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20.10.2014- Day Tripping: Arundel Castle

Monday, 20 October 2014

I know that summer seems like a long distant memory now, but back in July I spent a lovely few days away from work, catching up with friends exploring some holiday-at-home favourites. When the weather co-operates, there are some amazing stay at home destinations to explore, particularly if you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of a big city like London and aren't jetting off on holiday. Finding ourselves at a bit of a loose end, my lovely friend Kate and I jumped on the train down to Sussex, heading for one of my favourite places (and something of a spiritual home!)- Arundel Castle:


I think I've mentioned a few times that my grandparents used to live in Arundel- so any visit back to a place which holds such lovely childhood memories (including horses turning up in the back garden!) is always a welcome one. Truth be told, I hadn't realised how much I'd missed making regular trips down, and it's been lovely to rediscover such a gorgeous, tranquil corner of the world with a better appreciation of it as a (sort of!) adult. Shamefully, up until last year I'd only ever explored a tiny section of the castle, so getting to know it and the beautiful gardens properly has been fantastic.

The original castle motte dates back to the 11th century, and was built during the reign of William the Conqueror, sustaining an important defensive position on the banks of the River Arun. Exploring the oldest parts of the castle, particularly the keep, you get a real sense of how vast the surrounding area is, and how strategically important the castle would have been to protect the south coast from invasion. From the date of the original construction until today, the castle has been the hereditary seat of the Dukes of Norfolk, passing successively through the generations in the face of executions, civil war and sieges. Although on occasion badly damaged, the castle has been carefully restored, and the sense of living history which welcomes you as you explore is second to none- needless to say that my not-so-secret inner Game of Thrones fan was in her element! 

As well as the sense of history which permeates the castle, the gardens are also beautiful- and perhaps my favourite part of Arundel to explore. The space has changed hugely since I was little (or perhaps I've just got bigger!), and it's amazing to see how perfectly and painstakingly maintained each area is- standouts for me include the Cut Flower garden and the Organic Kitchen garden. The whole area is the perfect tranquil escape, particularly as the gardens sit in the shadow of Arundel Cathedral (where my parents got married!), and is just around the corner from where my grandparents lived when my grandad used to work for the Norfolk estate. It goes without saying that Arundel has a hugely special place in my heart, and I'm so so glad that I've been able to rediscover and appreciate it now as an adult- and I'm sure that another return visit won't be too far away. 

Have you visited anywhere special recently?

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

2 comments:

  1. Oh my, those gardens are just beautiful!! And the pretty fountain! Certainly on the list for when/if I return!

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