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Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

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Sarnia, Canada
posts: 438
reviews: 17
Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

Which would make the more memorable day:

Leeds Castle in the morning followed by Sissinghurst Castle Gardens in the afternoon (OR) Battle in the morning followed by lunch and two hours at Bodiam Castle followed by the remainder of the afternoon at Sissinghurst Castle Gardens (open until 6:00 pm). I am leaning towards Bodiam rather than Leeds since I tend to be a romantic and the ruins look a little less touristy, but this is just a gut feeling and I have no first hand experience at either place. We are travelling from Canada and my husband has no previous experience driving on the left hand side of the road.

15 replies to this topic
Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro
posts: 34,036
reviews: 22
1. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

I once lived in the area and know it fairly well.

Bodiam Castle is a nice place, as is the village, and you have the added attraction nearby of the steam powered Kent and East Sussex Railway.

http://kesr.org.uk/

(no parking at the station but it''s only a short walk from the village)

Battle and the Abbey is one of the most historic sites in England, 1066 and all that. It can get a bit busy.

The A21 and A2100 roads are in parts rather narrow and winding, so it's a slow and careful drive.

Kent
posts: 2,108
reviews: 12
2. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

Leeds Castle and Bodiam Castle are very different places. Leeds although there are a few remains of the original castle now looks more like a manor house with lovely grounds and interesting interior. Bodiam is a ruined castle with mainly just the outside walls and moat but with very little interior to speak of. That said and assuming you will by driving, if you are looking to spend the morning at Battle then Bodiam and Sissinghurst do make sense geographically as Leeds is a bit further out of the way. It is a lovely part of the SouthEast and other than the little bit of the A21 road which can be quite busy the other roads are quieter and as mentioned by Cubsur if your husband take his time he should be fine.

You haven't mentioned it but if you are thinking of using a GPS that's ok but personally being a belt and braces person I still prefer a good fold up map of the area (Kent and East Sussex) as it gives you an overall view.

Sarnia, Canada
posts: 438
reviews: 17
3. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

Thank you for your response. It looks like we've traded in Battle for a Monday morning in Rye. I love old English churches and St. Mary's looks interesting. Rye looks like it would have some interesting little places for a quick bite at lunch. Following that, we're looking at Bodiam followed later in the afternoon by Sissinghurst. We fly in from Toronto the previous day (Sunday) and we plan to hire a taxi to take us from our hotel in Tunbridge Wells out to Penshurst Place for the afternoon. On Tuesday, we hope to stop at the parish church in Speldhurst where they have beautiful Burne-Jones windows before heading to Chartwell. Hever is still slated for Tuesday afternoon. Although the Hever website looks rather tacky, the place looks interesting and, geographically, it makes sense.

Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro
posts: 34,036
reviews: 22
4. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

You will most certainly enjoy Hever Castle (more Hever palace really) and the whole surrounding area.

See if you can take a quick look at the nearby village of Chiddingstone. it's only about 3 miles from Hever on the way back to Tunbridge Wells.

http://www.chiddingstone.net/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiddingstone

So much to see, so little time!!

Edited: 12:40 pm, June 09, 2011
Sarnia, Canada
posts: 438
reviews: 17
5. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

I looked up images of Chiddingstone. It looks delightful. We'll try to make the time to stop and see the town.

Headcorn, United...
posts: 174
reviews: 33
6. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

Make sure you leave enough time for Sissinghurst - they've changed their hours this year and now close at 5pm.

Sarnia, Canada
posts: 438
reviews: 17
7. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

Thank you! Do you think that if we arrive by 3:15 we will have enough time to enjoy Sissinghurst?

Headcorn, United...
posts: 174
reviews: 33
8. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

Yes - this should give you just about enough time to see the garden and the library and climb the tower for a fantastic view of the surrounding countryside. Although all of these areas are now locked up at 5pm sharp (far too early in my opinion) the wider estate stays open until dusk, so if you wanted to, you could stroll down to the lakes afterwards. I love Sissinghurst - hope you will too.

Tonbridge, United...
posts: 1,132
reviews: 58
9. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

On your visit to Penshurst make sure you visit the village and church - very pretty and little changed for centuries. In the village are the best tea rooms (and garden) you can hope to find - Fir Trees. They are open to 6.00pm.

http://www.penshurst-online.co.uk/

Headcorn, United...
posts: 174
reviews: 33
10. Re: Leeds or Bodiam Castle???

If you're a bit of a romantic you may prefer Scotney Castle to Bodiam. Perhaps I've been unlucky but whenever I've visited Bodiam it's always been overun with noisy school groups. Scotney has more to offer as, apart from the beautiful castle ruin, there are lovely gardens and an elegant mansion that you can go inside. Scotney would also be more convenient as it is just off the A21 and you would need to drive right past it to get from T Wells to Sissinghurst.

Another place that is a must for all romantics is the stunningly beautiful Ightham Mote which is only about 10 miles from T Wells. Speaking as a romantic myself I would definitely prefer to visit Ightham Mote than Hever - but perhaps you could fit both in.

Chartwell, Sissinghurst, Scotney Castle and Ightham Mote are all owned by the National Trust so if you do decide to visit all of them it would be worth looking at whether it would be cheaper for you to take out membership of the National Trust so that you could get in for free, rather than pay the individual admission prices.

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