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“Heaven on earth...”

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Bodiam Boating Station
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
5 reviews
“Heaven on earth...”
Reviewed 29 July 2013

I arranged a 30th birthday party stay for two nights for my wife and a group of friends during the middle of July. The checklist for the ideal location to host this was extremely high and to be honest I did not think I would find it. A stunning location, plenty of things to do during the day, a warm welcome, a pub close by and a camp side fire. Bodiam Boating Station ticked every single box and more.

Alex and Vanessa were absolutely fantastic right from when I made contact. They were understanding in accommodating a large group of people, they offered advice on what to do during our stay and provided a warm welcome throughout. I cannot recommend enough to stay here as there is something for everyone. A beautiful location over looking Sussex pastures, a stunning river that you can swim in with a picturesque bridge, a cottage cafe to visit first thing in the morning to sit and have a coffee and croissant, a steam train railway line within walking distance that stops right beside the castle, a great pub serving fine food, a wonderful well kept castle to visit and a sunset boat cruise to top it off. There is more than this to do but that’s all we could fit in over two days.

All our guests were raving about their stay and will all be coming back soon. I read one or two reviews prior to booking that mention the road among other things but can reassure anyone thinking of staying here that we did not hear it once and that every single one of our 20 guests had only positives things to say about their stay. I would thoroughly recommend the sunset boat cruise where Alex was the best host with plenty of history of the waterway and the surrounding countryside to inform us about as well allowing the party to let their hair down and celebrate. A swim in the river, The White Hart pub, Bodiam Castle, The Castle Inn pub, the steam railway, a camp side fire toasting marsh mellows, a coffee and ice cream from the cottage cafe and a boat cruise along the river. All recommended. Our weekend at Bodiam Boating Station will live long in the memory of all our guests and will ensure we visit time and again. There are already plans being hatched to visit the same time next year. You will be seeing us again very soon.

Thank you Alex & Vanessa.

Jordan & Hannah.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jordan-MR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
65 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2013

We have just stayed here for the second time, wow great improvements by the owners Vanessa and Alex. They are working to hard to make this little campsite something special and special it is!! Warm welcome from Alex and shown to our pitches, asked if we wanted to order coffee, papers etc for delivery in the morning. The campsite is simple, but simple is good.campfires at night are brilliant! The location is brilliant and the boating options are brilliant fun. Close o lovely walks along the river, great pub over the road and Indian take away just up the road, what more could you ask for. They have a small tea room serving the best chocolate muffins ever, good coffee, ice creams and much more. We will be back!!

Helpful?
Thank fussyrobson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BodiamBoatingStation, Owner at Bodiam Boating Station, responded to this review, 30 May 2013
So glad you liked the improvements and so lovely to have returning campers; it's the biggest compliment. Hoping to get a hat -trick!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 May 2013

What a great place for a weekend break. Just returned from camping at Bodiam Boating Station, its a great location right next the River Rother, a 100 yards from The White Hart (fab food! a proper country pub) and a perfect English cricket ground. Alex, Vanessa and the kids are so welcoming and helpful, we felt right at home. Took a boat trip along the Rother with Alex - it was so nice to see beautiful countryside and so peaceful. There's so much to do nearby - we'll be back!
Thanks Alex, Vanessa, Izzy and Billy.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank James S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BodiamBoatingStation, Owner at Bodiam Boating Station, responded to this review, 29 May 2013
Thanks for your comments and we're so pleased you enjoyed staying here - hope the kids are wearing their BBS t-shirts with pride!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 7 May 2013

A fantastic camping weekend at bodiam boating station. Great location, service and hospitality. The trip on the ferry to the castle was the high point of the weekend for the children. They loved the opportunity to steer the boat.

Stayed May 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank Carl A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BodiamBoatingStation, Owner at Bodiam Boating Station, responded to this review, 29 May 2013
So glad you enjoyed your stay and I hope we see you here again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 6 May 2013

A fantastic camping weekend at bodiam boating station. Great location, service and hospitality. The trip on the ferry to the castle was the high point of the weekend for the children. They loved the opportunity to steer the boat.

