One thing that the British do well is historical sights and castles, and Arundel does not disappoint. It is home to one of my favourite castles. Although castles are in abundance around the whole country and all of them are in different states of disrepair I always love to visit Arundel Castle the most which is set on the river Arun in West Sussex. It has been restored to its former glory, and has been remodelled and added to in order to accommodate the Norfolk family over the past 400 years. As you approach the town of Arundel you encounter the breathtaking view of Arundel Castle. It dominates the town and is a breathtaking sight to behold. As you get nearer the castle towers over the streets of Arundel and is most certainly the focal point of the town.
The castle itself is open regularly and offers some excellent experiences in to life at the castle during its prime. It is still today inhabited by the Norfolk family and is one of the longest inhabited country houses in England. For me the four best parts of the castle tour are; the views you get across the South Downs and along the River Arun, the chapel with all of its intricate detail, the library which is breathtaking and beautiful and my firm favourite The Barons’ Hall, a magnificent banqueting hall which is grand and luxurious. The Barons’ Hall was also used in the filming of The Young Victoria, which adds an extra special feel to the place.
Outside of the castle, in the grounds, there are some magnificent gardens to walk around and admire, as well as the Fitzalan chapel. I have been to visit this castle on so many occasions at different times of the year, but my favourite experiences have been when the castle put on events. The most memorable and enjoyable one being the International Jousting and Medieval Tournament. This enables you to see displays of 15th century jousting in the shadow of Arundel Castle, which is supported by an authentic Medieval style encampment including knights, men-at-arms, trumpeters, storytellers and musicians.
Outside of the castles walls there is still plenty to see and do. Situated in a prominent position overlooking the ancient town is Arundel Cathedral. This is a magnificent piece of architecture in the French, Gothic style. It is quite a walk from the entrance of the castle up a steep hill, but it is worth it. With beautiful stained glass windows and an amazing choir, if you’re there at the right time, it is a must do on your visit to Arundel.
My next recommendation for Arundel is the Wetlands Centre. This is a great day out for all the family and really gets you in touch with nature. The walkways through the reeds and gardens allow you to wildlife spot, you can hand feed the ducks and geese and even go on a short boat safari though the reeds of the wetlands. The cafe onsite also offers a perfect place to relax with excellent views and a good selection of delicious cuisine.
Lastly, but no where near the least important, Arundel is home to some superb pubs and shops. The town itself is full of quirky shops and antique stores as well as an abundance of restaurants, pubs and bars. There is definitely a place for everyone, if you want a quiet meal in a small restaurant, I would recommend Butlers, however if you are more of a live music fan, then the Red Lion is for you, and lastly the Black Rabbit is the best place for out door drinking and eating with views spanning the river and surrounding countryside.
Arundel may only be a small town tucked in to a steep vale of the South Downs in West Sussex, but it offers an abundance of history, culture, nature and spectacular buildings and scenery. It is well worth a visit.