06 July 2015

10 Things Around Arundel (That I wish I had Done)

Life has gotten a little bit hectic in the last several months. Every time I try to take my foot off the gas pedal it seems like something else crops up that requires more attention. Finding any sort of balance hasn't been easy and unwinding on "days off" is next to impossible.

But yesterday Clifford and I woke up, put on some clothes that weren't related to slouching, gymming, or working, opened the English Heritage Guidebook, picked a place, and went for it. Totally out of character for me, but I'm so glad I did it.

Being away from my desk and any reminders of training was a good thing for me. While Clifford and I still spoke about Taekwondo (hard not to when it's a source of income) it wasn't to the same sort of urgency or forethought of events to come. It was definitely more reflective in nature and the drive gave us a chance to get on the same page about some immediate projects and events coming up.

Our first stop was just outside of Chichester, Boxgrove Priory, an old church where only a fraction of the original building was still standing and in use. The actual English Heritage bit were the ruins of the guest house just to the north of the church.



Just let me take a selfie...
After taking a nosy around the graveyard to see if we could find the oldest one (it's a morbid hobby, I know), we went inside the church. It always fascinates me that these churches, with old artwork, decor, and treasures, are always nestled in quiet little villages across the countryside.

Around the corner was Arundel and with our church fix, Clifford and I had to get our castle fix, and what better castle than Arundel Castle? OMG, it was huge!

View from the keep... but there's more
that I couldn't get in one photo.
While Arundel Castle isn't part of English Heritage it was mentioned on their map. And we got a discount on the entrance price (Boom!) so we treated ourselves with the "Gold Plus" ticket to get up to see the Arundel Castle Keep as well as the bedrooms that are still in use today. In fact, they were used the previous weekend as nieces and nephews of the Duke and Duchess had visited. Unfortunately, no pictures could be taken on the inside of the Castle, but you'll have to take my word on it that it's an amazing place, especially the library. I could live in that library.

In true form to the way Clifford and I tavel, we only find out what would be amazing to do once we get to a new place. We always come out with "Oh, we should do this the next time we're here." as if that's a good way to force ourselves to plan for the next day trip.

This has yet to happen, but if I had had another couple days to spend in Arundel, these are the things I would have done:

1. Give myself plenty of time to look around Arundel Castle

As we started out from home only at noon, made a stop at Boxgrove Priory, Clifford and I only had about 90 minutes to look around Arundel Castle. The castle is seriously that massive that we never got to the gardens (which are actually a major attraction) and had to skim through the rooms that we had access to see. Had we wanted to visit Arundel Castle properly, I'd say we would have needed at least double the time we had given ourselves.

2. Visit the Arundel Cathedral.

This, coupled with a visit to the Castle would give anyone a well rounded history lesson. It's also a prominent feature of Arundel and it's part of the view from Arundel Castle. I was in awe standing in Boxgrove Priory so I can't imagine how amazing it would be to stand in the Cathedral.

3. Visit the Arundel Museum

The museum is right across from the Castle's entrance and would have been a handy little stop if Clifford and I had stayed more than just an afternoon (there's only so much history you can take in a day). The museum looked pretty cool from the outside, and according to it's website the museum goes as far back as Pre-Roman times. Which means they talk about the Roman influence in the area before they can get to the Norman Conquest. And we all know how much I enjoy the Roman stuff.

4. Stay in one of the cute B&B's in the area

Where you stay overnight for a trip can make or break a travelling experience. And while a bed and a shower will do in most cases, a B&B has the opportunity to make the experience memorable. Arundel has a lot of character and to stay in one of the B&Bs there would put you in the heart of it all.

5. Take a walking tour around Arundel.

While we enjoy visiting the typical, touristy areas of any place, it's only the locals that can tell you about the trivia and the little nooks of an area. And why not get a little exercise while you're learning about the local history.

6. Taken an Arun River tour.

Saturday was such a lovely, sunny day that this would have been perfect to enjoy the local landscape and a perfect way to chill for a couple of hours. Preferably with a cold cider.

7. Take a dip in the Arundel Lido

On days off I'm aware that not many people like to exercise or do any unnecessary fitness. But swimming in an outdoor pool on a sunny day hardly seems like work. Just an easy way to work on an even tan. Ah, Medicine Hat summertime nostalgia.

8. Do the Arundel Ghost experience

'Cause everyone loves a good ghost story. I mean, Clifford even asked one of the Arundel Castle staff if they castle was haunted. Really.

9. Visted a few more Arundel tea rooms and pubs

For our afternoon meal, Clifford and I ate at The Bay Tree. We passed by a number of other places because we weren't sure if they had had outdoor seating. I'm glad we took a chance at The Bay Tree as they had a lovely little back garden bit where I could sit in the sun for the whole meal. The staff were lovely and my salad was a proper salad with chicken.

To be able to stay for a few days I'm sure Clifford and I would have stumbled onto a few more restaurants, tea rooms, and pubs. And I'm sure we could have found one that served gluten free tea cakes and biscuits.

10. Do an Arundel Brewery Tour

On our walk back to the car park, after all the shops had closed and a good most of the people had cleared away, either back to their homes or hotels, or into various pubs for meals, we came across the Arundel Brewery Shop.

Even though I can't drink beer, Clifford and I love a good brewery tour. By now, details of breweries aren't that interesting, however it is a chance to meet some new people, have a drink, and buy various beer lovers some independently crafted beer.

By various beer lovers, I'm pretty sure I'm just referring to Daniel.



Despite our short time in Arundel, I can definitely see myself returning there or thereabouts. The place had such a nice atmosphere, not unlike Windsor. It's like both places are quintessentially English in their own way. From what I've experienced of the place so far I would definitely recommend it if travelling down along the coast. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that more of this good weather will continue!