But if you don’t, well, we really shouldn’t be friends.But if you do, well, Arundel Castle in southern England is definitely a place for you, my friend (because I’m friends with anyone who loves castles.) I even visited alone and it totes wasn’t weird and semi-befriended these 4 older ladies (and by “befriended” I mean I just took their photo. Once you become a solo traveler anyone you interact with ends up being a friend LOL.)
But aside from its beauty, what was the most mind blowing thing about this castle to me? Um, that people actually STILL LIVE THERE.
Who lives in Arundel Castle, you ask? Well, the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk and their kids. That’s IT.
Imagine telling your friends that you live in a freaking castle. But also, how do I meet these people and become friends with them so I can stay there??
However, I also saw lots of semi-creepy paintings in them with people dying and what not so idk how I feel about that – like it MUST be haunted, right???
But at the same time, it’s a castle, so idk I’d imagine any of the potential ghosts would be pretty cool to hang out with anyway. If anything, they must have some epic stories.Like, it was established in 1067. 1067. That’s almost 1000 years of history!!!! I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.
Of course, it was remodeled and rebuilt along the way, but it’s still pretty cool that it was originally built so long ago.And it’s less than 2 hours away (!!!) south of London, both by car and public transportation ;)! Um hiiiiiii. If you’re taking public transport, just take the Southern Line from Victoria Station and get off in Arundel! That’s it. Easy peasy.
I went while I was staying in Chichester and it was a super convenient bus ride away! I could have also taken the train if I wanted, too. Yay for wonderful public transportation – this continues to amaze me since I grew up in the states, where the public transportation is literally the worst.
There are various ticket levels to choose from, with the priciest being the Gold Plus that includes all the rooms, including the bedrooms. The castle itself is BEAUTIFUL, and if you’re a castle geek definitely get the ticket that includes the interior rooms of the castle. They are STUNNING!You can just buy tickets at the gate. The grounds and rest of the castle open at 10AM, but the rooms inside don’t open until 12PM because the family is still using them (if you want a list of opening times and ticket prices for Arundel Castle, go here.)
If you’re wondering, when people are touring the castle, the family goes to another set of quarters that are still part of the castle, but off-limits to visitors (yes I asked because I’m hella nosy haha.)There’s a restaurant and cafe you can visit if you get hungry (of course – what establishment doesn’t have some area where you can spend your ££??) The prices were definitely a little more expensive than usual, but nothing ridiculous. And yes, you can get afternoon tea there 😉
However, I’d recommend just brining your own food and having a picnic somewhere outside if the weather’s nice! There are a TON of prime picnic spots just begging to be picnicked.
Here are the different spots you can visit in and outside of the castle:
THE KEEPThe Keep is worth checking out just for the view alone. It’s also a really cool piece of history, too – I’ll be honest, even though I’m obsessed with castles I didn’t know what a “keep” was – turns out it’s a tower that’s used as a place of refuge if the castle is being attacked. It’s also over 1000 years old, so you know, NBD. It’s also the first part of the castle to close at 4:30PM, so be sure to go there first!
THE GARDENS HAVE HEDGEHOGS!!!I LOVE flowers, so I was stoked to visit the gardens. And they did not disappoint! The gardens are 100% organic, and they even had a little hedgehog home!! Apparently, they take in hedgehogs that have been rehabilitated (I think either they were injured in the wild or they were pets and no longer wanted) and they are released in their garden to help deal with their slug problem! And no, I didn’t see any hedgies while I was there, but just knowing they were there, hedgehog-ing about, was enough for me.
Also, did you know that hedgehogs are actually native to parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia? Maybe if you live in one of these places you’re totally aware, but I am not, and had no idea. I honestly thought that hedgehogs were some sort of exotic pet that appeared out of thin air (or assumed they were from some random tiny island somewhere), but alas, they are actually native to many parts of the world!But the Arundel Castle Gardens were literally my dream come true. Organic gardens with fresh seasonal food, and cute animals like hedgehogs running around! The green houses were gorgeous of course, too. And I was a fan of the “crown fountain” I saw there – like where can I get one of those???
THE CATHEDRALYou have to visit the cathedral, too, of course! Just look at that architecture…
FITZALAN CHAPELThis is near the castle gardens, and definitely worth a peek!
THE ROSE GARDENOnce you’re done with the Arundel Castle Gardens, don’t forget to visit the rose garden!
It’s a little off to the side, near the entrance of the castle. Of course, the roses aren’t always in bloom, but I was lucky enough to be there when they were (I went in early August.) It’s a great place for photos of the castle, too!
CASTLE INTERIORThere are plenty of rooms to visit inside the castle, too – the Gold Ticket allows you to see all the castle rooms, while the Gold Plus also gives you access to the bedrooms (see all the ticket prices here).
I paid for the Gold Plus because I wanted to see what was up with everything (plus it was only £2 more than the Gold Ticket) but I wasn’t, like, ENAMORED with the bedrooms. They were cool to see, though, but I wouldn’t say they’re necessary to your entire experience.
ARUNDEL TOWNWant to visit the rest of Arundel? It’s such a cute little town with a pretty historic downtown. Here’s what I recommend:
- Get your afternoon tea on at one of the many tea places in town
- Check out some cute shops
- See the view above the town
- Check out the Arundel Museum (only £1 when you show your entry ticket to the castle!)
- The Blackfriar Dominican Friary Ruins are cool, too (they’re right outside the castle)