Nestled into the steep-sided valley of the river Arun, from which it takes its name, and so packed with wonky Georgian houses that residents say it’s like living on the set of a 19th century costume drama, it’s no wonder Arundel is one of the best places to live in Sussex.

The pretty market town is known as the land of tea rooms and turrets thanks to the Duke of Norfolk’s fairytale castle dominating the skyline and the abundance of quaint cafes serving Victoria sponges with an Earl Grey to the many tourists eager to explore this West Sussex enclave.

Aside from the castle and cathedral, complete with St Philip Howard’s Tudor bones enshrined within, there is plenty to do in this teeny town, from browsing bric-a-brac shops, antiques stores, to sampling the riverside pubs.

Great British Life: Get up close to wildlife at the Wetlands Centre. (c) Darren Cool Get up close to wildlife at the Wetlands Centre. (c) Darren Cool

The Arundel Wetland Centre is just beyond the castle where guests can feed blue-billed puna teals for 20p a go or see the shovelers, eiders and sand martins.

Fancy spotting kingfisher, peregrine or grey heron? Head out on a Wetland Discovery Boat safari, where over a 20-minute trip in an electric boat, you’ll spot wildlife in its natural habitat. £3pp.

And for autumn, visitors will be able to see the birds and animals through the eyes of Quentin Blake, the nation’s best loved illustrator. He has created a special illustrated Drawn to Water guide so guests can get closer to nature than ever before.

Arundel sits at the foot of the South Downs National Park while Climping and the coast are only 15 minutes away, meaning residents have the best of the seaside and are close to miles upon miles of outstanding beauty and nature.

That’s one of the reasons property finding experts Garrington, who put together the Best Places to Live list in 2021, placed Arundel in sixth place out of the country’s top 18 towns. The experts praised Arundel for its ‘urban chic’ alongside a ‘rich, 1,000-year heritage amidst country pursuits.’


Great British Life: Bric-a-brac shops and antique stores dominate the historic market town. (c) GettyBric-a-brac shops and antique stores dominate the historic market town. (c) Getty

As well as the usual antiques hunting – none better than at the two-storey treasure trove that is Arundel Bridge Antiques and sellers’ collective in the converted church, Nineveh House (, there are a wealth of local artisans and stores selling everything from chocolates to high-end fashion.

Chocolate lovers can now buy myriad fancies at Gallery Bon Bon, a brand-new local chocolatier that opened on the High Street on July 21.

Pallant of Arundel is an independent food and wine shop that supports local, artisan suppliers. Owners Mark Robinson and Jonathan Brantigan champion smaller producers and stock products of interest and quality that aren’t available in supermarkets.

From cheese sourced from local diaries, pastries and bread from local bakers, jam, jellies, marmalade, chutneys and pickles as well as locally roasted coffee beans which can be freshly ground to order, and wines from local vineyards, they offer the very best of Sussex.

For bespoke fashion and designer looks, Arundel has a plethora of boutiques and local fashion studios. Retroesque specialises in 40s and 40s vintage and retro styles for both men and women and is the go-to place to look your best for Goodwood’s Revival on September 8 – 10, 2023. Under new management, they’re even offering new clients 10 per cent off their first order.

Milliner Isabella Josie creates bespoke hats, fascinators and head pieces to buy or hire for all occasions, including retro style pieces for the popular Revival. The designer also holds regular workshops and parties at her studio in Tarrant Street to celebrate a birthday, bridal showers or meet up with friends.

For all things stylish, head to The Amazing Lavender Sisters, an elegant boutique brimming with exclusive high-end fashion, homeware, furniture and accessories. Coveted brands on sale include Mama B, Luella, Ella Moda and Haris Cotton.


After schlepping round all those shops, treat yourself to an afternoon tea at Belinda’s ( where you can feast on a round of sandwiches, a scone and slab of delicious cake for £16.50 for two.

For something a little fancier, book a table at the Georgian Town House ( where the ceiling is a 16th century masterpiece shipped over from Venice and the menu offers local dishes including spicy potted crab and roasted partridge.

If it’s a pub with a view you’re after The Kings Arms is a popular choice with its bunting and cobbles, while a further half a mile up Mill Road, the Black Rabbit has vistas over the river and castle keep. (


Stays at the Town House are sophisticated and start at £110, B&B but for a room with a view, book into Amberley Castle, which offers croquet on the law, tennis and an 18-hole putting green along with the thrill of staying in a medieval fortress. Doubles start from £176 (


Marvel at the work of the late John Brookes MBE, one of Britain’s most influential landscape designers at Denman’s Garden. The award-winning Grade II garden features gravel gardens, dry riverbeds, a walled garden and a conservatory, all filled with unusual plants. Admission £9 adult, £7 child and concessions.


Great British Life: The gardens at Arundel Castle. (c) GettyThe gardens at Arundel Castle. (c) Getty

Spend the day at Arundel Castle, the home of the Duke of Norfolk who is still in residence and where Henry IV got married. Queen Victoria also stayed at the medieval fort, which was built in 1067, and described her apartments there – consisting of a bedroom, two sitting rooms, two dressing rooms and a breakfast room – as ‘small but cheerful.’

There is a restored Norman keep, medieval Gatehouse and Barbican, a remodelled 19th-century Gothic house, a rare collection of paintings by renowned artists including Van Dyck, Gainsborough and Canaletto, gardens to picnic in, and glorious views along the River Arun. Bliss! Entry from £20,


Just 15 minutes from the beach, half an hour from Worthing and with regular trains into London Victoria which take 90 minutes, Arundel is within easy reach of the coast, the countryside and all the cultural and city attractions you could desire. Climping. Brighton and Portsmouth are all just a short drive away, while there are good schools in the area – Arundel CofE and St Philip’s Catholic school are both popular.

The cost of an average home in Arundel was £600,915 last year, with the majority of sales being terraced houses fetching £582,071. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £516,923, with flats fetching £324,767.

Overall, sold prices in Arundel over the last year were 17% up on the previous year and 20% up on the 2019 peak of £502,062, according to Right Move.