Fringe Box



Further Afield For A Pleasant Day Out: Arundel

Published on: 24 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 4 Mar, 2013

This month John Gilbert takes a trip to Arundel in West Sussex.

Nestling the magnificent castle of England’s premier duke, (The Duke of Norfolk) and within an hour’s drive from Guildford, is idyllic Arundel. From its bridge over the River Arun, the historic High Street leads t0 the crown of the hill, where the castle and cathedral tower splendidly over the town.

Arundel castle.

Arundel Castle.

Whereas in part, this review and the town’s own website understandably focuses on Arundel’s ‘big five’ (castle, cathedral, markets, events and festivals), the town holds many other joys for those prepared to venture.

Check out the putting green or take a riverside stroll, hire a small rowing boat or partake a short boat trip. Take time and meander the capillary of interesting side streets and browse awhile within antique galleries.

Arundel High Street.

Arundel High Street.

Look out for that one missing volume from the packed shelving inside the town’s book shops. Picnic lovers, remember that every summer the castle grounds hosts Sussex County Cricket Club for a number of games during the season. And it’s also the venue for the traditional, and highly acclaimed, pre-tour match for the country whose cricketers are touring that year!

During a full day, make a short riverside drive to the nearby Wetland Centre and take a safari in quiet electric boats that meander through reed beds – one of the surest ways to see the vividly-coloured kingfisher.

Pallents deli.

Pallent of Arundel deli.

Without question, stately Arundel, awash with independent shops, art galleries, restaurants, pubs and an abundance of tea rooms, provides all-year attractions and something for every visitor to enjoy.

Author’s star-rated system:      *** Worth a visit.   ** Worth a detour.  * Interesting.

Castle and gardens***

The stunning castle – home of the Duke of Norfolk.

The stunning castle – home of the Duke of Norfolk.

Set in 40 acres of far-reaching grounds and truly wonderful gardens, Arundel Castle has been open to visitors for almost 200 years. The admission price is certainly not cheap yet remains very competitive for entrance to one of the great treasure houses of England. Easily able to hold its own with the pomp and symbolic ceremony of both Windsor and Hampton Court, the castle’s own unique place in history is home to stunning room settings. And an abundance of priceless works of art: sculptures paintings, furniture, tapestries, stained glass and china, guarded by steadfast heraldry and protected by resolute armour!

Cathedral**   (Catholic diocese of Arundel and Brighton)

French gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral.

French gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral.

Founded by Henry 15th Duke of Norfolk and completed on the 1st of July 1873, the formidable French gothic-style cathedral faced with Bath stone, stands proud and upright in a prominent position that overlooks the town on the west bank of the River Arun. Built from the designs of Joseph Hansom, inventor of the Hansom cab, the planned spire over the north porch was never built. This possible failing became buried into a mire of insignificance by the installation of the beautifully designed ornate rose stained-glass window that adorns the west façade, and which portrays striking figures of Christ and his apostles and a statue of Mary with child.

Arundel Wetland Centre (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust) ***

Although not among Arundel’s ‘big five’, should watching British wildlife be favourable to reflecting upon the tribulations and mysteries of historic fortresses and English heraldry, then only a mile or so along the pretty River Arun lies the spectacular Arundel Wetland Centre. This area of excellence is very aptly described as ‘a 65-acre haven in a picture-book setting.’ Species include bats, bee orchids, cuckoos, dragonflies, grass snakes, pochard, swans, all living side by side along with other wildlife and small birds, such as reed and sedge warblers, and three species of woodpecker. Not to missed!

Nineveh House: *** antiques, arts and crafts market: Tarrant Street.

Swanbourne Lodge: ** tearooms and boating lake: Mill Street.

The Waterside: ** River Arun Cruises: Mill Street.

Lulamae’s: Shop, Eat & Do: High Street. *** Avant-garde and truly inspiration – try Sally’s homemade bread pudding.

La Campania: Restaurant, wine bar and coffee house: High Street. *** Superb.

The Bay Tree: Restaurant: Tarrant Street. ***

Kim’s book Shop: High Street** – the place to find your missing volume!

Pallant: delicatessen and wine merchant: High Street. *** – Quality, the delicatessen equivalent of location, location, location!

Opening this spring:  – Arundel’s new museum.

Kim's bookshop.

Kim’s bookshop.

Tea rooms and boat hire on the River Arun.

Tea rooms and boat hire on the River Arun.


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