Which castle: Leeds or Bodiam?

Old Jan 18th, 2010, 04:56 AM
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Which castle: Leeds or Bodiam?

In August on the last sightseeing day of a 2-week driving trip, we will go from Dover to a hotel near Heathrow from where we depart the next morning. Along the way that last day we will probably take time to see one castle, probably either Leeds or Bodiam. Which would you suggest and why? ("We" will be DH, 21-year-old DD, and myself; we don’t really care for fine interiors but prefer grounds, history, and literary connections--and lots of photo ops! On this trip or earlier ones, we will most likely have already seen these castles: Tower of London, Hampton, Warwick, Dover, Conwy, Carlisle, York and maybe Lincoln.)
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 06:10 AM
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Hello texasbookworm,
I visited Leeds Castle with my mum in 2000 on an organised coach trip from London. The interior was interesting enough (some parts are not accessable as there is a family still in residence)The grounds are vast but near the tearoom & gift shop there are flowerbeds and trees for shade. They have many functions and concerts there and were busy setting up a stage for Tony Bennett when we visited.
I asked someone to take a photo of mum & I on the old stone bridge with the castle in the background. It is my favourite photo ever!

Unfortunately I am not familiar with Bodiam so can't compare.
The day trip also included Dover (just the pebble beach) and Canterbury Cathedral. That's a pretty little town and the cathedral very interesting of course.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 06:41 AM
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Bodium is largely a ruin inside. It is a wonderful castle to visit, but very different to Leeds, which has of course connections to Henry VIII, and is far from a ruin.
Only you an decide which holds more appeal, Leeds, which is more like a stately home, or Bodium, a magnificent ruin, though you can explore the battlements.
Bodium is National Trust.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 06:49 AM
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Msy I suggest that Hever Castle may be better than either.
http://www.hevercastle.co.uk
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 07:27 AM
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Thanks for input.

willit, I had considered Hever. Might put it back on the option list.

It looks like travel time from Dover to LHR via any of these 3 castles in approximately the same, and routes to them similar, so maybe we'll just see how we feel that day. We might have had quite enough castles or only have time for a quick look at something. Looks like Bodiam would be the quickest stop with the least to see and Hever would have the most "touristy" things going on.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 08:07 AM
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I really like Leeds castle. The grounds and gardens are beautiful, and there's even a vineyard there. The moat and castle itself are really stunning, and it's easy to spend a few hours there on your way from Dover to London.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 08:11 AM
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My vote is for Bodiam. It is a ruin, but lots of nooks and crannies to check out on the way to the battlements. Nice moat for great photos from all sides. The last time I was there from the battlements one could see rows of hops on a nearby hillside and oast houses on top of the hill, also great photo op. the weather was cool and misty (July) but the mist did add to the atmosphere.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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I ditto willit about Hever Castle - and for historical associations you can't do better than Henry VIII and Ann Bolyene?

Bodium is a castle and grounds of your dreams

Leeds is more a marketing ploy - an average castle, if you can even call it that- that has for years done a huge marketing program
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 09:47 AM
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I agree with Palenque about Leeds Castle. We loved the day out but it looks as though you may be disappointed having seen and investigated so many others.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 10:00 AM
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Historically Leeds has much to recommend it. Unfortunately it has been tarted-up, and its authenticity has been severely compromised. The grounds are pleasant enough and the exterior makes for great picture-taking, but any historical integrity has long been lost. Bodium is, IMO, a far better choice.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 10:10 AM
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Leeds Castle does, however, have a dog-collar museum or did when i was last there
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Leeds wouldn't be my choice for one and only castle ever.

Bodiam is terrific even though it is a ruin. Lots to clamber over plus the moat.

But there are two "triangles" of terrific castles/gardens in East Sussex/Kent that you might want to consider.

In each of these - the 3 properties are very near each other and you could easily do 2 or even 3 of them in a short drive through enroute to LHR:

Triangle 1: Bodiam/Scotney Castle Gardens/Sissinghurst
Triangel 2: Hever/Chartwell/Penshurst Place.

Besides castles -- If you are interested in world famous gardens, literary connections and amazing photo ops, I'd choose #1

If you're interested in history, Churchill, pretty gardens, and an authentic Medieval Manor House (Pennshurst), I'd choose #2

BTW - some will say 3 places isn't possible in a day - and it does partly depend on how early you leave the ship. But I've easily done each of these triangles in about 6 hours when I've had time 'issues'. Of course, I've also taken 9 hours to see them when we had all day.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 10:27 AM
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janis - should i dust off my 'Kent' thread?
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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Actually the moat is what attracted me to Bodiam to begin with, and that it is more of a ruin, as I like the old more than the refurbished (or kid-friendly, with only a 21-year-old in tow!).

On this last day, when I expect DH will be tired, we (if my plan works) are driving from Dover through Rye, not stopping really, and to Battle. I can't keep teaching the importance of 1066 and skip going to the site!!! So then on to a castle if we can, still desiring to be at hotel around dinner time. So I was figuring just 1 castle, as part of seeing 3 things (village and battlefield). I agree that seeing 3 places isn't hard. We are early risers and energetic walkers.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 11:03 AM
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Battle is nothing really. Even IF you teach it - seeing the place wouldn't be a high point.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 11:29 AM
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Well i respectively disagree with Janis (at my peril, i know!) - i thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Battle - the old ruined abbey or whatever and all the battle field - the original 'battle field' i guess all laid out below - you can walk thru some really idyllic meadows, etc.

and the little village of Battle is one that many tourists dream about encountering but never do.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 12:19 PM
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Bodium is just a shell, but it is picture-perfect, and you could not find a more archetypal fairytale castle.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 12:23 PM
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PS You will also be not a million miles from Rye, which is quite a pretty area to explore, when done with Bodiam.
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 12:31 PM
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Yes, if you will note in one of my posts above, I said we'd be going through Rye (on our way FROM Dover TO LHR--seems it would make more sense to see Rye and then Bodiam).
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 12:32 PM
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Rye is a smallish town - good lunch stop
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