I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Castle Arundel. Not even my medieval history class prepared me for the magnificence of this gothic structure and surrounding areas. A tour of the gardens permeated my senses, the winding walkways surrounding the castle intrigued me and the view of the castle, itself, took me back in time to visualize a medieval era though long gone is still preserved today. Nestled in the town of West Sussex, in the United Kingdom, Castle Arundel captures the essence and charm of Gothic architecture not to mention it’s surrounded by bountiful gardens that will take one’s breath away.
I travelled from Brighton to West Sussex by bus along the coast of the English Channel. The ride took approximately 50 minutes and skirted beautiful small towns sprinkled along the coastal way. The Town of West Sussex, itself, is situated at the bottom of an upward cobblestone road complete with artisan and mini sandwich shops. This quaint little town reminded me of a picturesque town one might find in the Alps.
I bought a bagged lunch, sat in the middle of the square soaking in the sunshine and preparing myself for the long climb upwards. I reached the top and before me sat the Cathedral Church, Our Lady and St. Phillip Howard, a Roman Catholic Cathedral.
I took a tour of the church. This structure is, in and of itself, another amazing landmark rich in history noteworthy of an entirely separate article dedicated to it, as well. But, onto Arundel Castle . . .
The entrance to the castle sits in a corner of West Sussex hidden by foliage at the foot of the town. With limited time I decided to take a tour of the Gardens. There are 10 on the Castle grounds: the Rose Garden and Gothic Archways; White Garden, Ancient Cork Oak Tree & Ginkgo Biloba Tree, The Collector Earl’s Garden; The Stumpery; Wild Flower Garden; “Potager” – an Organic Kitchen Garden; Glasshouses; Cut Flower Garden and Classic Herbaceous Borders. Each garden bears its’ own unique theme, flowers and vegetation. The Collector Earl’s Garden is a newer garden with Pagodas and is unique in that it has a “floating crown” which appears to dance atop the upward spray of its’ fountain. The gardens were, indeed, everything they promised, complete with beautiful Dragon Flies of every colour zooming amidst rich foliage.
I also had an opportunity to tour Fitzalan Chapel, a very unique place of worship where one side of the chapel is Catholic, the other Anglican. I will not disclose the story here of why and how this originated as certainly the friendly Tour Guides of Arundel Castle are much better qualified to provide you a very clear insight as to how this interesting place of worship came to be.
Sadly, I did not have time to actually tour the interior of the castle yet I am certain its’ interior is as equally fascinating as its’ exterior. Hopefully I will be provided a second opportunity to visit the U.K. and definitely plan to take an interior tour.
Castle Arundel holds many special events annually beginning March through the end of October. It also has a Gift Shop, The Castle Restaurant and The Coffee Shop where you can relax, take a break and head out for the completion of your tour. I might add its’ tours are also reasonably priced.
Should you be fortunate enough to have plans to visit the U.K., this writer highly recommends a visit to Castle Arundel. You surely won’t be disappointed. For greater details on the Castle, itself, and a complete listing of events please see: www.arundelcastle.org. Cheers!
“The landscape at its finest possesses a quality that the landscapes of other nations, however more superficially dramatic, inevitably fail to possess. It is, I believe, a quality . . . best summed up by the term ‘greatness’.” – Kazuo Ishiguro.