This English country day walk can either be done as a circular walk from Arundel or, by catching the train from London to Amberley, you can walk along the winding River Arun and enjoy the ever-closer views of Arundel castle as you approach the town through the water meadows.
The hill top setting of Arundel is very fine, crowned as it is by the medieval castle, the Catholic cathedral and the ancient Church of England church. The castle has been home to the Dukes of Norfolk for many hundreds of years and parts of the building are from the 11th century.
The aristocratic Howard family is known for producing not one but two of King Henry VIII’s wives – Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were both nieces of the Duke of Norfolk. It is also known for its Catholicism, including through periods of English history when this was not well tolerated, hence the beautiful cathedral built here in 1873.
The town of Arundel itself is lovely for a wander through cobbled streets and a tour of the castle well worth the time as it is filled with many fine pieces of furniture and art. But with over half of the county of West Sussex consisting of protected countryside, it is perfect for walking and cycling.
The River Arun was embanked as a trading route in the 16th century and a path follows the top of high grassy dykes beside the peaceful waterway. The walk passes through a 60-acres wildfowl reserve, with grassland, open water and reedbeds harbouring teal, lapwing and redshank. Seven hides have been set up if you want to spend some time with your binoculars.
England is famous for its country pubs and there is a very fine example on this walk. The Black Rabbit (There is also a very nice pub in Amberley) serves Hall and Woodhouse ales from Dorset and freshly prepared seasonal food. To get to this pub you will have to continue along the river a little, then cross over and walk back. But the riverside setting and hospitality is worth it (phone ahead to reserve if you want to have lunch in the weekend).
Approaching Arundel there is all sorts of colourful boating life on the river. The fine beech trees build up around the walls and it is a wonderful sight.
All this delightful English countryside is very accessible. Jump on a train to Arundel from a London station. So don’t just do shops and shows in London on your UK city break, get out into the countryside and go for a walk!
By Natasha von Geldern