Glottenham Castle

UK England South East England East Sussex Bodiam

  • Campfires allowed
  • Groups welcome
  • Campfires Allowed
  • Short walk to pub
  • Beaches nearby
  • Good walks nearby
  • Walking
Family camping and luxury glamping in the grounds of a former castle and hop farm

Sat atop a hill overlooking the High Weald beyond, Glottenham Farm is a place that’s shaped by history. The medieval castle that once stood here was removed in the 16th century, but its moat, ditches and banks still remain, while it was the Romans who planted the hornbeam woodland below. In later years, Glottenham became a thriving hop farm and popular country retreat of the Pre-Raphaelies. Christina Rossetti wrote poetically of her stay, “the greenness and flowers to refresh our London eyes, and a small population of beasts and birds around us.”

While history has sculpted the hills, it’s today’s owners – Rob and Emma – who have breathed new life into the land with diversification projects and the introduction of Glottenham Castle’s renowned campsite. The Roman wood is now the idyllic setting for luxurious yurts and giant geodesic domes, while a pair of 10-acre meadows welcome family campers every summer. Managing the land is still very much the focus – huge dams are restoring the farm’s wetland area that dates back over 600 years and charcoal creation has begun in the woods again – but, for most, the joy of Glottenham is the open space, the sense of wilderness and a magnificent setting in the heart of the High Weald.

On a practical level, the campsite, though off-grid, has everything you need. There are composting toilets, a standpipe for fresh water and wonderful gas-heated showers without roofs, so you feel like you are standing in hot monsoon rain. Campfires (in firepits) are very much encouraged – you can even buy the farm’s own wood and charcoal – and an on-site ‘forest school’ provides an introduction to foraging, wild cooking, bushcraft skills and more. For those who want to leave the tent at home, meanwhile, there’s a full spectrum of glamping options, ranging from yurts to the full-blown comfort of the furnished woodland domes.

Off site, campers are blessed with a location in the heart of 1066 country. If the loss of the original castle has left you wanting, there are plenty still standing nearby. There’s National Trust-owned Scotney Castle to the north, along with Sutton Valence and Leeds Castle beyond, while south lies Hastings itself, home to a ruined 11th century fortress and preceded on the road by the town of Battle (the beautiful abbey town where King Harold met his match). The closest of the lot is Bodiam Castle, 10 minute’s drive away. The quintessential moated keep puts on activities for kids in summer and the grounds are free to enter, though it’s worth paying fully for the tower-top views alone.

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Details

Facilities

6 compost toilets (plus 4 extra, temporary ones in summer), 3 gas-heated outdoor showers, water standpipes and an extra hang-out space in a 24ft yurt with sofas, beanbags, games and books. Separate car parking. Each glamping unit is individually furnished (though all have comfortable beds, wood-burning stoves and come with woodland kitchen facilities) – see individual units for further details. There are no electric hook-ups but you can hire a Bio-lite Stove which converts heat into electrical charge for USB devices (tablets, phones and so on) and regular campfires are permitted. Firewood, charcoal and local produce hampers available. See their website for further details of the on-site Forest School, which teaches foraging, herbal medicine, woodland crafts, art, wild cooking and bushcraft skills for adults, families and kids.

Suitable For

Glampers, tent campers, families and couples – yes. Campervans, caravans, dogs and noisy folks – no.

Nearby

The historic town of Battle, site of the pivotal 1066 conflict, is just down the road. You can visit the famous Abbey and Battlefield (01424 775705) where you'll find a visitors centre featuring CGI films and interactive displays. Nearby Hastings Old Town is a charming, artsy commune – the seafront's iconic black net-huts, evidence of the largest beach-launched fleet in Europe. The black, angular lines of the adjacent Jerwood Gallery (01424 728377) of modern and contemporary art provides a pleasing contrast. The boho Norman Road in neighbouring St Leonards-on-Sea rivals Brighton for unique independent shops (particularly art and antiques). Around 20mins away, the Bedgebury Pinetum (01580 879842) has some fantastic walks and cycle routes (cycle hire available), plus a Go Ape!(0843 770 3573). Bodiam Castle (01580 830196) is the quintessential English castle. Entry to the grounds is free, but the entry fee to the castle (adults £7/children £3.50) is worth it for the views from the top of the towers. They also put on free activities for kids during the summer holidays. Bateman's (01435 882302), the home of Rudyard Kipling is also nearby, while the picturesque cobbled streets of Rye (under half an hour away) are full of medieval charm.

