Arundel Castle – after the party’s over?


Having read an article about Arundel Castle’s 15,000 tulips in April’s English Garden magazine, I was keen to see them for myself.  And on Monday 20th April, on the way to taking my daughter back to college, I arrived for the show, only to discover the castle doesn’t open on Mondays -doh!   Instead, we went to Brighton shopping, and I was hoodwinked into buying a pair of expensive sparkly sandals for her Leavers’ Ball.  I know where I’d rather have been.

Fast forward nearly three weeks and we were passing that way once more, so I tried again and here is the result.  Sadly the skies were grey throughout, and most of the time it was drizzling (evidenced by droplets on some of the photos, sorry) but I’m still delighted we went.

Although we’d been before in high summer, what struck me this time was how the structures, both the castle, the chapel and even Arundel Cathedral (outside the castle grounds), form an extraordinary, unique backdrop to the planting.


A relatively new  area of the garden, the Collector Earl’s Garden, has been designed by Isobel and Julian Bannerman, and has been conceived as a Jacobean formal garden.  It includes a domed pergola and fountains made out of green oak, which have already weathered significantly since our previous visit.

The centrepiece is the rockwork ‘mountain’ planted with palms and rare ferns to represent another world, supporting a green oak version of ‘Oberon’s Palace’, which contains a shell-lined interior with a stalagmite fountain and gilded coronet ‘dancing’ on top of the jet.



Whilst sadly some of the tulips were past their best (and doubtless would have been in their prime three weeks earlier), there was still plenty to enjoy, and it was of course, a completely different visit to the previous one last June.IMG_7094





Before leaving the main garden area we admired this glorious stumpery.  The ancient tree stumps are from the Norfolk Estate, and were looking magnificent with the fresh green planting.  IMG_7110

Walking between the Collector Earl’s Garden and the white garden, we came across this magnificent cork oak, Quercus Suber.IMG_7135

We arrived at the white garden, adjacent to the Fitzalan Chapel, at nearly closing time and a volunteer was keen to ensure we didn’t miss visiting the chapel.  However, his exhortation that there were some ‘very interesting tombs’ couldn’t quite persuade me away from the glorious white planting outside…




The tulips will be followed by ‘over fourteen varieties’ of Alliums, and then, later still in the season, numerous Agapanthus.  It’s a glorious garden, with spectacular, ancient structures and skilled planting.  I’m looking forward to returning.IMG_7127

9 thoughts on “Arundel Castle – after the party’s over?

  1. AnnetteM

    I am now kicking myself! I have been to Arundel quite a few times as my parents used to live in Walberton. I never realised what a wonderful garden the castle had. I have quite a few gardens on my list next time I am down that way, thanks to your blog. I loved the orangey tulips with the mixes wallflowers and am wondering whether I could find a space for that combination next year. It would be just my luck that I wouldn’t get them flowering at the same time, though. I was also interested in the red and white combination and am wondering if it is the Ballerina (red) and Tres Chic (white) combination I have in my tubs. So lots of wondering after reading your post – thanks!

    1. jenhumm116 Post author

      Hi Annette, I have to say the first time we went I had no idea the garden was so lovely – I’m not sure they promote it very well. Or perhaps I’ve got a bit of a downer on castles! 😉

    1. jenhumm116 Post author

      Hi Donna, yes it was a lovely sight. My wisteria was a bit disappointing this year, as it coincided with the hot April and they got rather scorched and were over very quickly, so it was a joy to come across this one.

  2. Cathy

    Wow – definitely worth a visit at tulip time and no doubt other times of year too 🙂 And lovely to see the wisteria too – mine has a few weeks to go yet.. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos

  3. Pingback: Tulip review 2015 | Duver Diary

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