The hilltop town of ARUNDEL, eighteen miles west of Brighton, has for seven centuries been the seat of the dukes of Norfolk, whose fine castle looks over the valley of the River Arun. The medieval town’s well-preserved appearance and picturesque setting draws in the crowds on summer weekends, but at any other time a visit reveals one of West Sussex’s least spoilt old towns. The two main attractions are the castle and the towering Gothic cathedral, but the rest of Arundel is pleasant to wander round – especially the antique-shop-lined Maltravers and Arun streets. North of Arundel lie a couple more attractions: Bignor Roman Villa, with some outstanding Roman mosaics; and the grand, seventeenth-century Petworth House, which has a notable art collection.
In the last week in August, Arundel’s festival features everything from open-air theatre to salsa bands.Read More
Bignor Roman Villa
Bignor Roman VillaThe excavated second-century ruins of the Bignor Roman Villa, just six miles north of town, have some of the best Roman mosaics in the country – the one showing Ganymede being carried by an eagle from Mount Ida is the most outstanding. The site is superbly situated at the base of the South Downs and features the longest extant section of mosaic in England, as well as the remains of a hypocaust, the underfloor heating system developed by the Romans.
Petworth HousePetworth House, adjoining the pretty little village of PETWORTH, is one of the southeast’s most impressive stately homes. Built in the late seventeenth century, the house contains an outstanding art collection, with paintings by Van Dyck, Titian, Gainsborough, Bosch, Reynolds, Blake and Turner – the last a frequent guest here. The extensive Servants’ Quarters, connected by a tunnel to the main house, contain an impressive series of kitchens bearing the latest technological kitchenware of the 1870s, while the 700-acre grounds were landscaped by Capability Brown and are considered one of his finest achievements.