Arundel Castle - Aerial image webArundel Castle’s expert gardeners, conservationists, maintenance team and managers have been working around the clock to prepare the Castle to open to the public for the 2013 season on Friday 29 March.

One of the largest inhabited and complete castles in England, Arundel Castle is situated in magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun in West Sussex. Major preparations have been underway during the Castle’s winter hiatus so that it is ready to impress visitors throughout the open season.

The extensive Castle, has undergone a top to toe clean, every nook and cranny has been dusted, every wood panel polished and all soft furnishings painstakingly refreshed. In the magnificent library, each of the 10,000 books has been brushed down individually.

Credit Arundel Castle Trustees Ltd  Paul Barke

Credit Arundel Castle Trustees Ltd Paul Barke

Conservation of the Castle and its interiors is vital to ensure that the historic rooms are carefully preserved. This encompasses taking care of the Castle’s antiques collection which includes many clocks that all need to be wound by hand on a weekly basis and the timekeeping closely monitored and recorded.

The 40 acres of gardens have also been updated with Head Gardener Martin Duncan and his team planting over 33,000 bulbs by hand. Stunning new features have also been introduced to the gardens for 2013 including a new fountain feature in the English herbaceous borders, six large Trachycarpu fortunei palms in the sub-tropical Oberon’s Palace, plus new additions to children’s favourite, the Stumpery Garden.

The Castle restaurant and coffee-shop, which favours organic produce and offers home made locally sourced food, has introduced a growing menu for 2013 including a delicious butternut squash and mushroom stroganoff with rice, alongside visitor’s favourite; cream tea.

New to the gift shop for 2013 will be a gardening section where enthusiasts can purchase quality gardening tools, pretty pot plant containers and a vast assortment of flower, vegetable and herb seeds all selected by Head Gardener Martin Duncan for their high quality.

Bryan McDonald, Castle Manager, commented: “A great deal of time and effort goes into maintaining and improving the Castle throughout the winter so we are ready to welcome visitors in spring.

“The Castle offers hours of entertainment for visitors from the unique 14th Century Catholic Fitzalan Chapel to Queen Victoria’s bedroom, stunning formal gardens and childrens favourite, the Motte and Keep. We have some great new additions to the Castle gardens for 2013 and hope to see plenty of new faces, and visitors returning this year.”

Steeped in 1,000 years of history, Arundel Castle offers a full day out with guided and free-flow tours of the finely preserved castle rooms including the Barons’ Hall, Catholic Fitzalan Chapel, Library and bedrooms alongside the opportunity to ascend the Norman Motte and Keep and enjoy The Collector Earl’s Garden that was opened by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2008.

Suited to all ages, the Castle offers an action packed calendar of historical events throughout the year from Jousting and Medieval Tournaments to Shakespeare plays in The Collector Earl’s Garden as part of the annual Arundel Festival.

The castle will be open to visitors from 29 March to 3 November 2013, Tuesday to Sunday, Mondays in August and Bank Holiday Mondays. Tickets are priced from £8. Further information on Arundel Castle and its 2013 event calendar can be found at www.arundelcastle.org