* Prices may differ from that shown
This castle was built in 1067 under William the Conquerer's patronage to protect thr river Arun from invasion. However, this was really just the Keep and the central section of the castle, the castle as we know it now has only been there for last last few hundred years. When you drive up to the castle, it is absoutly breathtaking! It is the second biggest lived in castle in the UK (behind Windsor). But, as it is lived in, you only get to see about just over 1/3 of the castle.
Things open to visitors:
The great Hall, armoury, dining room, living room, Library, antelibrary and a few suite's of bedrooms. Obviously, all guest bedrooms.
One of the draw backs, I think, is we don't get to see any Kitchens, which is usually a very interesting part of visiting a stately home.
However, there are some very good points too. Firstly, in one of the Bedrooms, they have made up Victorias bedroom. Which, has all the furniture from when Victoria and Albert stayed at the Castle.
Another massive pro are the paintings, there is a Cunstable, A turner and various Van Dyke. So for an art fan... Very impressive. Another key find is a set of Rosary beads in the Dining room that once belonged to Mary queen of Scots.
However, Personally, I think the biggest pull of this castle is the magnificent Library. The 'collector Earl', had managed to collect such a vast array of books, including a very early edition of the Bible. However, it is the spectacuar architecture that really pulls you in. Designed in the Gothic style, you cant help but be blown away!!
I do think there are some cons though...
Firstly, Prices. When I went last year (so it might have gone up slightly) these were the prices. They had 4 tiers of tickets. Bronze (just for the gardens) was £7.50. Silver (Gardens and Keep) was £11.50, Gold (Gardens, Keep and castle) was £13 and Gold plus which added the bedrooms was £13.50. This may not seem this much, but when you add it for a family. A family ticket (which only allowed for 2 children) was £36. This is very pricey. Especially as, I would say it took 2-3 to look around. So, not the best value for money.
Another Con is pram access. They would not let me take my pram into the castle, saying i should leave it at the bottom and carry my sleeping child. I was not impressed with this, firstly the safety of the pram and secondly, who wants to carry a child in their arms around a castle for 2-3 hours.
However, disabled access is good. They have a buggy which runs from the bottom of the hill where you buy tickets to the castle at the top. and they have lifts so wheelchairs and can access everywhere.
But overall, If you dont mind paying the expensive prices... this place is definatly worth a visit!!
And, they have event days in the summer, (such as jousting) which are great for the kids!!!
The ghost of Roger de Montgomery, the Earl of Arundel is said to visit Arundel Castle.
I didn't see him but I did see some of the most beautifully, well conserved treasures in the land - UK that is.
I'd driven by on two of my United Kingdom visits, when I lived in New Zealand, and when I came to work here I decided I definitely must go to Arundel Castle.
On a convalescing visit to Brighton I took a train out: easy to do, you have to get off the main line and then there is a a short, few minutes trip on another train to Arundel.
If you go by train you do have a bit of a walk from the station but in front of you is one of the most imposing, fortress/castles, with a long and colourful history.
This West Sussex landmark has hosted visits from many royals, political leaders, lord and ladies as it sits grandly by the River Arun.
Arundel Castle can be seen for miles, inviting and interesting high on a hill; I guess many have driven by and thought they would visit it at some stage, later!
Don't leave it too long, I hope this review will prompt you to give yourself a treat and go soon.
The very first construction on this site appears to be a motte, over 100 feet high from the dry moat, and constructed in 1068.
Since then, in the 40 acres, this stunning Arundel Castle has evolved to be a marvellous stately home/castle being lived in by the Duke of Norfolk and his family.
What you see now is the result of major reconstruction carried out during the 18th and 19th century and more recently the family of Miles Frances, 17th Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England have done much to present Arundel castle at its very best.
This is their home: in fact you cannot visit on Saturdays. They may well be entertaining friends and the privacy I am sure is appreciated by them all.
Because of this you can only visit the bedrooms on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, for just one pound extra.
Whenever you visit there is much to see: a magnificent array of armoury, tapestries, rare paintings including some of Van Dykes and those of Cannatto,(I think I remember that right!) china, clocks and some beautiful architecture.
Especially memorable is the Prayer Book and Rosary Beads which Mary Queen of Scots owned; just think of her so reverently using these pieces; now we can appreciate them all these years later.
Another interesting room is the suite where Queen Victoria and her Prince Albert stayed. They came from Osborne House for a short 3-day visit. Can you believe special furniture was commissioned, from a London furniture maker, - just for them on a ''whirl-wind'' visit to Arundel Castle!
You can go up the copious number of stairs to see the great view, apparently of the stunning countryside and out to sea: I did not take up the offer, not fit enough!
I was impressed with how Arundel Caslte felt like a home, even though it was so huge, so magnificent and held such valuable and cherished treasures. There is a different ambience in a castle when it is lived in I feel.
The current duke has a huge responsibility to preserve and present the castle as his forbears built it and collected historic pieces, all through the 700 or so years it's been in the family.
In my opinion I think they have preserved something of huge signifcance for the nation, and they continue to open it for the public to enjoy, as it has been for nearly 200 years.
Arundel Castle is a gem, interesting from the minute you step over the drawbridge, through the Barbican, explore the garden and environs, visit the lovely Fitalan Chapel and into a castle steeped in history, offering a quality, family and history-filled day out.
You get a double day out really, as the town of Arundel is built around the castle walls and it is picture perfect: neat little shops, a large cathedral on the hill and picnic spots around the river.
I especially remember the town as I had been looking for a Rupert Bear for one of my Kiwi grandsons: I'd looked all over UK and found one in a dear, little, quaint antique toy shop half way up the hill in the town.
Just a little further down the hill, I found 2 Rupert Bear annuals and even though I wasn't looking for them I now am a collector of these esteemed albums!
Arundel Castle closes in the winter so it opens from March to October and as already mentioned it shuts on Saturdays. Mostly I think it opens from midday only, so you can explore the town in the morning, dine at one of the lovely tea rooms, cafe or pubs.
Check on the Arundel Castle website to get the latest information about opening times etc.
I loved my visit. I had wanted to go for a long time and I am so glad I did. I have added it to my ''must do'' list for my Kiwi family and friends as they venture over here for their big trip to Britain.
Prices: adults 11 pounds, Senior and studens 9 pounds, chldren 7.50 pounds and families 30 pounds (2 adults and up to 5 children).
PS: As I poked around the Arundel Castle shop, you have to go through it as it is the exit! - the Duke of Norfolk came to the hallway and had an indepth discussion with two castle hosts about visitor numbers. I was quite impressed that he was so accessible, he did exist, not just a figure in an ''ivory tower' of history!!!