The visit to Arundel Castle last week was to spend the day there with my eldest son & his 2 young boys, that in itself is a joy. Add-on a visit to a garden that has been on my ‘must visit’ list for years & happens to be in the castle, & there’s my idea of a perfect day all laid out.
Arundel is a pretty market town in West Sussex, about 50 mies south of London. It’s nestled into the South Downs & dominated by the enormous medieval castle & cathedral. During the half term holiday, the history of the place is explained by a Norman & Crusaders Living History group in full costume, followed by a little battle re-enactment.
Designed by Isabel & Julian Bannerman, the walled garden -known as the Collector Earls Garden-was opened by The Prince of Wales in 2008. It was built on a former car-park, which was previously part of the kitchen garden.
The garden is pure theatre, divided by hedges & a central canal that has a shell-lined grotto at one end, & a magnificent view at the other across the garden towards the cathedral.
Although they look like stone, the pavilion, obelisks & urns are carved from green oak, a trademark of a Bannerman design. Most of them have gold shapes & twirly tops, contrasting nicely with the solid oak.
The garden is beautifully sub-divided by hedges & a big chunky, oak pergola. Each area has something extravagant & playful to see in it.
I’d love to see the gardens in other seasons, there’s an organic kitchen garden, glasshouses, rose garden & stumpery. There were lots of terracotta pots that had been emptied, so I’d missed the seasonal planting in them. There was a magnificent line of Magnolia grandiflora against one of the old, boundary walls, The perfume of the flowers must be wonderful earlier in the year.
Find out about visiting the castle here,
Enjoy your week.