Arundel river, castle & park circular: 7.2m / 11.7km

The historic, busy market town of Arundel is around 40 minutes drive South, and is well worth a day trip; it is very picturesque, and there is so much to see and do there. Set on a high hill, the street lined with pretty antique shops, cafes & restaurants, a walk up to the vast Medieval castle, imposing gothic Catholic cathedral & pretty flint studded almshouses is a pretty good work out in itself!

Arundel Castle from the river bank

Parts of Arundel castle date back to 1068. It was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel, and is now ‘seat’ to the Duke of Norfolk. (Also titled Earl Marshal; a post which gives him responsibility for organising major ceremonial events such as the state opening of parliament).

The somewhat austere castle is set in around 40 acres of grounds; both castle and award winning grounds being open to the public seasonally. The beautifully kept gardens feature all the classic highlights that you would hope for from an award winning heritage site – a tropical & an English garden, formal knot garden, rose garden, quirky stumpery, glasshouse complete with chilli plants, lemon trees and vines, and a ‘white garden’.

Despite its fortification, including a huge gate house constructed in 1070, and thick stone walls which circle the whole site, the castle was badly damaged, first by Royalists and then by Cromwell’s Parlimentarian force during the Civil War (1642-45).

In 1846, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert came to visit; staying in one of the numerous bedrooms for 3 days. Specially commissioned furniture for her room and the library was made by a leading London furniture maker. In addition, the castle is home to personal items owned by Mary Queen of Scots, and collections of furniture, paintings, tapestries and clocks by Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Mytens, Lawrence, Reynolds, Canaletto and others. 

The impressive Arundel Cathedral was commissioned by the 15th Duke of Norfolk in 1868. It was designed by Joseph Hansom, who designed several buildings including other churches and convents, but is principally known as the inventor of the Hansom cab. It’s scale and french gothic style is unmissable, and a stark contrast to the quirky little shops & cafes, buildings intricate with charming, gentle old world detail, that line the high street.

The main street up the hill to the castle is lined with pretty shops & eateries

This walk passes through the park, through town, and along the grassy-banked river; good contrasts of environment in terms of architecture, as well as the busy bustle of the town, and the quiet of outlying areas.

As you can see from the photos below, parts can get very muddy due to the low-lie of the land: quiet flooded on our early January visit – but no less enjoyable, despite the wet, and grey skies!

Flooded pontoon at the boatyard, high tides, & a very wet seat!

The river Arun is a key feature – swaying grasses mark its banks and the Black Rabbit pub, which serves good food and overlooks the river, is a good destination for refreshments.

See here for details of the Black Rabbit – good pub food & parking available.

View from the Black Rabbit’s terrace

For the route and details of this walk, click here.

On our return, we called in at The Pig, Sussex; the newest in the ‘litter’ of Pig hotels, which officially opened just a few months earlier in 2021. I was particularly interested to call in and see the kitchen garden – which, despite being an overcast winter day, was looking lovely – and full of promise. I do love the structure and formality that traditional, particularly walled, kitchen gardens offer.

Kitchen Garden at The Pig Hotel, Medhurst

Just 10 minutes drive, on the way home from Arundel, we will certainly visit our local ‘Pig’ again. I look forward to watching the planting all around the site develop – particularly in the food production areas!

Classic style with a modern twist – typical of the Pig Hotels! See here for more details. I love the way this funky hotel chain celebrates home grown and locally sourced produce so beautifully ๐Ÿ™‚

Click here for a link to the Walking Britain route of this walk.

10 thoughts on “Arundel river, castle & park circular: 7.2m / 11.7km

  1. My sister lives in Arundel so it somewhere I visit often and regularly. She lives in the centre of the town, in the conservation area, which is very convenient for walking and exploring all the lovely cafรฉs and independent shops. The only problem is parking! There are some fabulous walks around Arundel, as you illustrated. Love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lovely place to go to visit your sister – wonderful to live in the conservation area… but no, that area was not laid out for cars! We like to park on the outskirts and walk in as part of the route – but different if you’re visiting a town centre resident! Thanks, June ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post Emma!! Looking forward to more like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful, Emma. I have fond memories of visiting Arundel as a kid, lived not that far away and used to drive past on the A27 so often, but a return trip to stop and look longer hasn’t quite happened yet! The walk souns wonderful – though I might just stop in the pub ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, you must go – It would be a great place for you to visit, along with revisiting the areas where you were as a child… this time, trying out one or two of the local pubs, too, of course!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting history and a fine advocacy in prose and photography


  5. Thanks for taking me along Emma. I had a great time and the photos and pub are excellent ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. I can definitely feel a trip dahn sahf coming on!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great – 2022 is the time for trips! Xx

      Liked by 2 people

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