16 Jun Days out… Arundel Castle & Brighton
It was a grey, drizzly and rather uninspiring morning to wake up to. Neither of us really knows the south east at all so we pulled open the map and looked at what was around us. I had heard of Arundel Castle so we popped the post code in the sat nav and off we headed. The weather took a turn for the worse but we decided to persevere with our plan. After some googling en route we discovered there was a medieval siege at the castle that weekend – who doesn’t love a knight in shining armour?
By the time we arrived in Arundel it had at least stopped raining and we parked up and headed off to the castle grounds. The original castle was founded in 1067 by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel and one of William the Conqueror’s barons. Despite the house being almost completely rebuilt during the 1870s-1980s, many of the original features of the castle – such as the keep and gatehouse – still survive.
The gardens are beautiful. Around the castle they have left the grass to grow and wild flowers spring up so it has a wild meadow feel about it, which softens the look of the imposing, stone castle. Other parts of the gardens made me feel like I was on a Game of Thrones set with plenty of gold, waterfalls, exotic-looking plants and even a floating crown.
By this point, the weather had completely changed and it was now boiling so we were now walking round the gardens hopping from one shady patch to the next and really wishing we weren’t wearing walking boots.
The medieval actors had set up their camp in the castle grounds, which you could wander through and learn about what they were doing and their various roles in the planned siege. Throughout the day they had several different shows on from storytelling and gun displays to acting out a (fictitious) siege on the castle. The premise for the siege was that the French were trying to take the castle and there was a compère to talk us through the action – although he had a difficult job getting anyone to support the French…! It was great fun and we even spotted Joseph Fiennes enjoying it with the rest of the crowd (yes, Shakespeare from Shakespeare in Love).
After walking round the inside of the castle we were starving so headed into the town for some lunch. By then it was late afternoon so we decided to make our way back to the campsite. We completely missed a (rather important) turning and found ourselves going to Brighton – I’d never been to Brighton before so we made the snap decision to keep on going. What we didn’t anticipate was how busy it would be. Wow. By the time we eventually found somewhere to park (this is when being in a van isn’t ideal) we were down the other end of the beach and it was much quieter. Brook grabbed his wetsuit and went for a quick dip while I just paddled and enjoyed the view. A pulled pork bap and some churros with chocolate sauce from the food festival finished off a great day.
Arundel Castle http://www.arundelcastle.org/
Prices vary for events so check the website. We paid £22 each, which was the Gift Aid option so gave us both a £4 voucher to spend in the coffee shop, restaurant or gift shop