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Swanbourne Lake Arundel West Sussex

Swanbourne Lake

The Swanbourne lake is a part of the Arundel Castle Estate in this small but buzzing town known for its history, castle and lots of boutique shops.


First records show a mill pond was known to have existed on this site back as far as the 11th century. Records would seem to prove that the mill pond would power a water mill.

So Fast forward and the water mill was demolished in 1844 some seven centuries later. This made way for a new dairy, new pump house, a cow shed and dairyman’s residence.

A number of years from the mid 1970’s onwards, this lake suffered desperately from low water levels and in some cases, areas all but dried up. Dredging was carried out in 2001 and cleared the problem

In 1987 the mill pond was turned into a trout farm. This farm didn’t last has been closed for a number of years now.

The castle Pump house was restored in the 1990’s by the Arundel Castle Estate and the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society who also cleaned up the pumping machinery.

Now Swanbourne lake is greatly appreciated each year by visitors and locals alike for the stunning site it is, and by taking one of the footpaths off the main lake walk and really soak up this beautiful area.

Getting There

By Road

Arundel is situated just off  the A27 in West Sussex, roughly speaking about half way between the major cities of Portsmouth and Brighton and only a short 5 miles from the coastal town of Littlehampton.

Public Transport Directions

Arundel has great railway connection with a mainline rail station with services linking to and from London Victoria, Gatwick Airport, Portsmouth, Brighton and the local towns of Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Chichester and Worthing.

Our Swanbourne Lake Trip


After a brief visit to my homeland, I wanted to visit the beautiful town of Arundel and in particular Swanbourne Lake. Situated in our home county West Sussex. About 1.5 hours from London and about 50 minutes from Brighton


A town we would visit as kids and packed with history as its the location of Arundel castle and home town to the Duke and Duchess Of Norfolk.

As i mentioned we would go there as kids and most memorable moments there were the beautiful Swanbourne lake. We would go there to feed the swans and ducks in the most superb lake situated at the back of the castle. (see map below for precise location)

Arundel Town

We started off with a nice walk through the beautiful streets of Arundel and a visit to a few of the fantastic boutique shops, We checked out Arundel Cathedral and explored some of the fascinating back streets this town had to offer.

Arundel back street
Backstreets of Arundel
Arundel Cathedral
Arundel Cathedral

We headed back off back down the road in the direction of Swanbourne lake, walking the outskirts of the beautiful looking Arundel Castle. Which sits proudly raised up on the side of the hill making it look and feel so prominent to the town.

Aundel Castle
Arundel Castle

Castle fact : Arundel castle was a medieval castle built on Christmas day 1067 by Robert De Montgomery. the castle is now in the hands of the Dukes of Norfolk and are now open to the public for visits and general tourism purposes.

The lake

We arrived at Swanbourne Lake after a brisk walk and it was just as I had remembered. The wide opened lake being in January was nice and quiet also.

We took to the walking track round the outskirts of the lake taking in the scenery and getting some much needed fresh air

Swanbourne lake
Swanbourne lake from the walking tack
Walk at Swanbourne lake
Getting up high at Swanbourne Lake

We looked out over the lake looking for ducks and swans and could see them floating around over the other side where the main feeding bay for them is. They obviously knew where to be at the right time. We stood back and gazed over which gave us time to remember the good old days.

The lake at Swanbourne lake
A look across Swanbourne Lake

The building in the background is a cafe that is open all year round. We didn’t go in ourselves but we hear the scones, clotted cream and jams are to die for, as well as a range of snacks, treats, teas and coffees. And of course not forgetting the food for feeding the swans and ducks.

View Swanbourne lake
Swanbourne Lake

We followed the walk around and out a different side where we came across streams and old buildings dotted along the walk back to the car.

out buildings swanbourne lake
cottages swanbourne lake

We took a walk back along the side of the lake and followed the walk round. As you can see below the walkways are well maintained and accessible for everyone

swanbourne lake walking tracks

We then came to an old derelict boat house this is where the creative juices started flowing and snapped a couple of great shots of the remains. I love to look at these types of buildings and let the imagination wander of what it was like when this would of been operational many many years ago.

boat house
boat house swanbourne lake

A Summer Hot Spot

In the summer Swanbourne Lake becomes a mecca for tourists and visitors and such attractions like row boat hire are operational in these times making it a great spot for familes to enjoy.

Top tip: A top spot for a bit to eat or a pint is the Black Rabbit Public House and old regular haunt for us to unwind. Serving great pub food and real ales a perfect spot by the river to unwind. Black Rabbit Site. Be warned can be busy in the summer months so get in early.

All in all it was a lovely day out was nice to look back at a regular haunt for us and to enjoy a much needed stretch of the legs.

Whilst in this beautiful town here it a few other things you may like to get

A wander round Arundel Castle & Gardens

Arundel Museum a look at the historic and medieval town of Arundel

If you like craft beers your love Arundel Brewery | Award-Winning Craft Beer from Sussex

That will get you started

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42 replies on “Swanbourne Lake Arundel West Sussex”

It really is a stunning Cathedral isn’t it. And its a wonderful town. When we go home next we will visit again and do some more of the amazing boutique shops, cafes and lovely restaurants and will do another post.

Some great photos, I’m surprised at how empty the streets and walks seem in all of them for 2018. It’d make sense during the pandemic as that would be in a region that was likely a no travel tier 3 or 4 area

Your photos look amazing. I’ve travelled near here so many times it seems and yet I didn’t know these beautiful locations existed. I’ll definitely be visiting when I’m next in the area.

Arundel’s only about half an hour’s drive from us and a fairly regular visit as a result. I think the views of the castle from the A27 are spectacular; it’s easily one of the nicest-looking castles in the country, outside and in. And the cathedral gardens are gorgeous in the summer too. Despite all this, can’t honestly say I’d ever heard of the Swanbourne Lake before, so you learn about something new every day.

The town looks really cute and I’d definitely be off to the castle. But it’s always nice to relax with a park and lake side stroll after soaking up all that history.

What a great get away in the winter. I bet visiting it without the tourist crowd really made a difference. We visited Arundel back in the summer of 2019 but never made it to this beautiful spot. THXS for posting

Arundel looks like a great place! I almost felt the briskness of an outdoor walk in January as I was reading this. The path looks really well maintained too, which is great. I’ll remember to stop off at the Black Rabbit too 😉

It’s so nice when you have a place with so many beautiful memories. I can imagine feeding the swans by the lakes with you! Also, I love a place with a lake AND a beautiful cathedral.

We need to take this relaxing walk around Swanbourne Lake. I like the old boathouse and your photos of it. We have a blast when we travel the England’s small towns, hopefully next time we can see more of the southern coast and Arundel.

With you guys jetsetting around the world it’s so easy to forget that you’re from South East England. I read this post with interest. Ellie & I have done hikes along the River Arun to Arundel several times, but have never been to Swanbourne Lake. Next time we’re in the area we’ll definitely stop by there.

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