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Arundel Castle is one of those magical places that has everything you'd expect from a great English castle - a crenellated keep, gatehouse, barbican and tower, all set within pristine gardens, and with commanding views over the landscape.
For nearly 1,000 years, this magnificent property has been the family home of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors. It is built on a 100 foot high artificial mound - or motte - near the mouth of the Arun to protect the approaches to Sussex from attack.
Many of the castle's original architectural features remain, but many fine Gothic additions, including heraldic glass, were added during the Victorian era.
Today it houses a wonderful collection of rare art - including paintings byVan Dyck, Gainsborough and Canaletto - historic weaponry, tapestries and furniture, as well as a magnificent library featuring rich mahogany panelling and vaulting that marks it as one of the finest Regency interiors in the world.
But it's the beautiful 16 hectare garden that is the real draw card here, especially in spring and summer when it erupts into colourful, and often heavenly scented, life. There's an English rose garden, a cut flower garden and a tranquil garden by the Fitzalan Chapel where all the blooms - Iceberg Roses, Cosmos, Cleomes, and Snow White Erymurus Lilies - are all soft white.
There's a coffee shop, restaurant and gift shop on site, too, so you can make a real day of it, but please note that only registered assistance dogs are allowed in the grounds.
For more information, including opening times and ticket prices, please visit the Arundel Castle website.
Photograph: Stephen P. Baker/Shutterstock.com
Book a stay or dinner locally at The Welldiggers Arms (10.2 miles away), The Royal Oak (12.1 miles) or The White Horse (17.2 miles)