On one of our recent walks at a National Trust site I spotted a pamphlet with a castle on the front. Bodiam Castle. As we have been reading about castles and as it is a National Trust site which means no entrance fees for us (we have a National Trust membership) we thought it was worth a visit. It was a bit of a drive for us so we thought it might be worthwhile to see if there was anything else in the area. And there was. We found two more castles on route to Bodiam – Knole and Scotney Castle. And yes we did all three in one day and it was a great family day out.
We started off at Knole.
The highlight of Knole for the kids was that they could go up inside the gatehouse. They loved climbing the winding stairs to the top and then looking out over the area and spotting the deer wandering around the estate. Knole has lots of the traditional features that they have been learning about – gatehouse, keep, battlements so it was a great way to start our Castle Day.
After Knole we went onto Bodiam Castle (our main focus of the day). And I must say it truly is a stunning castle.
As you approach the castle you get lovely glimpses of it through the trees and much to the kids delight it is surrounded by a moat with ducks swimming and lots of fish. Although both kids were slightly disappointed that the moat did not stink like it would have in the medieval ages (I was very relived about that).
The information pamphlet on Bodiam includes a map showing the layout and had a timeline which is very useful if you are doing the trip linked into a learning topic.
The inside of the castle is amazing. Both my kids loved wandering around the different areas chatting about which room would have been here and what it would have looked like and what the function of the rooms would have been. They actually liked the fact that the interior rooms were ruins as they could use their imaginations to think what it would have been like.
We were there on a very hot day (31 degrees) and both kids noted how cool the thick walls made some of the small rooms that we could walk into. They also loved seeing the long, narrow “windows” and told me that the knights would have used the windows to shoot their arrows through.
There are some stairs that you can go up and you get a lovely view of the inside of the castle.
We loved Bodiam Castle and I do think it helped make their Medieval theme come to life.
After Bodiam we went onto Scotney Castle. When you arrive at Scotney you first walk up to an old House (you can walk around inside the house) but we walked on to the Castle. The castle itself is surrounded by a moat and stunning gardens. A lovely way to end our day trip.
I love the fact that our National Trust membership meant we could take the kids to all three castles without having to pay entrance fees. Yes it involved driving between the three sites but we all loved our day trip and the kids think visiting all three castles in one day was a brilliant idea as they got to compare the differences and note the similarities of the three castles.