A Castle With A Town
Arundel sits on a curve of the River Arun and feels like an ancient market town that never once lost its desire to treat travellers to its charms, with lively markets, countless tea rooms, antique stores stuffed with art deco sculptures, tatty books and personal relics from local auctions along with inviting little pubs lining the main street. But the most notable attraction is the castle packed full with 1000 years of history that sways over the slated roofs of Arundel. From afar, the Castle’s imposing looks are disarming and its various battlements and towers look huge, giving Arundel the appearance of a medieval village clinging to the walls of a castle for safety, especially when coupled with the cathedral that forms a striking double-tiered crown when viewed from the hills.
A closer inspection reveals rooms immortalised and bedecked with luxuries enough for a Queen — indeed Queen Victoria’s bedroom is accessible, still waiting patiently to comfort royal shoulders once more — and various artefacts and paintings from throughout Arundel’s history line the ancient walls. Of particular note is the stunning library that evokes a sense of smokey mysticism with its fusion of Asian and European decor: hardwoods, lush, evocative red fabrics and Chinese lanterns that light the dusty pages of the 800-year-old manuscripts. Much of Arundel Castle is private as the family of the Dukes of Norfolk still live there so many parts are off-limits. But the oldest part, the castle keep, offers a fascinating view into Arundel's beginnings as well as the best elevation to take in the views of the South Downs. In the warmer months, the gardens provide glorious escapes, with enchanting fountains, pretty follies, water gardens and the sweet aromas of rose, dahlias and lilies scenting the air with a summery English romanticism.