Friday, June 26, 2015

Arrival, Arundel Castle and a nice surprise

England Day 1:  Husband met me and nephew in Charlotte and we all flew from there to LHR, Terminal 3, US Airways.  It was a typical economy class flight.  The food and service were ok, the entertainment system worked, the cabin was very cold, the legroom barely tolerable.  Surprisingly, husband and I slept a few hours! 

We landed early but by the time we got to the gate, we were “on-time.”  It took at least 1.5 hours to get through immigration, get our bags and get on our way.  We walked to the Hertz counter on rental car row to find we had to take the bus to the Rental Office.  No problem. 

We waited in line for 30 minutes at the Hertz rental office but they had free wifi and gave us delicious coffee.

The guy that helped us was pleasant.  I had prepaid but there was an additional small charge (3GBP) that he couldn’t explain; too small to worry about.  He upgraded our vehicle without telling us so we ended up in a very nice small Mitsubishi SUV.  

We pulled out our maps and google step-by-step directions and were off to our first destination:  Arundel Castle.  We had not splurged for GPS (15GBP per day) and hoped for the best.

Husband did very well with the driving.  His previous experiences (2011 and 2008) came in handy as well as the unexpected sleep on the plane!  I did cringe a few times because he seemed to get awfully close to the hedges on my side—but he never hit anything.  All three of us kept saying “stay left” to remind him that he was on the “other side” of the road. 

Of course we got turned around a few times and lost our spot in the google directions and our maps were not on a small enough scale to really help.  We ended up stopping at the Coultershaw Heritage site begging the nice gentleman there to point us in the right direction.  He most graciously did but then invited us to view the Beam Pump which fascinated my two “engineer” types.  I loved the setting and the history and of course wanted to visit Petworth House.  The Beam Pump provided water to Petworth House from 1782 until 1960.  It was such a pleasant stop, we were all glad to have been lost!  Check it out here:

With good directions in hand, we made it to Arundel without any further detours.  We, unlike almost every previous trip, did not stop at an ATM in the airport and now needed money to pay the parking.  Husband went off to get change for our one 10GBP note while nephew and I waited in the beautiful sunshine.  Parking paid, we walked to the castle.  We got the Gold tickets to have access to all but the bedrooms.  

Impressive Arundel Castle
"It's huge!"

Going up to the Keep
The defensive fortifications
Arundel Castle is massive and beautiful and just what I expect a castle to be.  Nephew was impressed by the size of the walls and the richness of the ornamentations.  It really is a very cool place.  We explored all the interior rooms as well as the Keep.  We wandered the gardens and the Fitzlayan Chapel.  It was a lot of walking and we were getting tired but we had to stop at the Rose Garden before exiting—it was delighfully smelly.  

Fitzlayan Chapel

Garden at Arundel Castle

The Rose Garden

Beautiful Rose Garden

Back at the car, we initially went the wrong way but finally found the road to our next stop, the Elmer Pub and Inn in Middleton-on-Sea.  At some point husband looked at radio display and noticed the name of the street on which we were travelling.  I fiddled with the Navigation. Lo and behold it was enabled!  We were so excited at this very nice surprise.  We plugged in The Elmer and made it there in no time.

We were greeted by one of the bartenders who showed us to our rooms.  I’d prepaid on Expedia so he just checked our names and handed us the keys.  Both rooms were nice, clean with comfortable beds.  I figured they would be loud from the pub downstairs and I was right.  Thankfully the music died down by 1130pm and we all slept well.  We’d stay there again.  Review posted on

Comfortable room

Decent bathroom, needs a little work

Husband and I refreshed then went to the pub for drinks.  Nephew retreated to his room and computer. When I got there, husband was making friends (as usual) with a couple he noticed at Arundel Castle earlier for whom The Elmer was their local.  They stop in every evening.  They were very nice and we had a great time chatting with them and others.  We particularly appreciated the lorry driver who gave us a shortcut to the Goodwood Estate.  And the lovely gentleman who had recently been to New Orleans and had to buy us a drink.  Nephew eventually joined us and met some of these nice folks.  We had dinner there and it was very good.   

After dinner, I dragged husband and nephew out to find the beach, which we did easily thanks to directions from the Arundel couple.  

Then back to the room to sleep (through the loud music). 

What a wonderful first day in England!

Next:  Goodwood Festival of Speed

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