Arundel Day Trip.

If you are looking to plan an Arundel Day Trip, this is the right place for you. Arundel is a small historic town in West Sussex about 60 miles south of London . You can mooch around Arundel, enjoy some good food, ample history and architecture. Here, I have listed maps, tourist attractions and opening times for the things that, I think, are worth a visit. Click on any of the links below to jump to the section you are interested in.

Arundel Castle
Arundel Cathedral
The Shops at Arundel
Pubs and Food in Arundel
Arundel Wetlands
Swanbourne Lake
Arundel Museum
History Of Arundel

An Arundel Map

Below is a Google clickable map for Arundel. As a reference, the long road stretching to the top from the Arundel Museum is Mill Road, that leads to Swanbourne lake, the Wetlands and the Black Rabbit pub. Crossing the river and going North is the High Steet and coming off of it on the left is Tarrant Street. All these navigation points, I will mention later as I explain the Arundel day trip.


So, let’s kick off with Arundel Castle.

Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle is well worth a visit, however, it should be noted that it is not open in the winter. It is only open in spring, summer and autumn. I will give some brief highlights of the castle below but my full report can be found here – Arundel Castle.

Special events are held throughout the year at the castle and in summer you can enjoy a proper jousting tournament, complete with knights in armour and horses with curtains around them. Indeed, the special event days are extremely busy.

The castle has several layers of entry with the most expensive tickets giving you access to the most areas. Current prices can be found on the castle’s website here but, for the top layer tickets, it is not cheap. However, for what you get, I found it to be worth it. There are some quite famous artists on the walls of the castle.

Of course, it has a gift shop and a restaurant too.

Who lives in Arundel Castle?

The Castle itself is still inhabited by the Howard Family and because of this, there are certain areas that you cannot go into.

Arundel Day Trip

Arundel Castle History

Arundel Castle was built to secure William the Conqueror’s hold on England, just after the Norman invasion of 1066. It forms a line of Castles protecting the Sussex coast, coupled with castles at Bramber, Lewes, Pevensey and Hastings.

Arundel Castle Visit - The Keep

Arundel Castle Visit – The Keep

The Keep

The keep is one of the oldest parts of the castle and was, at one point in time, the main castle building. The motte, the 30-metre mound of earth that the keep stands on was raised in 1067AD. It was crowned originally by a wooden structure. This was then replaced in 1140AD by the keep that still stands today. The wall around the castle known as the curtain wall was constructed between 1070AD and 1200AD.

Civil War – Siege of Arundel

Arundel Castle also played a role in the English Civil War. It changed hands several times between the parliamentarian forces and the royalists. As a matter of fact, the siege only lasted just over two weeks! Due to thirst! Swanbourne Lake, the original bit at least, where the castle got its water from, was drained by the Parliamentarians. In light of this, dehydration put an end to the Royalist defenders.

Arundel Castle Interior

Arundel Castle – Arundel Day Trip

Arundel Castle Gardens

The gardens of the castle are absolutely stupendous. The Collector Earls Garden is particularly spectacular. The water features here are particularly pleasing and do find the Crown water feature. I’ll say no more here but it is particularly enjoyable. And with an air of magic to it!

Arundel Castle Gardens visit

Arundel Castle Gardens – Arundel day trip

If it’s a nice day you can spend a fair amount of time Gardens, personally I would allocate about two hours. Of course, that’s different if it’s raining!

Arundel Day Trip

Arundel Day Trip

The formal gardens and the castle grounds are pleasing to the eye and there is a lot to explore. Even little ones should find themselves occupied, for at least a while.

Arundel Cathedral

Arundel Cathedral sits on top of the hill overlooking Arundel. It is hard to miss! Even though the hill is a little steep, it’s well worth a look on your Arundel Day Trip.

Collector Earl's Gardens arundel castle

The Cathedral from the Collector Earls Garden.

Arundel Cathedral History

The Cathedral is younger than you’d think! The present building was commissioned in 1868 by the 15th Duke of Norfolk, Henry Fitzalan-Howard and designed by the architect Joseph Hansom. This is the same Joseph Hansom who invented the Hansom cab.

Arundel Cathedral - Arundel Day Trip

Arundel Cathedral – Arundel Day Trip

The architectural style is French Gothic, particularly popular between 1300 to 1400. The Castle is a grade one listed building and is regarded fine example Gothic revival architecture that was popular in Victorian times.

It is thought that the French Gothic style was chosen by the Howard family as during this period they rose to national prominence. Completed in 1873 the cathedral originally served as the parish church of Arundel. Then in 1965 the buildings were recognised as a cathedral and is now the seat of the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.

Arundel cathedral - Arundel Day Trip
Arundel cathedral - Arundel Day Trip
Arundel cathedral - Arundel Day Trip

Carpet of Flowers

Arundel Cathedral has, for over a hundred forty years, celebrated Corpus Christi with a festival of flowers. Corpus Christi is celebrating the Eucharist, that whole body and blood of Christ thing. Corpus Christi is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.

In the cathedral, there is a carpet of flowers that runs the length of the aisle and many other floral displays can be seen. A lot of people come all over the south of England to look at the flowers see the procession that accompanies it. For full details, see Arundel Cathedral website here.

The cathedral itself is surprisingly austere and not as ornate and fussy as a lot of Roman Catholic buildings.

