Arundel Castle is set to become a favourite on the “Film Locations Tour” as many of the scenes in the film, The Young Victoria, were shot here. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had strong associations with Arundel Castle and visited it for 3 days in December 1846. With a strong cast of British actors, the film charts the young Queen Victoria’s journey to the throne.
A visit to Arundel Castle need not be purely about history. For those not too interested in the origins and past life of this stately home, there are regular events held in the grounds, car rallies, historical events and the all-time favourite, medieval jousting. Usually, a falconry display is included on the Jousting days – a perennial favourite with young people.
Arundel Castle, Origins and Main Features
The original Castle was founded on Christmas Day 1067 by one of William the Conqueror’s barons, Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. For his loyalty he was rewarded with one third of Sussex on condition that he built a castle near the River Arun. The result is the castle we see today at Arundel.
It was almost completely rebuilt during the late 19th century, but many of the original features remain. The crenellated Norman Keep is one such, as is the gatehouse and barbican and the lower part of Bevis Tower.
Craftsmanship at Arundel Castle
The rich mahogany paneling in much of the house, but especially in the Library, is a good example of the exquisite craftsmanship to be found throughout the castle. The Library is said to possess one of the finest Regency interiors in the world.
The Collector Earl’s Garden at Arundel Castle
Opened by the Prince of Wales in May 2008, these gardens are a tribute to the 14th Earl of Arundel known as ‘The Collector’ and are based on early 17th century classical designs. Conceived as a Jacobean formal garden it represents what the formal garden may have looked like at the Duke’s London home which overlooked the Thames.
Looking at the Mytens portrait of the Countess of Arundel on the castle’s drawing room wall, a domed pergola and fountains can be seen and these have been faithfully replicated in the Collector Earl’s Garden. There are few flowers here but masses of scented shrubs.
Central to the magical quality of the gardens is a ‘mountain’ planted with palms and supporting a version of Oberon’s Palace (the original designed by Inigo Jones for Prince Harry’s Masque on January 1st 1611). Inside the mini-Palace there is a stalagmite fountain which supports a gilded coronet which appears to dance or float on a jet of water.
Gardens at Arundel Castle
The Rose Garden is full of highly scented old-fashioned roses and is on the site of an 18th century bowling green, in contrast to the White Garden by the Fitzalan Chapel which is a peaceful walled garden with white and cool coloured plants.
There is a Cutting Garden with coloured themed beds which, as the name suggests, provides flowers for the castle; a Flower Garden with tender perennials, flowering shrubs and rare plants and trees; and a Kitchen Garden growing ornamental organic vegetables. Alongside these there are Glasshouses and a Hot House used to cultivate exotic fruits and vegetables.
Tickets for different parts of the castle and grounds are available, so if visitors do not want to tour the whole of the stately home due to time constraints or wanting to spend more time in the gardens, they need only pay for what they want. All the rooms are easily accessible and there are few stairs. Help is on hand for anyone needing assistance, and there is a good restaurant on site plus a superb selection of eateries in the town. Prices and times available from Arundel Castle.