The Arundel heritage weekender
Discover the medieval town of Arundel and magnificent mosaics at Bignor Roman Villa.
Shop for antiques or take a dip in the lido at Arundel, then head to Bignor to discover some ancient Roman treasures. Make sure you save some time for High Tea along the way.
Ideal for: Couples, families, friends
Interests: History, heritage, family fun, nature
Main areas: Arundel, Climping, Amberley, Bignor
- Arundel is steeped in history and there is no shortage of things to do in this popular, laid-back market town. With excellent rail and road connections, getting here is easy. But be warned – driving through the area at peak times can be a headache, so time your trip wisely.
- No trip to Arundel would be complete without visiting Arundel Castle. The castle is an impressive sight and has been the family home of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for nearly 1,000 years. Take some time to explore the grounds or make a date with one of the events that run throughout the year. Joust Week in July always draws the crowds.
- If history isn’t your thing, why not visit the Arundel Wetland Centre and while away some time on a relaxing Boat Safari? Or there’s Swanbourne Lodge in the 1,000 acre Arundel Park, complete with boating lake, and Arundel Lido for visitors who want to swim al fresco in the shadow of the imposing castle.
- There are plenty of places for a lunch pit stop: The Bay Tree is popular for brunch or you can stroll along the River Arun to The Black Rabbit, which has a superb outdoor terrace right on the river. Don’t miss Spencer Swaffer Antiques either, a treasure trove of fabulous antiques furniture, lighting and curios in the centre of town.
- Stay the night in Arundel at the Swan Hotel, a traditional pub oozing with country charm, or just a 10-minute drive or taxi away is Bailiffscourt Hotel, part of the Historic Sussex Hotels group. This is the place to stay if you want understated luxury, fine food and drink and a spa experience to die for. If you’re travelling off-peak, there are some great dinner, bed and breakfast deals on offer, so it’s always worth checking before you book.
- If you can tear yourself away from the hotel, it’s time to get on the road and head off in search of Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre. This is a quirky place that the whole family will love and visitors are treated to a behind-the-scenes look into the rich industrial heritage of the South East. Ride the narrow-gauge railway, hop on a vintage bus or come to one of the special events that run throughout the year.
- You can easily spend most of the day here, but don’t miss High Tea in Amberley Tearoom. This quaint café is housed in a Grade II listed building and is renowned for serving the best scones around with lashings of clotted cream and jam along with an obligatory pot of tea. A quintessentially British tradition.
- There’s still time for Bignor Roman Villa, just a 15-minute drive away. Situated in the heart of the South Downs National Park, here you can walk amongst Roman remains whilst admiring the beautiful mosaics that have been perfectly preserved. In its heyday, the Roman Villa at Bignor took in 70 buildings and would have spread out over four acres – pretty impressive.
- As the sun starts to go down, make your way to Bignor Hill to watch the sunset over the South Downs. There’s nothing quite like a sunset to make you realise the real beauty of a region, and this is certainly one you won’t want to miss. Why would you want to go anywhere else when West Sussex is right on your doorstep just waiting to be discovered?