Helpful?
Thank Carl A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 September 2012

We have just returned from a fantastic weekend at the Bodium Boating Station. We booked as a group of 6 families, with lots of kids ranging from 7-14. From the moment we arrived, Vanessa and Alex couldn't do enough to make us feel welcome. The camping area is grass, well drained, and flat and they were able to accommodate our mix of tents + camper van. The facilities were a little rustic (but spotless) and more than adequate. We understand that plans are in place for a major upgrade over the winter.

One of the greatest attributes of this site is its proximity to the river. We had a super trip on Alex's boat to Bodium with fresh tea & coffee in hand. The kids really enjoyed the opportunity to steer the boat. The 2.5 hr stop at Bodium castle was just about the right amount of time to see the castle and grab some lunch. On our return back to the site we had a lovely cream tea in the garden.

At Vanessa's advice, we took a 1hr (loop) walk along the river bank before a short stroll up to the White Hart for dinner (food was excellent). After dinner, we returned to open fires and toasted marshmallows. Everything you need is provided at a very reasonable charge.

One small word about the owners dog Una. The cutest, friendliest dog you could ever meet!

We all had a great time, totally recommend this campsite!!

Helpful?
Thank vwcamper1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BodiamBoatingStation, Owner at Bodiam Boating Station, responded to this review, 6 November 2012
Thanks for your lovely comments. It was great to meet you all and host your get together. Plans for improvement are well underway and if the weather holds, we hope to start soon. Just got to hope we can achieve it all before the start of the next season, so fingers crossed!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 September 2012

We booked for a long weekend recently, but left on the Sunday for various reasons.

Firstly the noise. Not from other campers, as everyone seemed to respect the quiet after 10.30 curfew, which is good. The noise is firstly from the A286, which is about 50 metres way and is a fairly busy road with a fair amount of traffic noise and secondly from the landscaping business literally next door, which has JCB loaders making a fair amount of noise from around 8 in the morning. To be fair, they weren't open on Sunday, but we left so that we wouldn't be woken up early on Monday.

Secondly the facilities aren't great. There's only 1 toilet (not a block, but literally 1 toilet) for 15 pitches. There's also only 1 male shower and 1 female shower. These were clean, but very basic, with not even a shelf to put a toilet bag on. 50p didn't seem to get long in the shower; I didn't have time to wash both hair and body with one 50p. Also, charging for a shower when the pitch is £15 is a bit much. I've never been to a campsite that charged that much for a pitch and then charged for showers.

The cafe is oversold on the website in my opinion. It's more of a kiosk attached to what is admittedly a nice garden, but if the weather is bad, there'd be nowhere to sit. The kiosk also doubles as reception and boat hire, so if you want to check in you need to join the queue of ice cream and boat hire people. These functions would be better separated so that campers at least get the impression that they matter; we felt like an inconvenience when we turned up as priority was given to people buying ice creams.

The site would benefit from more tourist information. I asked for the number for a local taxi firm and although it was provided, I was again given the impression that I was an inconvenience.

There aren't many rules at the site, which is good, but surely the owners should be expected to follow them? Everyone respected that all dogs should be on a lead, except for the owner, who's dog was not controlled on a lead and was allowed to roam and bother other dogs/campers. I like dogs, but not everyone does, so this was a bit bad.

The site does have some plus points:

Alex is a genial host and runs the ferry service well. The boat ride to Bodiam was nice and Alex lets the children on board have a go at steering the boat, which gives a nice relaxed friendly feel.

The site is about 300m from the White Hart pub, which does good food and ale and is about 400m from the steam railway station at Northiam. It's nice to watch the trains coming past the campsite.

Fires are allowed in the fire bowls for hire at £5 for the duration of your trip. A good fire always makes for a pleasant evening outdoors,

All in all though, I think the bad points outweigh the good and that's why we left early. The website is a great PR job, but the reality of the site doesn't match up. if you don't have a hook up, all you get for your £15 a night is a pitch and the use of the toilet. Everything else is extra and the external noise is a pain - even with earplugs.

