Places to see near Brighton
Brighton's a popular tourist destination on the south coast of England, fifty miles from London. It's a great place, but if you're visiting for a couple of weeks, you might want to get away from the beach, excellent restaurants and nightlife and see what else is nearby. A short drive to the west of Brighton lie Arundel and Chichester, and they are both worth a visit.
About 40 minutes drive along the A27 is Arundel, best known for it's restored medieval castle. The castle has dominated Arundel for over 900 years, and for the last 400 years has been in the family of the Duke of Norfolk. The building has been revised and extended several times over it's long history, to keep up with standards of luxury living as time went on.
The castle is open to visitors from April through to the end of October each year, for a small fee. It is well worth getting the ticket which lets you see all of the open rooms of the castle, it is full of beautiful historic artefacts, from paintings to furniture and tapestries. There are guides in most of the rooms and they have a thorough knowledge of the history of the items in the room, what was happening in that period of English history, and about the castle through the ages. Ask all of the questions you like and let the guides bring the rooms to life.
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
A short car journey or mid-length walk from the castle is the Wetlands Centre of the Arundel Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. This is home to a wide variety of rare birds who have little other wetland to settle on. They have New Zealand Blue Ducks, Kingfishers, Skylarks, Little Egrets and Snipe. The centre has broad paths and easy access so it's possible to visit much of it using a wheelchair, and is a very easy walk.
Some of the birds are migratory so you can't be sure exactly what you'll see, but it's very relaxing to tour around the centre slowly and see what lands nearby.
The Black Rabbit pub
Near the Wetlands Centre on the east side of Arundel is the Black Rabbit pub. Situated next to the River Arun, this is a lovely rural English pub and restaurant. It serves excellent food and local beer, and if the weather is good you can sit out by the river while you enjoy your refreshments and may see some of the rare birds flying out from the Wetlands Centre.
A little way further down the A27 from Arundel is Chichester, famed for the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, usually known simply as 'Chichester Cathedral.'
It was founded soon after Arundel Castle, in 1075, replacing a much older cathedral built in 681. As with any building of such a long age, it has been rebuilt and remodelled several times, not least due to a fire which destroyed much of the town of Chichester in 1187. Spotting and learning the history of the various different sections of the building and it's varied architecture is part of what makes it such an interesting place to visit.
The cathedral is home to rare sculpture, carvings, and part of a Roman mosaic. The graveyard is the final resting place of Gustav Holst, most famous for writing The Planets.
Chichester is also home to a decent shopping area, with cheaper parking than in Brighton, and some good art galleries. In July there is a three week 'Chichester Festivities' arts and music festival, so if you are visiting Brighton in July it's well worth getting across to Chichester to see what's going on there. It is not as exciting and vibrant a place as Brighton, but it has it's own relaxed charm.