storming like Saxons our recent day out at Bodiam Castle as ambassadors for Visit 1066 Country, we had the chance to enjoy a riverboat cruise back to our car instead of returning on the grand steam train that we’d enjoyed earlier that day. The thought of 45 minutes quiet time, drifting along the picturesque riverbanks of East Sussex at the end of a busy and exciting trip with the boys sounded just about perfect.
Hand dipped ice creams in hand [and across face, around mouths and down crisp white polo shirts if you saw our Twitter that day], we wandered alongside the wildflower scattered banks of the water and
collapsed rested lazily under the shade of a large oak tree on the grass of the prettiest bus stop in the country. Our riverboat captain checked off the passenger list and then helped us all embark – we were onboard the Dannie Lee.
Forty five minutes later, as we begrudgingly stepped off the boat, we’d divided our time between spotting jewelled dragonflies as they darted through the river reeds, and just relaxing, eyes closed in blissful silence as the sunshine danced across our faces [and burned my shoulders as I managed once more to somehow forget to apply more sunscreen to myself whilst managing to keep the boys all safe].
We had one final stop to make for a drink at Bodiam Boating Station and their new Lime Wharf Café, and to be quite honest, I was tired, hot, and just looking forward to getting into the car and heading for home.
Three boys between us, both me and the mister were exhausted. I consider myself a pretty chirpy person but the thought of queuing in a café to then sit at a table and wrestle Hero, who was crabby himself and ready for bedtime, whilst keeping an eye on two fidgety boys at the same time, wasn’t very appealing. I wanted to go h-o-m-e.
I practically dragged us off the dock towards the outside of the café, took a deep breath and mounted the steps to inside. The exterior told me nothing of the inside that was awaiting us.
A naturally lit, cool, calm, open space lay before us, with floor to ceiling windows that drew us deep into the café, to sink into a buttery soft, weathered-leather sofa that comforted me as if it knew what my body had been through for the past thirty something years [and seven hours that day].
After a hot day trekking around the castle, the boys were coated in a combination of ice-cream, sweat and mud. I’d had a camera strapped around my neck and a rucksack on my back, and the mister had hauled Hero up and down every castle staircase as we wound our way around the towers and turrets, and through doorways to hidden rooms – and we were absolutely beat. Within minutes, Alex, one half of the husband-wife duo that own the station and café paradise, had bought us ice cold, deliciously fruity drinks with straws and the boys drank like they were small [sweet, non-spitting] camels at an oasis.
As if the inside wasn’t enough – Lime Wharf Café also has other assets. A beautiful, manicured flower and produce garden, complete with outdoor bar, basketball hoop for the children and wooden patio. Being able to watch the boys safely play outside whilst relaxing on the sofa was even better than being at home. I truly wished that this café was actually in Hampshire.
The boys frolicked and made friends immediately outside [how DO children do that?!] until we were delivered heaven on a plate – and they spotted it through those glorious windows. The gooiest, most melt-in-the-mouth, perfectly warm, heavenly chocolate brownie dessert – with ice cream. The boys decided on huge gingerbread men as Hero crushed little crumbs between his chubby fingers in glee.
A couple of hours later, we wandered out to the car – much more relaxed than when we’d arrived and saddened at the prospect of a three hour drive home after such restful, perfectly Summery surroundings. Even the boys, usually homebodies at the end of a day out – were complaining that they wanted to stay. We can’t recommend Bodiam Boating Station highly enough. You made the end of our day one of the highlights of our travels in 1066 Country – and against
my grumpy mood all odds, too. Thank you for your very kind hospitality!