July 3rd- Arundel Castle

Many of my days are spent traveling with my class and touring institutions with other students. However on Fridays we have research days in which we are to travel to institutions related to our research paper or spend time researching about our topic. Originally my topic focused on the functioning of archives and museums with the institution of a historical castle. I wanted to case study three castles: Blair Castle, Cardiff Castle and Arundel Castle. However after discussions with my professors, I realized that studying three institutions would be too large of a paper and narrowed my topic to the study of the archives and museums within Blair Castle in Scotland. Even though my research plans now only required a visit to Blair, I still desired to visit Arundel Castle in the south of England.

This trip required for me to travel first by the tube system and then by the National Rail. The National Rail was a little tricky but I arrived at the small yet adorable Arundel station. I walked from the station up to the castle through the quant retire-aged town of Arundel.

Train station at Arundel.

Train station at Arundel.

River side view of the town.

River side view of the town.

To start my castle visit, I first went up to the castle restaurant and ate an amazing jalapeño quiche with a small salad. Then I decided to purchase the Gold Plus ticket that allowed me to see all the open room’s of the castle. Since the castle is still owned and lived in by the Duke of Norfolk’s family, there are limited open times and locations. Some of the castle is permanently closed and no pictures are allowed inside except for the castle keep that is completely open to the public as a museum exhibit.

First view of the castle when walking up the hill from the street.

First view of the castle when walking up the hill from the street.

My self-guided tour first took me to the castle keep that included displays of life in the middle ages. The displays included that of a lady-in-waiting and the guards’ room. The keep was amazing and was in great condition. I enjoyed getting to walk-up the narrow twisting staircases. My feet could barely fit on many of the steps. I was excited to explore so much of the keep whereas other castles such as Warwick greatly restrict the movement of visitors.

Photo of the keep from the outside.

Photo of the keep from the outside.

Inside view of the castle keep.

Inside view of the castle keep.

After thoroughly exploring the keep, I moved onto the Great Chapel, hall and library. All three were exquisite with beautiful stain glass windows in the chapel, two massive fireplaces in the hall and oak paneling in the library. In the hall there was a visiting collection on family crests and 3D models of many famous families. The library was beautiful but unlike other “museums” many of the items where still in use. Two of the desk had modern phones and framed family photos of the Duke and Duchess. Moreover there were other current photos placed along with more historical photos throughout the castle. I found this really interesting with the mixture of ancestral history and the modern family.

Finally, my tour took me to the bedrooms. Many of the bedrooms are still used as guest rooms by the family. However, each is still decorated in the 18th and 19th century styles with bath features from the time period along with the wallpaper and furniture. One of the bedroom suites displayed an exhibit about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s stay for a week during their reign.

After I finished my tour in the castle, I went to the castle café and got an iced coffee. I then took my coffee and sat on a bench in the castle gardens. My train back to London did not leave for another two hours so I decided to sit and read for a while. By far one of the most relaxing reads as I sat in the garden with a few of the English flowers and the castle to the left of me. Following my reading time, I strolled through the Rose Garden and the Earl’s Garden.

View from my bench while reading in the gardens.

View from my bench while reading in the gardens.

Some roses planted in the Rose Garden.

Some roses planted in the Rose Garden.

My trip to Arundel was a much-needed time of relaxation away from the chaos of London. I appreciated the beautiful rooms of the castle and the historically interesting keep. I also enjoyed my time reading in the gardens. I felt as though I were in a British television set.

View of me outside the castle.

View of me outside the castle.

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