Food & Drink

East Sussex has an embarrassment of wonderful local produce – from cider and wine, to Glottenham's own Sussex beef cattle (not to mention eggs from the free-range chickens). Unsurprisingly, there are a wealth of artisan farm shops nearby – Poppinghole Farm (01580 880503), Buster's (01580 882020) (with its own butchery), and a little further afield Catsfield's Great Park Farm (01424 772531) are among the finest. Should you find yourself unable to leave the delights ofGlottenham, Emma and Rob can supply you with a choice of tasty, locally-sourced hampers. There is a wood fired pizza oven which can be fired up if there is enough demand – nothing says luxury camping like homemade pizzas, right? Or you can arrange an afternoon learning how to build your own oven, make dough and create your own pizza! Robertsbridge is similarly sorted for fabulous pubs. The George Inn (01580 880315) is a welcoming, family-friendly inn with an inventive menu of pub grub favourites and a fine selection of Kent and Sussex wines. The Ostritch (01580 881737) with its quirky tropical garden and the Salehurst Halt (01580 880620) are also decent shouts. For something a little more exotic, The New Spice (01580 881999) Indian restaurant is also garnering rave reviews.

Opening Times

Glamping: Easter–October. Camping: August only.

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The Owner Says

Glottenham is a fabulous 160 acre family working farm set in the High Weald area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a mixed farm, with around 20 acres of woodland, plus arable and grazing for sheep and Sussex beef cattle. Glottenham now offers eco-glamping in 4 units at the main site from Easter til October, plus a diverse selection of units in the Family Fields and choice secluded glades during August. The farm, on the outskirts of Robertsbridge, lies on a hill between two valleys, with streams on either side which feed into the River Rother. At the highest point is the site of Glottenham Castle, a scheduled monument. The castle itself was removed in the sixteenth century, but the moat and raised mound is still in evidence.

Accommodation

12 grass camping pitches in the Family Field, 5 secluded camping pitches in the Dairy Woods, 1 yurt, 2 geo-domes, and 1 tree cabin plus a private area for group hire with a yurt and space for up to 5 tents.

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Location

Contact Glottenham Castle, Glottenham Farm, Bishops Lane, Robertsbridge, East Sussex TN33 0HP

Show Map

Getting There

From London: Take the A21 from M25, heading south to Hastings. At Hurst Green carry on through the village and down the hill. Cross the roundabout (don’t turn into Robertsbridge village) and continue 1 mile up the hill. Take the first turning on the right, signposted to Robertsbridge, then the first left into Heathfield Gardens. Follow the road through the houses and, before you go under the railway bridge, there is a lane to the left, signposted to Glottenham Nursing Home. Carry on up the farm lane for 1 mile and go up the hill at the end. You will pass an oast house on your left, and the road splits into 3. Take the right hand fork and continue straight up and past the large farm barn. Continue along the farm track and parking/reception will be marked after 500 yards.

Robertsbridge station is on the mainline from Charing Cross to Hastings, and is accessible from Brighton, changing at St Leonards, Warrior Square. Pick-up/drop-off service can be arranged from the station for £10.

Reviews

Add Your Review

Rated ★★★★★ over 8 reviews

★★★★★

Simple, quiet and beautiful

Our family of five had a lovely time at Glottenham. The family field is large, with plenty of space. Our kids enjoyed roaming around and exploring the woods and stream. Facilities are basic, with compositing loos and an outdoor shower (which was lovely and warm), it would have been great to have a covered area to do washing up etc.. but this is my only suggestion. Overall if you want a proper camping experience, surrounded by space, big skies and nature go here! I was even lucky enough to see a barn owl too!
Aug 29, 2019 by Isobel
★★★★☆

Simple, quiet, relaxed

We stayed over the August bank holiday weekend, this is one of the busiest camping periods of the summer, I expected it to be a lot busier, but because they limit the amount of tents here it was very quiet and relaxed. We had plenty of room to enjoy ourselves. Fires are limited to fire pits, available along with the wood at the honesty shop, this is nice touch as there aren’t scorch marks all over the field from previous fires. Over all, a quiet, pretty campsite with a very relaxed atmosphere. Also, a lovely, hot shower in the bamboo lined outdoor cubicle was very nice. Would definitely come again.
Aug 26, 2019 by Leigh Swan
★★★★☆

Very pleasant back to basics camping (family field)

