A family winter visit to Bodiam Castle

A SE winter view of Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

Never mind the weather, the castle at Bodiam is just the kind of castle that your child would paint or draw and it's great to explore in all seasons.

Winter family visits

With its massive towers and broad moat, Bodiam Castle is a great place for children to explore and imagine themselves as a bold knight or genteel princess coming across the bridge for a magnificent feast in the great hall. The cold months of winter give a more authentic feel for how it would have been to be in the castle back in 1385. Wrap up warm to keep out the chill.

There's plenty of medieval features to spot and explore, including the murder holes above the entrances where all kinds of gruesome treats would have rained down on unwelcome visitors. For those families with a head for heights you can climb up the spiral staircase in the postern tower and marvel at the view across the Rother Valley below and don't forget to take a peek into the well room and ponder what the water in the well would have been used for?

Spiral staircase, Bodiam Castle
A view looking up one of the steep stone spiral staircases at Bodiam Castle in East Sussex
Spiral staircase, Bodiam Castle

Winter exhibitions and a trail

Throughout the winter we will be running two exhibitions that look at the conservation work of Lord Curzon in helping to restore the castle to how you see it today. These exhibitions in two of the towers are displayed against the backdrop of rich opulent fabrics reminiscent of Curzon's time in India under the British Raj.

For the children there's our Precious Gems trail to try. Find all the hidden gems around the castle and be rewarded with a prize. Trails cost £2.50 each and are suitable for 5-12 year olds. Pick up your trail from visitor reception on the way in and have your own explore of some of the hidden corners within the castle. 

Bodiam Castle
Indian themed lamps hanging in a castle room at Bodiam Castle in East Sussex
Bodiam Castle

When you've finished exploring stop by our Castle View Café and enjoy a warming mug of hot chocolate, a tasty scone or a freshly heated panini. If the Café is closed then a brisk walk down the hill will bring you back to the Wharf tea room by the car park for those warming refreshments or even a light lunch and soup.

Explore the grounds

Out in the grounds the winter landscape offers some new views of the castle as the trees have shed their leaves. Enjoy a wander around the grounds and see if your fearsome crusaders can find the wooden statue of Sir Edward or the natural play area in the woods at the top of the hill. You'll need some wellies as the grounds and paths can be wet and muddy at this time of year.

Download a copy of our property map and you can discover some of the old features of Sir Edward's estate which are not so obvious nowadays.

Visitor map of Bodiam Castle and grounds (PDF / 1.2177734375MB) download

Our wildlife residents

In the cold weather our ducks will be very pleased to see you and will welcome you with a quacking chorus. We prefer the ducks to forage naturally for their food but if you want to feed them please only give them grain or seeds and they'll welcome the odd, small piece of lettuce too. These foods are more akin to their natural diet and helps to keep their gut healthy. Please refrain from feeding them bread and other processed foods. 

If you're lucky you may catch a glimpse of one of the fish in the moat, although at this time of year they are usually deep down among the vegetation at the bottom of the water. The fish are carp.

If they hear your footsteps on the bridge above, they'll surface with mouths open wide in the hope of some food. The moat may look murky but it is rich in nutrients which help to keep the fish fed and healthy.

Just as with the ducks, we ask our visitors to refrain from feeding bread to the fish as this is neither healthy for them or indeed good for the quality of the moat water.

To help you find some of the other wildlife in the grounds, we have a Winter I-Spy trail. Download this trail from the link below or pick one up from our visitor reception and discover some of the great habitats and wildlife secrets within the grounds.

Bodiam Castle Winter I-Spy trail (PDF / 1.65234375MB) download