East Sussex/West Sussex Road Trip

Coming from America, I assumed there must be a huge East Sussex/West Sussex rivalry of the 2Pac vs. Notorious B.I.G. variety, but upon visiting I was proven wrong (or else I was looking in the wrong places). The trip was a brief (2 day) excursion, but we were able to see far more than I imagined in such a short amount of time.

Arundel

The first stop was Arundel, located in West Sussex. A small market town, it is located on the lovely River Arun. It is famous for being the location of Arundel Castle, which is the home of the Duke of Norfolk. The castle was built by the Normans in 1068 to protect the coast from invasion from the continent, but much of what you see today has been reconstructed since the 1700s. In fact, a large portion of the accommodations were built solely for a Royal Visit by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1846.

Arundel Castle

The view from the keep:
Arundel Castle

The high point of the visit, for me, were the extensive gardens. Despite some rain, they looked fantastic and included greenhouses and outdoor plots where a large portion of food consumed by the Duke’s family is grown. The ornamental and water gardens were spectacular too. Most of the garden had been a car park since the 1950s, and only in the last five years has it existed in its current form.

Arundel Castle Garden

The water gardens were bordering on excessive. I loved them.

Arundel Castle Garden

One of the stranger things in the tour is the “Dancing Crown” fountain. The fountain is inside Oberon’s Palace, a building built in 2006 from a set design by Indigo Jones. The design of the “Dancing Crown” dates back to the Renaissance.

Upon leaving the castle, this family of swans passed by in the river just outside the wall:

Arundel - swan family in the river

Littlehampton

After leaving Arundel, it was on to Littlehampton. In comparison to the picturesque quaintness of Arundel, Littlehampton looked rough around the edges (though more in a Weatherspoons way than in an inner-city Detroit way). There was a pedestrianised area in the middle of town, with ample cheap parking, and this decrepit arcade:

Littlehampton Arcade

There was also a regenerated area, of sorts, that held a number of particularly unattractive buildings that face a marina Note the requisite pun in the name of the exhibit.

Littlehampton Marina

There is also a run-down looking amusement area, with a castle that is slightly less impressive than the one down the road in Arundel:

Littlehampton Castle at the Pier

The following morning, before leaving town, we checked out the “Longest Bench in Britain” by Studio Weave. It is part of a seaside regeneration project, and apparently some people were not happy about its approximately 1 million pound cost.

Longest Bench - Littlehampton

It is incredibly uncomfortable if you actually decide to sit on it because the little blocks of wood are too far apart. The ends of it turn into small pavilions:

Longest Bench - Littlehampton

Worthing (The War Pigeon Memorial)

From there, it was on to Worthing. The only thing I knew about Worthing was that there was supposed to be a pigeon memorial to the birds that took part in World War II, many of which didn’t come back. The memorial is in the middle of Beach House Park, and it is actually a small fenced off garden for use by birds (how appropriate). The inside of it looks like this, from the other side of the fence:

Worthing War Pigeon Memorial - Beach House Park

This is the matter-of-fact sign that lets you know it’s not for you, it’s for the birds:

Worthing War Pigeon Memorial - Beach House Park

Beachy Head

From there, it was on to East Sussex and to Beachy Head. We stopped at a car boot sale on the way, where I purchased a ceramic owl-shaped planter and a coloured glass vase (perhaps a post of its own someday). The setting was gorgeous, especially if the weather had been better:

Boot Sale in Peacehaven

The cliffs of Beachy Head were spectacular, the path was moved in recent years when the old one went over the edge as the cliff face eroded.

Beachy Head cliffs

Eastbourne

Not much to say about Eastbourne, except that there was nice brickwork everywhere and there was an airshow going on while we were walking through town. Here’s the entrance to a building that formerly housed the “Eastbourne Artizans Dwellings”:

Eastbourne - Brickwork

Lewes

From there, it was back to London with a quick stop in Lewes on the way. It was also very quaint, but there was nothing particularly photogenic though I did capture the Argos next to the river in the dead centre of town:

Lewes - Bridge

Published by

Mark

Mark is an architect in San Francisco.