Knights, jousting, swords, armour, moats, towers. These have always fascinated my son. When he found out we were going to England his main request was that we tour a medieval castle. England is full of castles but it was hard to decide which would most fit his interests and be doable as a day trip from London. I asked for recommendations in a blog post and @LouLouReads on Twitter promptly responded with the suggestion of Arundel Castle.
It was perfect.
We took the train from Victoria Station and it was about a ninety-minute journey. The train trip itself was fun for the kids. Train journeys are not common in our lives and they enjoyed it. Besides, they got to see quite a bit of the countryside as we traveled through. The thing that always amazes me about England is that it looks just as you would imagine. It is like all your favorite books and stories have come to life and that was even truer as we arrived at the castle. Seriously, if the photo above doesn't make you feel as if you have walked into a fairy tale, I don't know what will.
Photography is not allowed inside the castle so, unfortunately, I can't show you photos of the great hall or the armour collection or the artwork but suffice it to say, it lived up to my son's expectations.
The castle was built at the end of the eleventh century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. It is simply loaded with history. The fourth earl was beheaded for plotting to marry Mary Queen of Scots. It was twice besieged during the Civil War. Queen Victoria visited the castle. The castle is full of collections of furniture, artwork, clocks, heraldic items, and armour. Did I mention the armour?My son was fascinated with it.
It was possible to visit the castle keep where there were amazing views of the surrounding countryside. Climbing up the winding stone stairs and looking out the narrow openings in the keep definitely reinforced just how old the castle is and how much history is there.
The gardens were gorgeous as well. We spent a long time walking through them and my daughter and I took about five million photos.
The town of Arundel looked charming as well but the kids loved the castle so much that we ended up spending the entire day there and ran out of time to explore the town.
So the verdict on Arundel Castle? My son has declared it his favorite part of the trip. Plus, he highly recommends the gift shop for figurines of knights etc. He rarely likes gift shops and I had to drag him out of this one. Plus, there is a nice restaurant and a cafe on the premises. So, if you are ever in England, go. It was a fun trip, a gorgeous garden tour, and a history lesson all in one. I think these smiles say it all.