There are several parts to this campsite. We stayed in the family field. Lovely unspoilt countryside, 12 pitches so loads of space. Birdsong dragon flies, amazing sunsets. The Family field has one hot shower and two composting toilets, plus two standpipes. It's a bit more glam in the other areas! Recommend the George pub in Robertsbridge (a nice walk away) for great lunch.
Aug 22, 2019 by Stewart Horne
★★★★★

Fantastic camping in real nature

We stayed there for three nights and it was fabulous. It’s a big field sheltered by oak trees all around. It’s absolutely beautiful, secluded and for one of the nights we were alone and could not see any other humans or lights so it was utterly peaceful and tranquil. That means that your children can charge around the field and streams and trees, make as much noise as they like and not disturb anyone. At night it was just the stars, bats flitting around from the trees at dusk and owls hooting. We were there during a major storm that closed Dover port but the trees around this field and a big bank at the end completely sheltered us and we had no problems at all. The facilities are basic but we had fab hot showers every morning (once in the rain which is a great experience!) and the composting toilets were clean and well-maintained. The honesty shop for firewood, kindling and borrowing fire pits is great. Lots to do in the area and we would definitely go there again.
Aug 17, 2019 by Chris Ling
★★★★☆

Very nearly wild camping

We have just returned from 2 nights at Glottenham, camping in our own tent on the family field. We were the only campers on site and had the whole field, 2 paddle-friendly streams and surrounding countryside all to ourselves. The facilities here are basic, just 2 composting loos and an outdoor gas shower, plus water tap. This was all we wanted, and exceeded our 'off grid' expectations! We came away feeling refreshed and recharged. A great spot for spotting and enjoying wildlife... though I'm not sure we 'enjoyed' the disgruntled owl at 3am! I can't say that Glottenham offers anything of WOW factor, but I can't necessary fault it either. Its a field, with some basic facilities. If that's what you're after it'll tick every box. There are several National Trust properties within a short drive. We popped out to Scotney Castle which is beautiful.
Aug 31, 2018 by quinncampsengland
★★★★★

Sun and solitude

Spent a wonderful if all too brief weekend at Glottenham Castle, camping with my teenage daughter and her friend. The camping site is large and surrounded on all sides by trees which makes for a very tranquil setting even when the wind is blowing. We were free to choose our pitch and help ourselves to the fire pit and wood from the tent at reception, with an honesty box for payment.This is a great touch as I tend to angst about not being able to source wood or running out of it at the most inopportune moment. If like me you look for the basics in a site such as a shower that is open to the elements and compost toilets then this place is ideal. There are no frills at but there are all the wonders of this type of camping and the blanket of stars that covered the site at night was very much a highlight. Both girls reflected on how much they love camping and this was very much down to the site and its qualities. Also lovely to have Suzie on site to offer assistance on occasions. Very highly recommend this site for those looking to get a little bit closer to nature without the trappings of modernity to get in the way.
Aug 13, 2018 by mark taylor

Response from Glottenham Castle

Thank you so much for your lovely review, and glad that you enjoyed your stay with us xxx Emma and Suzie
★★★★★

We loved it!

Two adults and four children. Plenty of sleeping space in the yurt. Huge outdoor area for the kids to explore. Long grass areas, short grass, woodland, stream. We all particularly liked the outdoor shower which was powerful and hot. Enjoyed sitting round the fire and cooking on the fire. (logs, kindling and charcoal available at a small cost). We found it a great base for beach and local historical sites. Battle really nice. We hope to return. Definitely recommended.
Aug 26, 2016 by Simon
★★★★★

Very peaceful

Stayed for 3 nights in a yurt in the Family Field, where they also allow campers with their own tents. The yurt was great, plenty of room for 4 of us, and even with 6 there would have been ample space. The yurt comes with an covered eating/ cooking area, and a fire pit for campfires/ bbqs. The area you camp in comprises of 2 very large fields, with so much space for children to play and explore in a varied environment with a stream, pond and long grassy areas. The toilets are compost and there is an outdoor shower, but they are a lovely design, odourless and the showers hot, so very pleasant! There is so much space you can almost feel like you are the only people there, we felt very chilled out relaxing on an evening watching the sunset over our campfire with an uninterrupted view in front of us! If you do leave the tranquility of the site there is plenty to do in the area, with Bodiam and Battle close by, and the coast a little further.
Aug 11, 2016 by bexmum

Why book with Cool Camping?

  • Best Price Guarantee, with no fees
  • Instant booking confirmation
  • Trusted for over 10 years
  • A chance to win prizes in our regular competitions

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