One of our favorite summer excursions was an outing to Arundel Castle. Paddington was included in our trip, since he adores train rides and adventures.
Originally built in the 11th century as a fortification on the River Arun, it has been almost entirely rebuilt in the late 1800's. Currently it is the family home and seat of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors, and has been for over 900 years.
The current Duke and Duchess of Norfolk live in the private quarters of the castle, and entertain guests in the suite of bedrooms almost year round except in the summer months when the guest bedrooms are open for visits by tourists. They were absolutely fascinating, as were all the rooms in the castle, which unfortunately we were not allowed to photograph. Take my word for it, the interiors were incredible.
The Duke of Norfolk is the Premier Duke and holds the office of the Earl Marshall, who is responsible for all state ceremonies, including the coronations, weddings and funerals of the sovereigns. I expect he is taking quite a close look at the developing relationship of Prince William and Kate Middleton who are rumored to be close to announcing an engagement.
This is the quadrangle which gives you a better idea of the size of the castle.
After viewing the rebuilt sections of the castle in the Gothic style, we headed up the steps to the original keep.
This section dating from the 11th century is an excellent example of defensive architecture.
The crenellated keep is perched on the motte, or artificial mound, some 100 feet up from the dry moat.
Arundel Castle is often used in filming and most recently was used in several scenes in the movie "The Young Victoria." Pictured here is an elaborate banquet scene filmed there. The second butler to the duchess was in the room the day we visited and enjoyed sharing stories with us about the filming that took place. It's only appropriate that the interiors of
Arundel were used, since Queen Victoria and Prince Albert themselves stayed in the castle for 3 days in 1846.
We also had the chance to see inside the 14th century Fitzalan Chapel,
which is the burial place of the Dukes of Norfolk.
Upon leaving the chapel, we headed to the grounds and gardens
where like Paddington, we took time to smell the roses. The gardens warrant a post of their own, so be watching. The grounds and gardens are coming next....