We’ve got the best things to do in Arundel covered in our activities guide including Arundel Castle, the town’s majestic cathedral, the 10-day Arundel Festival and loads more.
Activities in Arundel
It’s hard to miss Arundel Castle, the imposing hilltop medieval castle that overlooks Arundel. With its crenellated Norman keep, towering spires and sprawling walls, it’s a truly stunning building that dominates the town. First built in 1067, the castle, keep and its grounds have been through several renovations notably during the 1880s when large swathes of the building were rebuilt in a Gothic style. The castle is open for visitors from April until the end of October, with guests able to take in the stunning gardens, the medieval gatehouse and Norman keep packed with interactive exhibits, games and costumes. Guided tours will also show you around, taking in the historic furniture, tapestries and some truly jaw-dropping paintings by van Dyck, Gainsborough and Canaletto. As well as a small gift shop, there are several places to eat and drink, including the Coffee Shop for quick bites and drinks and the licensed Castle Restaurant located in the original servants’ hall.
While Arundel Cathedral might look even older than the nearby castle, the French-Gothic-style Catholic cathedral was actually completed relatively recently in 1873. Perched on a hill overlooking the town, the cathedral is just as imposing and impressive as the castle and a big draw for visitors keen to explore the vast building with its stunning stained-glass windows and eye-catching naves. The free-entry cathedral is a short walk from our Arundel hotel and is open daily from 9am to 6pm with a small gift shop on site. If you can, try to get down for one of their regular concerts and choir performances throughout the year.
Bringing together music, art, culture, street entertainment and more, Arundel Festival is a 10-day affair held every August. Now in its 40th year, the multi-arts festival is one of the biggest on the south coast and a real highlight for residents and tourists, as the town comes alive with live music, street food, comedy, art, theatre, poetry, cabaret and more.
Arundel Wetland Centre
One of the best nature spots for miles, Arundel Wetland Centre is home to a fantastic array of wildlife. The reserve is the perfect place for bird-spotting with their well-disguised viewing platforms allowing close access to the reed beds where you might spot wintering wildfowl, bittern and water rail. Alternatively, try your luck on a boat safari, stroll along the reed bed boardwalk or wander along one of the many trails that criss-cross the wetlands and meadows. And when you’re finished exploring and playing in their two playgrounds, you can grab lunch or a bite to eat at nearby Swanbourne Lake Cafe open for lunch and cream teas.
Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre
Re-telling the industrial history of south-east England, the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre is a fascinating step back in time. Spread over 36 acres in a former chalk quarry, the open-air museum houses over 40 exhibits covering everything from science to travel and technology, with an emphasis on interactive displays. Which means you can see real-life skills and crafts from potters and blacksmiths at work and even get involved yourself at their recreated fire station, garage and printers, allowing you to see firsthand just how much things have changed over the last 150 years.
Part of the castle complex, Arundel Museum covers a lot of historical ground. Going back millions of years to when Arundel was under the Cretaceous sea, the museum charts the rise of Neanderthals and Homo heidelbergensis to the arrival of the Romans, the creation of Arundel Castle and the crucial part Arundel played in the First World War. The museum is open daily from 10am to 4pm and has an on-site shop and café as well.
If you’ve ever wanted to experience the visceral thrill of fast-flying owls, hawks and falcons swooping through the open skies, Hawking About is the place for you. Launched in 2010, the centre has quickly become a favourite attraction in the area, combining educational research and an interactive experience where you can witness the birds of prey in their natural habitat. The centre isn’t open to the public, but you can book a private session through their website.