Arundel Castle in bloom
Open to visitors for more than 200 years, Arundel Castle continues to attract a steady stream of guests with its compelling events calendar and 40 acres of stunning grounds and gardens, as well as the spectacular castle itself. According to a recent visitor survey, a massive 99 percent of visitors said that they would recommend a day out at Arundel Castle to their family and friends. Moreover, two thirds of respondents stated that there was ‘nothing to improve’ on their visitor experience.
Arundel Castle’s acclaimed gardens continually proves to be a favourite with visitors, with a third of people naming them as the most enjoyable element of their castle experience, and currently, the gardens are more beautiful than ever.
The wildflower area is flourishing, with varieties such as the bright red Shirley poppy, yellow Californian poppy, blue californica cornflower and the purple fairy toadflax on display. Perennial wildflowers have also been planted throughout the gardens including the yellow rattle, which actually rattles with seeds under the warmth of the early autumn sun.
A fantastic display of Babylon dahlias as big as dinner plates has come into bloom in the Cut Flower Garden, many of which stand at over one-metre tall. Striking canna lilies and beautiful salvias have also flowered, making this an ideal time to visit the gardens.
Alongside the bright flowers, an abundance of summer fruit and vegetables have ripened for the garden team to harvest. Traditional apples, pears and raspberries are being grown in the Organic Kitchen Garden with exotic paw paws, guava and tamarillos in the Tropical Glass House.
In terms of what to expect in the gardens this autumn, visitors can look forward to a riot of colour. In addition to the wildflower area, the castle is anticipating a second flush in the Rose Garden, thanks to the weather conditions so far over the summer.
The Organic Kitchen Garden has a bountiful crop of unusual tamarillo, or ‘tree tomatoes’ as they are often referred to this season, which is expected to continue flourishing. The seven-foot tall tree, originally grown in South America, has eye-catching fruits dangling from its branches, which can be eaten fresh, but are also ideal for jams or chutneys.
The Organic Kitchen Garden also hosts an abundance of interesting vegetables. The asparagus pea, or ‘lotus tetragobolonus’, is a uniquely flavoured pea, described as a cross between tender asparagus and fresh peas. Visitors will be able to marvel at this, as well as a number of different coloured vegetables; the castle gardens proudly grow orange, purple and yellow carrots.
In the Tropical Glasshouse, exotic fruits are plentiful and visitors this autumn will be able to see papayas, guavas, and perhaps even a young pineapple emerging from the centre of the plant. The glasshouse is also home to an impressive collection of chillies around the autumn too, which all vary in heat, colour and shape.
The autumn is a busy period for the gardeners at Arundel Castle, who will be hard at work preparing for next year, with a record number of bulbs ordered for the castle’s biggest tulip display yet set for spring 2017.
Head gardener, Martin Duncan, says: “This is my favourite time of year for the gardens as there is so much to see and marvel at. Our garden team are on hand to answer any questions that visitors may have, so they can try to replicate our displays at home.”
The castle gardens are open from 10am until 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday, and bank holiday Mondays. Tickets start from £9. A season ticket is also available for £30, which allows unlimited access to the grounds and gardens (during open season, excluding special events) for one calendar year from the date of purchase.