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Driving to Arundel – the Sussex road trip

Welcome to Sussex, welcome to Bosham

Welcome to Sussex, welcome to Bosham

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot,

and anybody going faster than you is a maniac

George Carlin

When you live in London, it’s easy to forget that there is a whole country out there that you can’t reach with the tube. When I start planning for holidays, the first thing I look at is flights out of England, but there is actually more to good old Blightly than just London.

And some of it is closer than you might think. Sussex for example is only an hour or two south of London, and it’s a whole different world full of castles, country side pubs, fields, sheep and thatched roof cottages.

It’s perfect for a weekend getaway! And that’s what we decided to do few weeks ago.

Would you like to live in a cute house like this?

Would you like to live in a cute house like this?

Bosham castle... well, it's a small town, so they have a small castle

Bosham castle… well, it’s a small town, so they have a small castle

We took a train to Gatwick to pick up a car. If you only drive once year like me, London is not a place you want to be driving in. I’ve only driven thru central London once, and that was when England was playing against France, so it was probably as quiet as it’ll ever be – and it was still bad.

So we headed to Gatwick where I had managed to find a car for three days for £50; I don’t think you can get it any cheaper than that.

We got our sporty two-door Seat Ibiza, and sped off tires smoking. Well, when I say sped off, I mean I stalled a few times, as this was the first time I was driving a manual car with the gear stick on the wrong side, which took a few hours to get used to. It’s funny how difficult changing gears with the wrong hand can be.

As we left Gatwick, we were of course driving slowly and erratically, partly because we were enjoying the views but more so because of the wrongly placed gear stick and the fact that we only had google maps on our iPhone. So I did manage to royally piss off a Maserati driver who had to tail me for twenty minutes before finally finding a place to overtake me, which he did with considerably more noise than was necessary.

The first stop on our road trip was the Fishbourne Roman Palace build in 43AD. It’s fascinating to imagine Roman buildings on the English soil. I know there have been lots of them, but this was probably the first time I actually saw one, well, parts of it, it’s only the floor mosaics that are intact, rest of it was burned down and stripped away ages ago. It is still fascinating and worth going to if you are in the area.

Replicas of Roman gardens at Fishbourne Roman Palace

Replicas of Roman gardens at Fishbourne Roman Palace

England's most famous Roman mosaic; Cupid riding a dolphin with sea-panthers

England’s most famous Roman mosaic; Cupid riding a dolphin with sea-panthers

After the Roman Palace and a pub lunch we headed down to the postcard-perfect Arundel where we were staying. It’s a town of about 3,500 people with a river, Tudor houses, cathedrals and a massive castle that dominates the view. Unfortunately the castle is closed until March, so we could only admire it from outside.

Tudor houses in Arundel with the Arundel castle in the background

Tudor houses in Arundel with the Arundel castle in the background

Tiny town house in Arundel

Tiny town house in Arundel

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral

Over the weekend we also visited Chichester, a slightly bigger town with population of over 20,000, famous for its 12th century cathedral. We also really liked Petworth and Midhurst, two small and properly British towns that I could recommend for a weekend. And that’s the great thing about Sussex, everything is close by, towns and villages are within 30 minutes of each other.

Bognor Regis however I wouldn’t recommend, it was overly touristy and it just didn’t seem that nice when we dropped by to have a look at the sea. We only stopped for 20 minutes before heading off to Selsey, a much smaller and prettier sea side town in Sussex.

Castle ruins in Midhurst, we heard from a local woman, that the family who lived there had been cursed

Castle ruins in Midhurst, we heard from a local woman, that the family who lived there had been cursed

Arundel Cathedral

Arundel Cathedral

Midhurst has one of the cutest libraries I've seen

Midhurst has one of the cutest libraries I’ve seen

Driving to Sussex isn’t an epic road trip, like driving to Scotland for example, but it is great for a quick romantic weekend getaway.

Tips for a weekend getaway in Sussex:

  • You can just take a train to a town you want to stay in, like Arundel, but you can see a lot more if you have a car
  • If you don’t want to drive in London, you can take a train south and get a car from Sussex (Gatwick is a good option)
  • The traffic is quite nice, even if you aren’t used to driving on the left side of the road
  • If you’re used to driving on the right side of the road, I would recommend an automatic car
  • Lots of places are closed in the winter months, and open in March (this includes some castles, roman ruins, museums etc.), so it’s something to keep in mind when planning
  • Old pubs are the best places for eating
  • High Tea is also works well as an substitute for lunch while being very British
  • You do need some kind of a map as road signs can be a bit tricky, but an iPhone will do
Some of the place names in the English country side are hilarious... Imagine living in cocking

Some of the place names in the English country side are hilarious… Imagine living in cocking

You'll find plenty of churches and graveyards in Sussex

You’ll find plenty of churches and graveyards in Sussex

 

What’s your favourite place for a road trip?

One Comment

  1. Beautiful images! Thank you for the extra dose of inspiration! I couldn’t agree more and think that England is an amazing place to go exploring, whether you choose to focus on small villages, larger centres, art & history or for the more outdoor oriented traveler, gorgeous long treks in the Lake District and beyond!