Arundel Castle | Ancestral Home of The Dukes Of Norfolk

Arundel Castle, which was built in the 11th century, is the historic home of the Dukes of Norfolk and has been continuously occupied and renovated over the centuries.

This vast castle, located in splendid gardens with a view of the River Arun in West Sussex, was constructed at the end of the 11th century.

The highly influential Howard family is the most notable dynasty to have occupied Arundel Castle, and they still do so today.

Arundel Castle, with aspects dating from the medieval and early modern periods, is ideal for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Britain’s fascinating past.

arundel castle

History Of Arundel Castle

The Normans built the first structure on the Arundel Castle site after William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066, with the earthworks and first buildings completed by 1070 by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel.

In 1138, William d’Aubiny, the first Earl of Arundel, inherited the castle, which was later renovated by the FitzAlan family in the 13th century. When FitzAlan heiress Mary married Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, Arundel Castle passed into the hands of the Howard family in the 16th century.

Since then Arundel Castle has been the Dukes of Norfolks’ ancestral home, the Howards having occupied the castle for over 850 years.

Thomas Howard’s ancestor was the infamous 3rd Duke of Norfolk, the uncle of Henry VIII’s ill-fated second and fifth wives, Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn. Thomas didn’t fare much better: Elizabeth I would execute him for his role in the Ridolfi plot, in which he conspired to marry Mary, Queen of Scots and place her on the throne.

During the Civil War (1642-45), the Castle was badly damaged when it was twice besieged, first by Royalists who took control, then by Cromwell’s Parliamentarian force. Repairs were undertaken over the next few centuries, especially during Victorian times.

The castle is still home to the Dukes of Norfolk who are traditionally also the Earl Marshall of England, responsible for state events such as weddings and funerals. The current Duke was responsible for the Queen’s funeral for example.


Visiting Arundel Castle

The castle and grounds are open to the public in summer (after 1 April). Here are some of the highlights:

The Castle

visiting arundel castle

Of course, the main highlight is the castle itself.

The Keep, part of the oldest part of the castle, is a great place to explore. Squeeze through the narrow passages and climb the stone stairs to the top of the walls.

Here you’ll get a magnificent view of the Sussex countryside and river Arun, and then explore the many towers, portcullises and gates.

Inside is also magnificent. Remember this is a working castle – it is still lived in by the Duke of Norfolk – and the many state rooms used by the Duke for official business can be explored. Highlights include the Regency library, Barons’ Hall and even the Duke’s Drawing room.

The Gardens

Arundel Castle | Ancestral Home of The Dukes Of Norfolk 1

Arundel’s gardens, which have been open to visitors since 1854, are worth a visit in themselves.

The newly restored Victorian kitchen and flower gardens include the “quirk” Stumpery, Cut Flower Garden and Organic Kitchen Garden

In 2008 the then Prince of Wales opened Collector Earl’s Garden, a tribute to the 14th Earl of Arundel, a 16th century owner of the castle known as the Collector Earn due to his collection of over 700 paintings and other art objects.

Fitzalan Chapel

Arundel Castle | Ancestral Home of The Dukes Of Norfolk 2

Nestling in the gardens is the wonderful family church, the Fitzalan Chapel.

Built in the 14th century, damaged in the Civil War and then restored in the 19th century it is the resting place for the Howard family.


Visiting Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle | Ancestral Home of The Dukes Of Norfolk 3

Where is it?

Arundel is in the southern English county of Sussex, close to the seaside resort of Brighton.

How to get there

From visitsoutheastengland.com:

Road Directions

Located just off the A27 midway between Chichester and Worthing, in the town of Arundel. Follow the signs for Arundel town centre. The main entrance is in Mill Road with a Pay and Display Car park directly opposite the entrance.

Public Transport Directions

Mainline Rail Station at Arundel , approximately 10 minutes walk. Turn left into Station Road. Take 2nd exit onto The Causeway (sigposted Arundel Town Centre) Continue forward into Queen Street and over the River Arun bridge. At the mini roundabout turn right into Mill Road. The Castle entrance is on the left.

Opening times

The castle is closed during winter but open from 1 April.

Open Tuesday to Sundays inclusive, and August Mondays and Bank Holiday Mondays.
Grounds & Gardens 10am – 5.00pm
Restaurant & Coffee Shop 10.am – 4.30pm
Castle Shop 10.00am – 5.00pm
Castle Keep 10.00am – 4.
Last admission 4pm.

Admissions prices

There are a range of tickets available from £10 to £22 (half price for children) depending on how much of the castle and grounds you want to visit.


Conclusion

Arundel is a great castle to visit if you’re interested in castles’ history, and want to see one still in use.

It’s also pretty close to London.


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