Arundel Castle - A day trip to West Sussex, England
I noticed the clouds first, as I always do...
"You see?" I said to my husband, pointing upward as we were driving down the road. "it's going to be a beautiful day!! Look at these clouds, they are so close to the ground, it's almost like you can touch them..."
And it was indeed a great day, a short travel into the distant past, in a world of Kings and Queens, Empresses and Princes.
On a Christmas Day 1067 Earl Roger de Montgomery founded the first Castle at Arundel, West Sussex, England, a complex intricate architectural wonder that made me feel teeny tiny in the grand scheme of things...
First, we visited the interiors: Castle Bedrooms, which are in their best condition and still in use; Main Castle Rooms including the library, The Portrait Room and Youngs Victoria's Bedroom. Unfortunately there is no photography allowed inside the Castle or Chapel at Arundel, but it's still worth sharing the breathtaking surroundings of the Castle.
We then headed for The Castle Keep which was built by William d'Albini II in 1133-89 as a last line of defence when the Castle was in siege.
The Castle Keep
The Castle Gatehouse and The Curtain Walls
The Castle Gatehouse, built around 1080 was surrounded by grand chestnut trees plated with golden leafs. There was a soft warm wind that brought a smell of early Autumn's presence upon us and all around, the fallen leafs took us deeper and deeper into the past.
We soon found ourselfs at the entrance of the Fitzalan Chapel which was built in 1380 by comission of Richard Fitzalan. An example of perpendicular Gothic Architecture. A number of noted Fitzalan and Howard family members are buried in the chapel, many in tombs adored with sculpted effigies. The Chapel was badly damaged in 1643 during the English Civil War but expanded and restored in 1837.
The Fitzalan Chapel
Our last experience within the Castle walls was an afternoon walk in the magnificent and delightful gardens.
The Collector Earl's Garden's grandeur and complexity took us in a world of fairy-tale extravaganza. The palms, bamboos and tropical exotics were all gathered under a blindingly bright sun. It all felt as we were part of the whole story and I couldn't help myself and took an apple from the royal trees as a "tasty suvenire". I named it "The Super Royal Apple".
All this was a perfect escape from everyday life, an unique and magical experience for us who will never be dukes nor princes, nor live a life in such fabulous surroundings.