With it being my mom’s first trip to England, I wanted to attempt to give her a more well-rounded view of the country as a whole and not just do Brighton and London, as so many do. With that in mind, Jon and I took a few days off of work when she was here, and rental car obtained, set out on a long weekend road trip to the West Country, with a few fun stops on the way!
By the way, none of this post is about the West Country. That’s later.
We started close to home and checked out Arundel Castle in West Sussex on Thursday morning. Mom loves castles as I do, but hadn’t actually seen any in, ya know, real life. Arundel is basically in our back yard, less than an hour from Haywards Heath (alright, an hour isn’t “in one’s backyard” but go with it). For some reason I’d never been there-I blame Jon-and I’m so glad we went! It is fantastic.
A restored medieval castle first begun under the reign of William the Conqueror, Arundel has sprawling gardens and was originally established in 1066. It is still the principal estate of the Duke of Norfolk-but let’s not talk about how every time I go to visit a historical-but-still-lived-in abode I am reminded of the deeply divided class system in which I live. But look! Architecture! History! Pretty things!
You actually aren’t permitted to take photos inside due to all the restoration that’s been done and also since half of it is a private residence, so most of my pictures are from the grounds and the outdoor bits. Still, you can see how amazing it is.
And on a side note, for those interested, an episode of Doctor Who was filmed there (among other things) as well as the film The Young Victoria.
They also have some strange ostrich-like creepy birds running around, with plenty of signage warning people away from trying to touch them.
And the gardens! The gardens are interspersed with all these crazy wooden parts. Everything you think would be made of metal or something similar to it….nope, it’s intricately carved, massive blocks of wood. And the cathedral isn’t anything to scoff at either (while Arundel has it’s own gorgeous little chapel, quiet as a tomb and bathed in gorgeous light).
And then there were goats. We spent a good ten minutes watching these goats near the motte get into some crazy goat fights, complete with head banging and bleats galore.
The view from the keep is breath-taking, looking out over the fields of Sussex, nearly identical to what it was hundreds of years ago (at least from where we stood). Doesn’t it look like nothing could have possibly changed since then? Ah, the glorious countryside….
After a quick coffee and some homemade cake in the tea shop post-tour of the interior, we made our way back to the parking lot to hit the road once again and continue on to our next stop-Stonehenge. But that’s a tale for another day….