Arundel Cathedral Prices and Arundel Cathedral Opening Hours,

It is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM and has free entry

Arundel Shops

The shops in Arundel are mainly for visitors, you’d struggle to do a weekly shop here! However, if you are after objet d’art or antiques, you are in luck. The Old Printing Works Shopping Arcade is tucked down Tarrant Street and is a cute little shopping Arcade.

Arundel Shops

The Old Printing Works Shopping Arcade

Also, a bit further down Tarrant Street is a converted church that has been turned into an antiques and collectables market. Below is one of my favourite bookshops, Kims. Packed to the rafters with books, that second-hand bookshop smell is wonderful!

Arundel bookshop
Bookshop in Arundel
Bookshop in Arundel

Kims can be found at the bottom of the hill in the High Street near the War Memorial. Close by is Pallant of Arundel, a specialist Wine and Food shop. If you are looking for a treat, it is well worth a look. It is high end though!

Pubs and Food in Arundel

Below is a clickable map of some of the pubs and restaurants available in Arundel. Most are situated on the main street, High Street or Tarrant Street. However, my personal favourite is the Black Rabbit.

Arundel Day Trip

Arundel Day Trip view from the Black Rabbit

This is a personal favourite of mine, just outside of the main town along Mill Road. Also, it is one of my Historic Pubs Of Sussex. The views on a summers day are fantastic, looking across the river back towards the castle on the ridge. The Black Rabbit is just past Swanbourne Lake and the Arundel Wetlands listed later.

Pubs and Food in Arundel

But, if you want a bite to eat in town there is a lot to choose from. As can be seen above.

Arundel Museum

The Museum is situated in Mill Road Car Park.


I have to say, I quite enjoyed the Arundel museum! It’s a reasonable entry price and if you are only mildly interested in history, it’s a pleasant way to spend some time.


Sedan Chair Arundel Museum

They have many interesting exhibits as well as a good narrative about the town and its history. If Sedan chairs are your thing they also have one at one of my favourite Historic Pubs of Surrey The Crown -Chiddingfold, just over the Surrey Border

Arundel Museum Interior 1
Arundel Museum Interior


Arundel Museum Opening Times

Daily: 10.00-16.00, including Bank Holidays
Closed 24, 25 & 26 December
Closed New Year’s Day

Adults £3.50

Swanbourne Lake

Swanbourne Lake Entrance

Swanbourne Lake Entrance – Arundel Day Trip

As such, not a natural lake. The lake was created by excavating the valley and stream that were originally here. The old mill pond was the last thing painted by the artist John Constable in 1837. The lake has suffered from a lack of water in recent years. But, a program of dredging by Arundel Estates and a reduction in the abstraction of water from the chalk by Southern Water will hopefully start to work.

Swanbourne Lake
Swanbourne Lake Dry

The lake and its surrounding area are designated as an SSSI, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Also, getting the water back in the lake is key to the survival of the flora and fauna of the valley.

And, as this is the UK, wherever you go, there is always somebody there to sell you a cup of tea!

Swanbourne Lodge

Of course, you can buy tea!

At the end of the lake, up on the hill is the Hiorne Tower. It was made as a trial piece when the Duke at the time was looking for an architect for the castle. It was used in the film, The Madness of King George

History Of Arundel

Indeed, Arundel has a long history. And if you are planning an Arundel day trip, knowing some of the history of the town can make it more enjoyable. There are traces of early Roman buildings around Arundel, but it’s as a thriving Saxon Town and port that it started to expand. 

The Saxons first arrived in the 5th Century and Sussex is named after the South Saxons and the area became known as Wessex. In 871AD King Alfred of Wessex, set up five defended towns in Sussex, known as Burghs. Burpham, just across the river was one such. It was above the River Arun on a cliff and thus easily defended. King Harold, the one at Hastings in 1066 was the last Earl of Wessex.

The Decline of the Port

These days ports are always on the coast, but in Saxon days, it made sense to have the port upstream, what with Viking raiders and such like. In contrast, Littlehampton, at the mouth of the river, was just a collection of fishing hovels at the time.

However, as ships got bigger and couldn’t navigate the river, Littlehampton took over the premier port position. And, by 1900 hardly any big ships were making the trip upriver to Arundel. 

Monastery - Arundel Day Trip

You may be wondering what the ruins next to the town bridge are? It is locally known as Blackfriars. Built by monks in the 13th century, it is alleged to be the first religious building in Arundel. Personally though, I doubt it!

After the Norman Invasion, the castle was built in 1086 and Arundel started to grow. More houses were built due to demand and the monastery above was built by the bridge.

Arundel Bridge

Arundel has had a bridge since at least the 12th century. It was the responsibility of local monks to look after the upkeep. But, in the 16th Century responsibility of the upkeep was handed to the mayor. And, of course, it didn’t go well. After all, we all know how well Mayoral and Local Council care works, right? 

Arundel Bridge

Arundel Bridge

Despite many endowments, there was a constant lack of funds for repairs, so at times a little ferry boat was used. However, in 1724 the first stone bridge was built, paid for by the Duke of Norfolk and James Lumley. However, the mayor at the time ‘forgot’ to add their names to the foundation stone, so made it look like he paid for it himself. I refer you to my earlier comment…

Today’s bridge was built in 1936, so quite new by Arundel’s standards! With this primer here, hopefully, you will enjoy your Arundel Day Trip!


Arundel Visit

Arundel Day Trip

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