It’s fair to say we live in a rather beautiful part of the country, bordered by coastline and countryside, with historic gardens, stately homes and castles all on our doorstep. One such gem is Arundel Castle, a few miles north of Littlehampton, situated close to the banks of the River Arun.
We were invited to visit for a day during the Easter break and were blessed with mostly good weather. Warm, dry and sunny for several hours before turning grey and drizzly, we enjoyed our first picnic of the year upon arrival.
Once the children were full and a little bouncy, we snuck indoors and headed for the castle keep, which is the oldest part of the castle. Full of concrete steps, winding spiral staircases and narrow walkways, it is a charming piece of history though admittedly not the most accessible part of the castle. Thankfully, we no longer require a pushchair so were fully able to appreciate the keep in all its historic glory, with views and learning opportunities aplenty.
The children took it in turns being tour guides, with the boy proclaiming himself to be “King Sir Knight the First” much to the amusement of fellow visitors. They read out information boards and breathed new life into the old castle walls and rooms with their imaginative spin on medieval castle life.
Having scaled the keep, we trekked over to the castle rooms next. The bedrooms held fascination for the children, particularly once informed that they are still in use today, when the castle’s resident family have lots of guests. There are 20 bedrooms in total though a Gold Plus ticket will only give you access to six. There is also an opportunity to visit a number of drawing and dining rooms plus the library, which holds 10,000 books, which are cleaned once a year (fact!). The staff were very informative, and able to answer every question the children asked, which impressed us all. Unfortunately, though understandably, photography is not permitted inside the castle rooms.
Once outside again, the children spent a good 20 minutes climbing a large tree before we spent some time roaming the formal gardens.
This was our third visit to the castle but our first to the Fitzalan Chapel – though there was little to interest the children inside the actual chapel, we were excited to find a man producing medieval script for any child who wanted a keepsake. Each child received a piece of parchment with their name upon it.
We had a really lovely day at Arundel Castle and would thoroughly recommend it to locals and visitors alike. Throughout the year, there are also exciting events within the castle grounds, including jousting, which we were lucky enough to see a couple of years ago. A truly great day out for all the family.
We received complimentary family (two adults and up to three children) Gold Plus entry in exchange for an honest review. To purchase the same ticket costs £45 standard; prices during event weeks are slightly higher.