We’ve been to Bodium Castle before as it is fairly local to our home and a good day out. It is simple to access from the A21 and well signed with the brown tourism signs. Like many of the National Trust properties if you visit during school holidays there are fun activities going on as well as being able to look around the site. The first time we visited was in a February half-term and my children enjoyed being part of a living history talk but it as fairly quiet as the weather wasn’t great. This time we visited at the beginning of September when the school holidays were just coming to an end, it was a much busier day and we were directed to park in an area that had been a field on our previous visit but it did the job perfectly and didn’t give us far to walk.
The cost for a family to visit Bodium Castle is £20.50 without gift aid and there is a £3 car park charge if you are not a National Trust member. I would highly recommend membership though as there are always great offers to be found online and you can often claim cash back on your purchase too. I’d say that generally the Bodium Castle site is pretty easy to get round if you have a pushchair with you or a mobility issue but I noticed there are regular buggy trips from the ticket office to the castle.
On the day we visited there was a medieval craft display and we saw demonstrations of candle making, cooking, stone craft and metal work. The kids could also have got involved with making some food if they signed up and paid a fee (£3 I think it was).
The last time we visited I declined to go up to the top of the castle walls as I can get a bit worried in small staircases but on such a nice day I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for a few good photos and I’m glad we went up there as it wasn’t scary and the views are lovely, as you can see below. You’ll also notice the moat around the whole castle and it is full of massive carp and ducks which like to be fed and are very friendly.
We were all pleased to see some people dressed up in authentic costumes and we listened to a very animated talk about how the castle was built by Sir Edward Dallingridge back in 1385. The historian was keen to get people involved and anyone that had been lucky enough to sit in the Lord’s chair was addressed correctly at each mention of him.
- There are lots of different areas you can look at within the castle walls and the staff help you to bring the ruins to life so you can imagine where the whole cow was being cooked and the Lord and lady slept.
- We loved seeing the historic graffiti and the castle has the oldest dated portcullis in England.
- There is an exhibition in the north-east tower of the castle where you can find out more of the history of the castle and see a short film
- Currently there is also ‘A Knights Peril’ exhibition
Miss E was sporting her new Superfit with Gore-Tex technology trainers all day too and they proved to be the perfect shoes for walking in long grass, climbing castle walls, running around and generally having a fun time.
We chose to take a picnic with us and ate this at one of the tables close to the car park for ease but you can picnic in much more beautiful spots around the castle grounds (but not in the castle itself) if you fancy. After our visit we had a cuppa and cream scone in the tea room and it was very nice and reasonably priced.
From the outside of the castle Bodium looks as if it is still perfectly in-tact and this makes for some fabulous photos. Of course inside it is more of a ruin but it is still interesting enough to be fun. If you have children with an interest in history and those who like to join in with things like child archery or crafting activities then this is a perfect place to visit. There are also some national footpaths around the castle that mean you can take a good long country walk (you can even take your dog on a lead) and see the steam train as it goes by too.
I’m linking this post up with Fiona at Coombe Mill for #CountryKids and a massive thanks to GORE-TEX for having our family as 2016 Big Days Out ambassadors trying out their shoes. Thanks also to the National Trust for providing us with some free entry vouchers, so our family can try out some of their sites and write about them honestly.