Brighton

Day Trip: Arundel

23 Dec 2019
Home to one of the most marvellous castle and cathedral combinations in the south of England, Arundel is a city that often gets overlooked in favour of its more illustrious neighbours. Don’t make the mistake that so many others do, give this small market town a slice of your time and it will reward you in kind. All the charm of a medieval town with none of the trappings of medieval life (namely the sewage, constant war and poor public transport links), Arundel is a delight waiting to be uncovered.

As always, we do recommend getting the train to Arundel if visiting from Brighton. This does require a change at Ford, although the small village just two miles from Arundel is worth a glance or two in its own right. The journey from Brighton to Arundel (via Ford) takes around an hour and 15 minutes, although the route does travel through some delightful countryside. Driving is also an option, with just 23 miles separating the two. Don’t get the bus. Why not? Just don’t.

Where else to start but Arundel Castle? One of the best castles in the south of England, this 11th century marvel has been extensively renovated and remodelled in recent times in a quest to recover what made it so majestic back when Roger de Montgomery established it on Christmas Day in 1067. The Dukes of Norfolk have called the castle home for nearly half a century, and we don’t know the words that do justice to how lucky that makes them.

A visit to the castle is an absolute must if you are in the area. The gardens, the serenity, the scenery, the furniture, the interior, everything about it just screams ‘Royal England’ and ‘period drama’, the two coming together more often than not. The BBC use this place for filming all the time, and it is easy to understand why. You’ll spend most of your time in Arundel here.

Not to be outdone, Arundel Cathedral more than holds its own in the grand Arundel stakes. The Cathedral Church of Our Lady and St Philip Howard (to give it its full title) is a gorgeous 19th century Catholic cathedral that shows how majestic religious architecture can be. The interior is of the ‘take your breath away’ variety.

And what of Arundel itself? Any town that finds itself sandwiched between the stunning coast and a much loved national park is in a tough position, but this market town does not let the side down. Far from it — its charming streets are home to a variety of gorgeous Georgian and Victorian buildings, an effortless style oozing from the streets in that undeniably English manner. There is no shortage of food and booze options here too, although we generally find it difficult to resist Belinda’s Tearooms. We’ve got a thing for the 16th century, what can we say?

It isn’t all about the past here though. The Arundel Wetlands Centre is a 60 acre wetland reserve just outside the town, one of nine such reserves in the country and a prosperous breeding ground for flora and fauna alike. The most intriguing beast here is the Hawaiian Goose, the rarest of all the honkers. Discounted tickets are available online, although members get to visit for free.

A stunning castle, a gorgeous cathedral, 16th century Tearooms and the rarest honker on the planet. What’s not to love? Arundel awaits.

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