Arundel sounds like it should be in France, or mainland Europe. It sounds positively continental, and just rolls off the tongue like melted butter. It isn’t though, it is a little market town, in West Sussex, in the South East of England, and was the destination of choice for my weekend wander last weekend.
When I think of England; what often comes to mind is quaint villages, with cream teas, and beautiful architecture; and Arundel ticks all of those boxes, and the fact that this little market town is only 1 hour 40 minutes by train from London Bridge Station, makes it all the more worth while (there is more to England than London).
Arundel can also be accessed if you are in the one of seaside locations, such as Brighton, Worthing, and even Portsmouth. There is a bus that runs from Brighton to Portsmouth, along the coast; which will detour up into Arundel. This is route 700, and is operated through StageCoach, which you can search online for their timetables.
You can also get trains from the coast up to Arundel. The station is a little out of the town centre, but it may be your best bet, as parking is at a bit of a premium (space and cost wise) in this little village town. The town can get busy at weekends, but it is easy to walk to all the main sights, and cars will slow down or stop for those crossing the road.
What to see in Arundel
Arundel Castle and Gardens
So there appears to be a bit of a theme in my latest weekend wander series, and that is Castles. My previous weekend wander was to Hever Castle in Kent. I just can’t get enough of them at the moment; I am fascinated by those who once held residence there, as well as the beautiful architecture.
Arundel castle doesn’t disappoint as a castle. It was built in the 11th century and sits high on a hill, so has great views of the surrounding countryside., and is home to the Duke of Norfolk. Although for the avid Castle fans; it does not have a moat or drawbridge in situ; but the rest of the building and the surrounding gardens really do make up for it.
Arundel castle has various ticket types, and are categorised into bronze, silver, gold and gold plus.
I went for the silver option, which got me access to the keep, gardens, grounds, and chapel, this cost £11. If you just want access to the grounds and gardens, this is a Bronze ticket, and will cost £9. If you want access to the main castle rooms, and bedrooms – go for Gold or Gold plus, which will set you back between £16-18 (adult prices). Children, seniors and students will get discounted prices. Check out Arundelcastle.org for up to date information.
The Castle Keep
The Keep is a cool area of the castle, and has one of the better views (where you can take photos – no photography is allowed in the castle). However, please note that it closes at 4pm (unlike the main castle grounds and gardens, which closes at 5pm). So if you are a bit late to the party, head up to the keep first.
You may want to make sure you’re in a fairly fit condition though, there are several narrow and windy stairs to the top of the keep (which will only allow one person up or down at a time – it is that narrow) – there is a little rope bannister, but seriously – watch your step, and probably wear better footwear than I have chosen here.
To get to the Keep, you have to go through the main Castle, of which I have no photos – as Photography is not allowed, but here you can see the period architecture, and get a low down on the history of the place.
Once outside of the castle, toward the Keep – get your camera out again, and snap away.
The gardens are a great way to while away your time in the sunshine (if it is of course sunny), on your visit there. Perfectly manicured lawns, a blooming display of flowers, and wonderfully calming water features – it made for a great place to sit and reflect.
The cathedral is visible from the castle, and likewise – in fact the cathedral is right on the other side of the castle grounds, but you cannot just walk across the road to it, you must walk down the hill, through town and up again (you certainly get well exercised in Arundel).
The cathedral is open daily from 9am-6pm, but please note, it is an active cathedral, and so you should respect the Sunday services that happen there (or go along if you’d like).
The cathedral was built in 1873, and is nothing short of beautiful inside and out. It is a great place to sit and reflect (I do this a lot), with stunning stained glass windows, and high ceilings.
There were just a handful of tourists at the Cathedral (which is a little less popular to visit), though I am not sure why – it is stunning.
There is no entry cost, but there is a donation box, should you wish to give to the work of the church.
When you have become tried from all that hill walking, the next best thing to do in Arundel is to sit down and have a lovely cream tea – this is something which is typically English, and I love it (I think I am getting old!)
The cream teas will start from £4.95, and usually include 2 scones, cream and jam. Though there is much controversy over which goes first – the jam or the cream. This is something I only recently learnt about, as it made sense to me to put the jam on, with a dollop of cream on top, but apparently you do it the other way round.
Either way, they taste amazing, and you shouldn’t feel one bit guilty for eating them.
Other things to see and do in Arundel
The above is about all I had time for in 5 hours, but there is much more to Arundel to that. If you are looking for shopping, Arundel is not that place for that – there are some small quaint, independent shops, a lot of pubs and cafes, and a brewery.
You can take a stroll along the river, check out Arundel Museum or visit the Arundel Jailhouse, which has Ghost Tours in the actual prison, and host live comedy and events in the evening.