Arundel has far more than its fair share of these, in fact almost to the exclusion of ordinary shops for everyday living!
I guess the population of Arundel may actually be quite small, but the numbers are swelled every day by the coachloads and carloads of visitors eager to explore the pretty riverside town dominated by a magnificent castle high on the hillside above. We joined the throng of visiting tourists during our recent stay at the nearby village of Slindon. So here we go with the holiday pics of the places we found interesting…
Bosham. A quaint harbour village slightly west of Chichester. There’s an old Saxon church in the village, with connections to the Bayeaux Tapestry and the Norman invasion. The tapestry shows King Harold entering the church in 1064, before setting sail to Normandy for peace talks with King William. It’s also reputedly the place where King Canute sat on his throne and tried to hold back the tide! We took a short walk around the village at low tide, and dropped in to the local art & craft centre at Bosham Walk.
Fishbourne Roman Palace. It’s been many years since we visited Fishbourne when the kids were little, so although the site looked familiar we were seeing it through fresh pairs of eyes. There’s an interesting display before you move on to the ruins, explaining how the site developed during Roman times, and a potted history of the excavations. Then on to the main covered area, with some exceptionally well-preserved mosaic floors, rivalling anything we might have seen in Rome, Pompeii or Herculaneum.There’s also a reconstruction of what a small part of the formal gardens may have originally looked like. It makes me wonder what else might still be hidden and waiting to be discovered under the nearby main road and houses.
Chichester. Our nearest city, and perfect for some retail therapy and people-watching from a pavement cafe. There’s an impressive cathedral, although on such a gloriously sunny day it seemed a shame to go indoors, so we wandered around the main pedestrianised area running North and East from the old market cross. After a cold drink and a bite to eat, we continued around the old town walls.
Weald and Downland Open Air Museum. A fascinating collection of rescued historic buildings, set in the heart of the South Downs National Park. The museum occupies several acres and has over 50 buildings to explore. It’s a dog-friendly attraction, so we were able to take ours along with us, allowing us to spend much more time there and turning it into a really enjoyable day out.
Bognor Regis. A rather disappointing day out at the seaside. We had imagined Bognor to be a typical seaside resort, with cafes and gift shops, and plenty of daytrippers milling around. But judging by the number of charity shops and pound shops it now seems to be a rather depressed town centre. The seafront appears to be given over to residential accommodation and nursing homes. Its saving grace was Hotham Park (opposite the Butlins resort, which must support the local economy) for a stroll and a sit down in some leafy shade.
Bignor Roman Villa. Our second Roman site of the week! The Roman Villa Museum, although not quite on the same scale as Fishbourne, holds some remarkable examples of Roman mosaic flooring preserved inside a series of covered buildings. Still managed by the family of George Tupper who discovered the site back in 1811, and under the control of trustees who seek to preserve it for future generations.
Arundel Castle. The star attraction of the week, and clearly the one that all of the visitors have travelled to see. Parts of the castle date back to 1068, although large portions of it were reconstructed during Victorian times by the then Duke of Norfolk. Tickets to the castle are pricey – we paid around £20 each for Gold+ tickets allowing access to the gardens, castle keep, and castle bedrooms. But well worth it, as it’s a huge attraction which kept us occupied for most of the day. We got to explore the old Keep, and the more recent wing including the Queen Victoria bedroom. Then across to the Fitzalan Chapel, and finally the beautifully laid out Collector Earl’s Garden. We returned to Arundel one evening for an excellent meal at the nearby China Palace restaurant.
Lewes. A chance to visit some friends we’ve not seen for several years! Lewes is slightly east of Brighton, and within an hour’s drive of where we were staying. We met up, and spent a pleasant day catching up on old memories, latest family news, and of course exploring Lewes centre. There’s a castle set high on a hill, overlooking the battlefield of 1264 between the armies of Henry III and Simon de Montfort. Some parts of the medieval Cluniac Priory still survive set within some gardens. Following a pub lunch, we continued on a riverside walk around the town along the banks of the River Ouse.
Caravanning note – it’s the first time we’ve used our new Vango AirAwning. Fed up with the hassle of setting up a standard awning with metal poles, along with the creaking noises during windy nights and the constant fear that something disastrous was about to happen, we’ve changed to a new one. The Vango is supported by inflatable tubes, which makes setting up so much simpler. There are lots of nice design touches, but more importantly it means we might now consider more short breaks elsewhere in the caravan, where previously we might have dismissed it as simply too much trouble. One of our better buying decisions!