In the 19th century it was possible to travel by boat from London to Littlehampton on the south coast passing through Weybridge, Guildford, Pulborough and Arundel.
The route was via the rivers Wey and Arun, linked between by the 23-mile Wey and Arun Canal. This formed a vital link, the only one between the south coast and the river Thames, linking London and the English Channel.
Sadly the route fell into disuse when railways became established. Fortunately volunteers are now restoring the waterway…
West Sussex Canal Cruises from Chichester
Trips also run from time to time on the Chichester Ship Canal. They offer special Fish and Chip, Afternoon Tea and Pie and Mash cruises.
I particularly recommend visiting the small town of Arundel – just a half an hour drive from Steyning. This famous West Sussex market town is most well-known for its 11th century Castle and its Victorian gothic cathedral.
There are nearly 1,000 years of history at the castle, situated in magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun. It was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery. The oldest features are the motte and the gatehouse. The motte is an artificial mound, over 100 feet high from the dry moat, and was constructed in 1068.
The castle is open from Good Friday to the end of October on Tuesdays to Sundays, May Bank Holiday Mondays & August Mondays. Admission costs: Adults £9 (gardens) to £18; Seniors £9 to £15.50; Children £9.
You can visit the cathedral at any time of year and admission is free.
Explore more of the area’s history and heritage at Arundel Museum or look at the town from a different perspective at the Arundel Jailhouse and Ghost Experience!
If you enjoy art you will be happy at one of the superb galleries. Interested in antiques? You’ll find plenty of shops with collectables.
If shopping is your ‘bag’ then you’ll enjoy the wide range of contemporary and traditional independent shops.
Water enthusiasts can hire a rowing boat on Swanbourne Lake or take aboat trips on the River Arun. If you love nature I particularly recommend a visit to the Wetland Centre.
Perhaps you will just want to relax in one of the many cafes, bars and restaurants or in a traditional English pub!
I recommend spending time there and visiting the house and gardens at 15th century St Mary’s. This timber framed building was constructed around 1470 by the bishop of Winchester. At that time pilgrims used the house as an inn on their way to the tomb of St Thomas of Canterbury.
The house is open from the end of April to the end of September on Sundays, Thursdays and Bank Holiday Mondays (& Wednesdays in August) from 2 – 6 p.m.
Entry costs: Adults £10; Concessions £9; Children £5
There are also some lovely cottage style tea rooms.
The George At Burpham is a unique 17th century inn. Burpham itself is a charming small village near Arundel in the South Downs National Park.
The pub has an inviting modern interior and serves seasonal, locally-sourced, freshly-cooked food, beers, wines and spirits.
It is locally owned and aims to live up to the ambition . . . “By the locals, for the locals, of the locals – and a very warm welcome to everyone.”. . . including muddy-booted walkers and well-behaved dogs!
They serve delicious British food – always home cooked with the freshest seasonal ingredients, locally sourced where possible.
This pub is close to footpaths so is a good place to stop if you are hiking locally