Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Arundel Castle - The Collector Earl's Gardens

In the half term, we took the girls to Arundel Castle for the day. Arundel Castle is one of the longest inhabited country houses in England and the present Duke of Norfolk still lives there with his family. In fact, I am convinced I saw the Earl's eldest son walking down to the rooms closed off from the public.
During our visit, we were allowed to see around the grounds and we were also privileged to be allowed into the castle rooms. Unfortunately you cannot take pictures of the rooms, so you will have to make do with the outside. The bedrooms we were allowed to visit are still used for guests of the family today, in fact, they were late opening the rooms as they had had guests the night before. The library was to die for, I would have happily stayed all day in there browsing the book shelves. If ever I have my own library , I want it to look like that one.
The castle was actually featured in the recent film, 'The Young Victoria', so if you have had the pleasure of seeing it, then most of the rooms featured would have been from Arundel. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert actually stayed in Arundel for three days in December 1846. The Duke of Norfolk at the time, was given a year's notice to the visit and a room with all the furniture made for her visit is still there. There are steps by the bed for Victoria to climb in order to get into bed, as she was very small.

On the 14th May 2008, The Prince of Wales opened The Collector Earl's Garden. I have to say the gardens are the most breathtaking ones I have ever seen. It is a light hearted tribute to Thomas Howard, the 14th Earl of Arundel, who was known as 'The Collector'.

The garden has been conceived as a Jacobean formal garden and is an imaginative re-creation of what the Earl's garden would have been like.

The domed pergola and fountains are based on a portrait painted by Mytens of the Countess of Arundel, where the garden is visible in the background. The original picture hangs in Arundel Castle.
As you look through the pillars, at the back you can see the grand centrepiece of the gardens, which is a rockwork mountain supporting a green oak version of 'Oberon's Palace', a fantastic spectacle designed by Inigo Jones for Prince Henry's Masque in 1611.

I have never felt so calm and peaceful as I did within these gardens. It was definitely how I imagine the Garden of Eden to be like. It was just beautiful. I could quite happily have settled down on a bench with a good historical novel and glass of chilled wine.

This picture shows the interior of Oberon's Palace. On the back wall, are hundreds of sea shells. The fountain is amazing as it is a guilded coronet dancing freely on top of the water. Look, no strings attached!
I have to tell you that the information I have given you has been provided by the Arundel Castle promotional leaflet. I was so in awe of the castle and came away a little star struck.
If you ever get to West Sussex, then the castle is a must for a day out. It isn't cheap at £40 for a family of four, but it is definitely worth a visit. I do have other aspects of Arundel Castle to show you, but I will write another post for those at a later date.

I hope you enjoyed your tour of the beautiful gardens at Arundel Castle.


  1. I have totally enjoyed the tour of the beautiful gardens at Arundel Castle! So green and beautiful. Thank you, Viv! The pictures are lovely!

  2. Wow - what a stunning place. Thank you for the virtual tour!

  3. How the other half live! What a beautiful home to visit, so majestic. Thanks for the tour Vivienne, I love visiting stately homes.

  4. What a gorgeous castle. I'm so used to living around ruins of a castle that I forget there are many that have been restored or are in tact. Those gardens are beautiful - they look like a haven of hayfever. hehe.



  5. Unfortunately, chances are slim that I will visit this lovely castle in person - but I so appreciate you sharing this virtual tour by photos!

  6. What a beautiful place! I would have had the urge to settle in with a novel and chilled glass of wine, too... and I loved The Young Victoria movie.

  7. Wonderful pics. Thanks for taking us on the tour. Beautiful place.

  8. That looks like a lovely castle. It seems like it would be strange to have people touring your home, but I understand they make money that way.

  9. Awwww so pretty! Can I come and live there now

  10. Okay. That's decided. Whenever I finally make it to the UK, I'm designating you as my tour guide, k? :D

  11. Alice - it is a beautiful place.

    Nymeth - thank you.

    Ceri - I was surprised how well preserved they are. I have only ever seen ruins before.

    Molly - it is a shame you are not coming over now. Perhaps one day you will get here.

    JoAnn - I am pleased to read you have seen The Young Victoria. I have it taped and hope to see it soon.

    Mary - thankyou.

    Kathy - they can't afford to not let people in. Majority of our landed gentry over here have done the same, as they just can't afford the upkeep of the properties.

    Blodeuedd - anytime.LOL.

    Amanda - I look forward to showing you around. LOL.

  12. Vivienne, thank you for sharing the photos of the picture perfect gardens at at Arundel Castle. You have a beautiful family. What a gorgeous blue sky, too! :)

  13. Oh wow that is amazing! I don't think I've ever been to a real castle before (Disney castle doesn't count right? :) I've been meaning to watch Young Victoria for a while. I'll keep your post and pictures in mind when I watch it!

  14. Those gardens are beautiful, especially the fountains. Can you imagine just hanging out there with a good book? Talk about dreamy.

    Thank you for sharing these with us!

  15. I loved The Young Victoria and as your photos are as close as I'm probably going to get to a visit to Arundel Castle, I appreciate the tour ... beautiful!

  16. Oh, wow. That was just beautiful, Vivienne. If I ever get to visit England I will keep it in mind :) Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures with us.

  17. What a fantastic post! I know I'll never get to do any more traveling so I really appreciated your pics. The castle is just lovely and so are the grounds. Thank you so much, Vivienne, for taking us on a virtual tour.

  18. Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the information and photos of the castle -- and I looooved "The Young Victoria." Such a great film!

    I've been dying to get back and tour around England again soon, and this post didn't help that feverish desire :) haha!

  19. thanks for the virtual tour, beautiful photos! I like that crown fountain and the castle is gorgeous.

  20. Wow, how absolutely beautiful! You are so lucky to be able to visit places like that. I'd love it! Thanks for sharing this trip with us!

  21. Wow, that looks gorgeous! Thanks for taking me on the tour :)


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