriage, and stayed in this family for a few more generations.
In 1644, in the midst of the Civil War, the castle was acquired by Sir Nathaniel Powel, a Parliamentarian, and did not suffer so much from the political upheaval as has been suggested. However, the castle was left mostly unoccupied afterwards and had fallen into disrepair by the mid-18th century, with ivy growing on the walls.
In 1916, Lord Curzon, former Viceroy of India, purchased the property and set his mind on restoring it., with the help of architect William Weir. The interior has been reasonably well preserved, and visitors can get a pretty good idea of how life was in medieval times. Note the spiral staircases and the view from the battlements.
Opening Hours & Admission
Bodiam Castle is open daily from 7 February to 31 October between 10am and 6pm, as well as weekends until 4pm from 6 November to 6 February. The last admission is one hour before closing time. Note that Bodiam is closed from 24 to 26 December. Admission is £4.20 for adults and £2.10 for children.
How to get there
Kent & Sussex bus No 254 between Hastings and Tunbridge Wells pass by Bodiam Castle.
Alternatively, take bus No 326 or 349 from Hastings, bus No 19 or 320 from Battle.