Helpful?
3 Thank emperortomatoketchup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BodiamBoatingStation, Owner at Bodiam Boating Station, responded to this review, 17 September 2012
I can’t tell you how upsetting it is to read your dreadful review ... on this site and others. I realise you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but I feel compelled to respond and defend some of the myths in your statement.
To start with a positive; thank you for complimenting our website; I have very little experience of web design and have thoroughly enjoyed creating a forum for communicating our business and all that it has to offer. The website, we feel, is transparent and does nothing to mask the reality of our premises or mislead potential customers. However, after your comments, I will add more photos to enhance this transparency.
Our cafe not being a cafe; ok, so we are operating from a combination of our ‘shed’ like structure and the cottage kitchen and the only covered seating is under a veranda. We have branded it a ‘cafe’ as we have plans to start building a permanent indoor cafe with seating this winter. However, we are producing a full menu including lunch with a wine list, so I don’t think ‘kiosk’ quite ticks the box either.
We moved here 5 months ago and had to open the business immediately. The project is a working progress and whilst we have made lots of little improvements, we have been unable to tackle improvements requiring planning permission. We agree that one WC plus additional one in tea garden is not ideal (though lots of campers compliment simplistic facilities). We are awaiting approval to build three wet rooms this winter. We are also looking at ways of soundproofing, to minimise disturbance from our neighbours, but again you must appreciate that this is not an overnight job and needs to be tackled out of season.
We are in a conservation area and the coin operated showers encourage people to save water; each 50p lasts 3.5mins and the 6’ bench should provide sufficient space for toiletries/clothes.
We ask people to keep their dogs on leads when on site, so that they don’t scare children or deposit faeces. It is not practical (or humane) to keep a dog that lives here, on a lead. Yes, our little Oona is a nightmare – but for us! She’s just 5 months old and this is the first negative comment about her. Most campers threaten to take her home, many ask to walk her and I’m yet to come charging over to the campsite to chase her around for the umpteenth time that day and NOT see people smiling and laughing because I can’t catch her. She is tiny and despite our best efforts to dog proof the garden, she still continues to escape. Naturally she thinks that if she can get to the campsite, she’ll chance across a sausage or two! What I will do, after your comments, is put up a notice to ask campers NOT to feed her, so that her escapades become futile and she’ll eventually give up.

I am truly sorry that you felt I was offhand. I remember you arriving and yes, I was on my way out; we have two small children and I had to get them to an appointment. We stress that we are a family run business and not some huge conglomerate. This was one of only two days that I left the site over the whole school summer holidays! In my absence, I had ensured that enough staff members were available to look after customers in the way we expect. I simply pointed you in the direction of one of them, gave you their name and told you they’d look after you, which I believe they did. If you remember, when you asked for a taxi number, I berated myself for not knowing the answer to a seemingly simple question. I offered to find you a number, but as there was a huge queue of people wanting boats/food/ferry tickets, I asked if it was urgent or if I could find it a bit later. When you said you needed the information straight away, I left everything going on outside, logged onto our very slow PC, found a number and offered to lend you a phone – it wasn’t grudgingly; but without a doubt I was trying to be quick. Since your visit, I have sourced a local taxi driver and have a stack of his cards to hand out.

We pride ourselves on being as flexible as possible and going the extra mile – I have washed a guest’s clothes after they’d got muddy at a festival, let a guy pitch a tent the night before arrival (without charge). A few weeks ago, a lady fell in the river and I gave up our family bathroom so that she could have a shower while I dried her clothes. I even complimented you and your partner on being the best dressed campers we’ve ever had!

I find some of your comments grossly unfair and slanderous. Such comments can be hugely damaging to a business, particularly such a new one. I hope you will see that we are a young family starting a new venture; a business which is nowhere near where we want it to be yet, but we cannot have it all over night and are working as hard as possible to make the right steps to achieve our end goal. I invite you to visit again in the future to see for yourself the progress we will make.
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Additional Information about Bodiam Boating Station

Property: Bodiam Boating Station
Address: Riverside Cottage Rye Road | Newenden, Newenden TN18 5PP, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Kent > Newenden
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Newenden

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