For this post we’re heading over to West Sussex, to talk about Arundel and Arundel Castle. Arundel is a place i’ve always wanted to visit, often passing on the way back from Brighton or Eastbourne. The striking views of the castle poking out from the sleepy market town have always stuck with me – making it an easy submission to my ever-growing list of places to visit.
VISITING ARUNDEL CASTLE
I accidentally visited Arundel Castle at possibly one of the busiest times in their calendar – the annual Medieval Jousting Week. The event included Jousting, Falconry, stalls and too many people walking around in historical costume – aka a pair of M&S Long Johns. The event was great for families, but I’d love to go back when it’s a bit quieter and really take it all in.
For adults, tickets start at £13 for the Bronze pass which will get you entrance to only a few areas of the grounds. The Gold Plus pass is £22 and will give you access to all the areas that are open to the public. The Medieval Jousting Week made our tickets cost a few pounds extra. Visit their website for full ticket details and for any upcoming events.
GETTING TO ARUNDEL
Arundel is in West Sussex, and if you’re heading from East Dorset by car it should be just under two hours. There’s a pay and display parking (with an overflow) opposite the entrance to Arundel Castle, but there’s also limited roadside parking about a 10 minute walk away if you’d prefer not to pay. For the main parking use BN18 9PA in your Sat Nav.
Arundel has a train station too, and it’s only a 15 minute walk from the castle. You can always jump into a taxi if you want to get there pronto. Because Arundel is a little out of the way you might have to change trains, so if you’re coming from Dorset you’ll most likely need to change at Southampton.
THINGS TO SEE
Ancient Castle and The Keep
Arundel Castle has been home to generations of the Duke of Norfolk (18 to be exact), it’s a Norman Castle with the addition of a large Manor House in the victorian era. According to the guide book, the current Duke of Norfolk moved back in to the castle in the 1980s – it hadn’t been lived in for more than 20 years! It’s thanks to him (and his family) and the charitable trust for restoring the interiors, gardens and the park so visitors can have the best experience.
The view of the grounds and the South Downs from the castle is breathtaking. I like to imagine all the people that have looked out at the view – were they as blown away back then? And how much has it changed? I can almost picture people riding horseback, charging at the castle.
The stately home is joined onto the castle but has a separate entrance for the public. It boasts a very lavish interior; there’s a private chapel, a great hall, an armoury, drawing rooms, a gallery, dressing rooms, grand bedrooms and a library (that’s vert reminiscent of Harry Potter). The bedrooms have housed some royal guests too, like Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Each room and hallway area is home to stunning collections of art and objet d’art.
The house definitely feels like a work of art in its own right, you can see the influence of different centuries as well as the various owners coming through.
I didn’t have very long as the gardens closed at 17.00 and it was 16.50 by the time I realised. Armed with my camera I legged it to the gardens hoping to catch a small glimpse. And WOW! I was absolutely blown away by the view and the colours. I’d recommend giving yourself more than 10 minutes to frantically dart around trying to take everything in.
The Gardens are split into 13 sections (unlucky for some) and include a few fountains, a Hot House, a Vinery and Peach House, a Kitchen Garden and a Flower Garden. The Kitchen Garden is actually a working garden as the produce grown is used in the castle.
The centrepiece of the garden is ‘Oberon’s Palace’. It towers over the far end of the garden almost transporting you to another place. It looks new, but it’s actually dated back to the early 1600s and is well worth a look.
WHERE TO EAT
There are two places on-site for food and drink – the restaurant and the café. The restaurant serves light meals and lunches but if you would prefer to eat al fresco you can grab some sandwiches and drinks from the nearby café and head outside. We took a packed lunch and found a nice shaded spot under a tree – it’s really picnic friendly, but i’d recommenced bringing a blanket to sit on. While i’m making recommendations I might as well say that as there’s lots of walking and climbing up stairs, wear comfortable shoes for this trip.
I absolutely loved visiting Arundel Castle (and even bought the guide book so I could read up on it) – I can’t wait to go back and explore it some more. I reckon it’ll be very magical in winter!
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Good to know…
- Pay and display parking available
- Prices start from £13 (adult)
- Options for food/BYOP