Arundel Castle in West Sussex is celebrating its most successful season to date, drawing visitors from far and wide with a record-breaking 60,000 blooming tulips, a world-class jousting tournament and the ultimate who-would-win showdown.
Over the Easter bank holiday weekend, the Castle saw the perfect storm when soaring temperatures and glorious sunshine catapulted the Annual Tulip Festival into the national spotlight. BBC Breakfast’s Carol Kirkwood forecasted the beautiful weather from the tulip labyrinth in the Collector Earl’s Garden, the festival’s crown jewel.
More than 3,500 visitors poured in through the Castle gates over the bank holiday to admire its impressive tulip display and revel in the historical event A Call to Arms: Knights and Crusaders, making it the most successful weekend in the attraction’s history.
In July, the longest jousting tournament in the world, International Jousting Week, returned to the Castle’s lawns for its 11th outing. The finest jousters from four nations vied for glory atop specially trained steeds, wielding lances in heavy replica armour, and at last the chivalrous knights from France, who have competed in the tournament every year since its inception, took home the coveted trophy for the first time.
For the August bank holiday, visitors were treated to an immersive journey from the Stone Age to the Victorians and beyond for 12,000 Years of Combat – which is rapidly becoming one of the most popular events of Arundel Castle’s open season.
The Castle this year also introduced small-group moat tours and children’s battles to its events programme, as well as a range of locally sourced products to its giftshop and new restaurant menu.
Castle manager, Stephen Manion, said: “We have been overwhelmed in the best possible way by this season’s success. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every person who visited the Castle and gardens this year, whether it was for the first time or a return visit, for helping us preserve this historic landmark for generations to come.”
The Castle, which last year celebrated the 950th anniversary since its initial construction began during the Norman conquest of England, will reopen to visitors on 01 April 2020 with a refreshed calendar of family-friendly events.
For more information on next year's events, please visit www.arundelcastle.org