Recently, we took our very first day trip with RAF Alconbury’s ITT to Bodiam and Scotney Castles. (For those of you who don’t know, ITT is the Information, Tickets and Tours office located on any American military base. They offer great trips for different activities and usually at a great discount to what you’d get on the economy. )
Bodiam Castle is located about 2 hours south east of Alconbury and it was definitely nice to get to ride there on the bus with ITT rather than have to drive that far. It gave us a chance to chat with our new friends and take a nap on the way back. Bodiam Castle is a 14th century castle with beautiful moat that truly resembles the moats you’ve seen in fairy tales. Sadly most of the inside of the castle is in ruins, but you can still see the outlines of where certain rooms were and they have a few plaques describing jobs and other facts. The grounds of the castle are absolutely picturesque and we really enjoyed taking photos.
We ate a delicious lunch at the tea room on the castle grounds. We ate our first English scones with clotted cream and jam and had some cream tea to go with it. The food was great but we were a little disappointed that it came on paper plates and nothing fancier since it was called a tea room. The tea room located at the entrance of the castle, near the parking lot, store, and restrooms looked like it had pretty dishes though, in case you want to take those instagram photos of your yummy scones, tea, or cappuccino.
After our stroll through the castle and lunch, we sat on a wall overlooking a large field full of sheep. It was so gloriously peaceful and I loved watching the little fluffy guys.
Next on the trip was Scotney Castle, about a 30 minute drive from Boadiam. While in the actual 14th century castle had less to see, the newer house was absolutely fabulous. The original castle was almost completely ruined, on purpose, after the new house was completed. They did this to make it more picturesque and they definitely achieved the goal. The gardens, the ruins and the rest of the grounds were absolutely breathtaking. The newer house that was built on the same grounds, was absolutely fabulous. The house was still furnished with the last family’s furniture and it almost felt like you could turn around and see the family sitting in the dining room, or the butler in the pantry preparing to serve dinner. I loved all of it.
While we booked this trip through the base, we learned that both of these castles are parted of the National Trust system and if you are a member, it’s free to enter all their locations. The National Trust membership is £114/ year for a couple and if you’re into history, architecture, the outdoors, or just exploring it’s definitely worth checking out. We plan on getting a membership to either the National Trust or English Heritage (similar idea, different locations), this year so we can explore more of our new home without spending too much. The English Heritage membership even includes stone henge! We even learned that many of the locations are dog friendly and you can
bring your furry little friend to enjoy a beautiful day out.