Arundel Castle in West Sussex is both an ancient castle and a stately home. Set high on a hill, the Castle has commanded the striking landscape of the South Downs for nearly ten centuries.
Access to the Castle
There is Blue Badge allocated parking in the car park near the Ticket Office, which is at the bottom of the hill at the main entrance. There is level access to the Ticket Office, however a steep incline to reach the Castle. A buggy is available to take visitors up the hill and can be arranged by asking a member of staff upon arrival at the Ticket Office.
Accessibility inside the Castle
The ground floor of the Castle is accessible via a permanent ramped entrance and a passenger lift. Once inside, most of the Castle is accessible to wheelchairs via lifts. The lift in the foyer area takes visitors to the lower ground and ground floor. There is a Victorian lift that takes visitors to the ground and first floor, this lift has a width restriction of 24 inches due to its age. If a wheelchair is too wide to fit in this lift, collapsible wheelchairs are available for visitors to use within the Castle.
The restaurant, coffee shop and gift shop are accessible once inside the Castle. The Barons Hall is accessible via a platform lift as there are three steps, the controls for the lift are 90-120cm high. Accessible toilets are available via a lift and do not require a key to open.
Staff receive relevant training to cater to the needs of visitors with disabilities and a bowl of water can be provided for assistance dogs.
Approximately a third of the Castle is not accessible for people with due to its ancient architecture, for instance, spiral staircases and narrow corridors in the Keep. The bedrooms are not accessible to visitors that require wheelchair access as there are several flights of steps. Braille, audio guides and staff with British Sign Language are not available.
Accessing the Gardens
There are footpaths throughout the Gardens and ramps are available wherever there are steps. Benches are available in some locations to allow visitors to rest. There are some slopes and some gravel paths. The Fitzalan Chapel has steps and does not have a ramp.
Buying a ticket
Carers accompanying adults with disability receive free entry to the Castle. If the carer is accompanying a child, the child will receive free entry and the carer will pay the full adult ticket price.
Concession tickets should be purchased at the ticket office on the day of the visit, rather than online. As the need for a concession may not be immediately obvious to the ticket office staff, the Castle politely asks that visitors be prepared to provide proof, such as a DID card.
The Walled Gardens at Arundel Castle are a celebration of innovative design and horticulture. The extensive Gardens include The Collector Earl’s Garden, the Cut Flower Garden, the Organic Kitchen Garden, the White Garden, the Rose Garden and the English Herbaceous Borders. The unique Stumpery is home to the upturned roots of ancient trees and the original Victorian Vine House still boasts crops such as grapes, peaches and chillies.
The Collector Earl’s Garden celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2018 after being opened by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2008. It was conceived as a tribute to the Thomas Howard, the 14th Earl of Arundel, who lived in the 17th century and was fondly known as ‘The Collector’.
The vivid colours of the Annual Tulip Festival will greet visitors during April and May, when over 60,000 of the flowers burst into bloom. The tulips are followed by a flurry of purple and white as thousands of the ‘fireworks of gardening’ blossom for the Allium Extravaganza. During the warmer months, the Castle’s lavish display of roses is not limited to the Rose Garden and boasts an enviable array of varieties. At the end of summer, the Gardens fill with lilies, dahlias and wildflowers.
Throughout the open season, the Castle grounds are home to action-packed historical events from a thrilling jousting tournament to captivating Norman combat displays.
12,000 Years of Combat (24-26 August) is unmissable, with five groups of re-enactors hosting time travelling combat displays which will take visitors all the way from the Stone Age through to the Victorian era.
Oberon’s Palace, a spectacular shell-lined enclosure, plays host to open air Shakespeare performances as part of the Arundel Festival in August.
23-28 July will see Medieval Jousting Tournament Week take place on the lawns. The longest jousting tournament of its kind in the world and the highlight of Arundel Castle’s open season, the action-packed living history spectacular promises nothing less than a true clash of the titans.
Visitors will cheer on the world’s finest jousters as they demonstrate their brawn and bravery – charging at each other atop specially trained horses, clad in full plate armour and wielding lances. The historical and sporting spectacular will keep spectators on the edge of their seats with a series of thrilling hand-to-hand combat challenges and hunting skills contests.
A fantastic day out, festivities also include have-a-go archery, falconry displays, face painting, arts, crafts and storytelling throughout a tented medieval encampment against the backdrop of the stunning grounds and ancient Castle.
Many of the events take place during the school holidays and there is a great variety to choose from – ten of the 13 events take place exclusively in the lawns, which are accessible once up the hill.
Easter weekend, 20-22 April, A Call to Arms! Knights and Crusaders will set the scene of preparation for Richard The Lionheart, King of England, to embark on the Third Crusade.
Then, during the summer half term on 25-27 May, Raiders of the 15th Century: England vs. France will transport visitors back to the reign of King Edward IV.
A firm family favourite, the History Days are scheduled for 30 May, 30 July and 6 August.
On 13-14 July, the Norman Knights Tournament will return with demonstrations of weapons training, falconry and knights ready to prove their honour.
On 17-18 August, Family History Weekend will be an opportunity for all the family to meet historical characters, such as a Norman Knight, a Pirate, and someone from the Stone Age, and have a go at a variety of historical crafts and activities.