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July 16, 2014

Arundel and the Castle

According to Hope, West Sussex is having a heatwave. It is definitely warm, but still breezy and a wonderful temperature for wandering around. And, that is just what we did today. After breakfast, Connie and I were on our computers and just lounging until we were to meet Hope and Grace at 11:00 in front of the Arundel Castle. What a treat. I haven't been in many castles during my lifetime. This is really the storybook castle that belongs to the Duke of Norfolk who still lives here (some of the time since he has another castle in Yorkshire).

The walking tour (with trams for long distance if needed) takes you through the grounds to the gardens (flower and kitchen), up to the Anglican chapel (there's also one in the main castle), through the ancient ruins of the large and very high keep (or stronghold) of the original castle built in the 11th century, then through the actual rooms of the castle, itself, still in use by the family and guests. For these reasons, often the rooms are closed to visitors. Today they were open. And, pictures were acceptable every place except in the living areas. The place is opulent -- filled with portraits of the family and royalty, lavishly decorated and draped in heavy fabric. The library is impressive with books lining two story walls, comfortable overstuffed furniture and window seats, with elaborate decorations, volumes on display, and paintings on the walls. I wanted to curl up and read with a cup of tea.

The four of us went for lunch in the cafeteria between seeing the gardens and grounds and touring the house. Then, after we finished the tour, we walked into Arundel for a cream tea and scones. It was wonderful touring with Hope who was so knowledgeable about the castle and the family who occupy it at this time. This particular duke is not as involved with the city as the previous duke was when Hope's family moved to West Sussex. Grace indicated that studying castles is part of the curriculum of the schools and that she had toured Arundel when in the early grades.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable day which ticked off two more items on my list -- a castle and a garden. How exciting is that?

Here is a picture of our little bed and breakfast:


The Castle:


The gardens were quite beautiful -- Italian gardens, a kitchen garden filled with herbs, vegetable gardens, hanging cucumbers in the greenhouse, espaliered apples, and many other lovely garden patches. There was an arbor for sweet peas which, of course, was heavenly scented as you walked through the pathway.



The chapel is next to the gardens. It is one of two. The other is the family chapel in the castle (no pictures allowed). Next to the chapel is a crown held up by a stream of water -- called "the floating crown" and given to the Duke by royalty.



Here is the Keep which was also the original castle (and Yes, I climbed all the way up!) The views from the keep are quite impressive -- of course they allowed the residents to spy on the enemy who might be trying to invade the castle.




Here is a picture of the "dry moat" that didn't help much in the 1600's when it was besieged twice:


Posted by Marilyn at July 16, 2014 9:35 AM


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