Great British Haunts: Step back in time at The Swan, a lovely West Sussex hotel that looks like it was built in the 18th century
- The Swan Hotel is situated opposite the main street in Arundel, overlooking the historic Arundel Castle
- The 14 guest rooms are named after an area landmark, and some have freestanding bathtubs and vintage furniture
- Enjoy local produce at the restaurant with dishes like corn-fed chicken and buttermilk rabbit burgers
When visiting a historic city you want to stay somewhere that has a story to tell – and The Swan Hotel in Arundel certainly does.
Dating back to 1759, this beautiful Georgian coaching inn once overlooked the riverside quay when this prosperous West Sussex market town was a busy port. Barges and tall ships would be loaded and unloaded at long-renovated shipyards.
The swan may have lost its stables and yard, but otherwise it looks much as it did then. The white painted pub overlooks the main street with views of the crenellated walls of Arundel Castle which dominates the town.
Rich history: The Swan Hotel (above) in Arundel town center dates back to 1759 – it may have lost its stables and courtyard, but otherwise it looks much as it did then
Wash down “excellent food” with a pint of Fuller’s Ale in the bar and restaurant area (upstairs) on The Swan’s ground floor
The ground floor of The Swan is set up as a bar and restaurant serving fuller’s ales and excellent food all day long. As a hub for the local community, there is generally a certain buzz that helps hotel guests feel right at home.
Despite being one of nearly 50 pubs managed by Fuller’s across southern England, The Swan feels remarkably individual. Each of the 14 rooms is named after a Sussex river or a landmark of the South Downs and range in size from cozy to luxurious.
Common features include fluffy towels and coastal references such as seabird fabrics or paintings of lighthouses and beach huts – a nod to the sandy beaches four miles downstream where the Arun meets the sea at Littlehampton.
Each room at The Swan has fluffy towels and coastal references like seabird print fabrics or paintings of lighthouses and beach huts
Room 10 is among the largest and features a freestanding bath and creaky floorboards for added authenticity. Some rooms have an odd shape due to being squeezed into a historic building. Some of the larger ones have freestanding bathtubs and vintage furniture, and three (Arun, Adur, and Lavant) have sloping castle views.
To reduce single-use plastic, bathrooms are stocked with paper-wrapped BeeKind products, while tea- and coffee-making facilities are stocked with fresh milk in refillable canisters and jars of homemade shortbread.
There’s plenty more shortbread (plus cakes and cream teas) in the nearby cafes. Try Belinda’s or Juniper on Tarrant Street, then browse the antique and book shops and buy nibbles at Pallant Deli.
Three rooms at The Swan Hotel – Arun, Adur and Lavant – offer an oblique view of Arundel Castle pictured above
Arundel is situated in the lofty South Downs, an area of great views. Above is the view from nearby Bury Hill
The Swan, Arundel, West Sussex. B&B from £85 per night (swanarundel.co.uk).
For sightseeing and especially for keen gardeners, Arundel Castle (arundelcastle.org), home of the Dukes of Norfolk and a stunning garden, is as important as feeding the ducks at the Arundel Wetland Center (www.org.uk).
Or take lovely walks along the River Arun or around pretty Swanbourne Lake, with the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent views from the high South Downs.
After working up an appetite, return to a menu that emphasizes local produce.
Perhaps you fancy asparagus, Isle of Wight tomatoes and Black Bomber cheese tart, followed by buttermilk rabbit burgers or corn-fed chicken breast with Puy lentils, spinach and salsa verde, topped off with buffalo milk ice cream from Laverstoke Park Farm .
Breakfast is a highlight. In addition to a Full English, there are health-conscious options: mashed avo on toast, homemade granola, or porridge with berries and coconut yoghurt.
When the weather is nice, you can relax with a swim at the Lido on Queen Street.