A Visit to Arundel Wetlands Centre

I grew up in West Sussex and one of my favourite places to visit was Arundel. Not only does it have a stunning Castle and Cathedral, but it is also home to the Arundel Wetland Centre where you can see hundreds of exotic ducks, spot water voles from the boat safari, hand feed rare geese at World Wetlands and stroll gentle pathways to quiet spots to watch Sussex wildlife.

Arundel is a 65-acre haven for wildlife in a picture-book setting in West Sussex. At its back are steep woodlands, topped by the ancient and dramatic Arundel Castle; at its borders are the pretty River Arun and a historic mill stream; all around are the scenic South Downs.

My plan was to set off early and spend the whole day there. Getting to Arundel normally only takes just over an hour from Bournemouth but the traffic was against us and two broken down cars on the A31 and then hold-ups at Chichester added an extra 2 hours to our journey.

We finally arrived just after lunch and the kids were eager to stretch their legs. Sebastian’s face was a picture as we walked outside and he charged off pointing and shouting “Duck” over and over again. I had been nervous that the waterways would be open, but the majority are safely fenced off to stop children getting an accidental dunking!

There was a chance to feed the ducks as we walked in and Isaac, Eliza and Sebastian all got stuck in, alongside big brother Callan and his girlfriend Gemma who had come to join us.

Arundel Wetlands Centre

It was a struggle to tear them away but we were keen to explore the lakes, reed beds, channels and waterfalls which support a rich array of British wildlife favourites as well as a large and varied collection of international wildfowl, many of them under serious threat in their native countries.

Arundel Wetlands Centre

As we wandered along the path we were treated to seeing lots of wildlife. Sebby was only interested in the ducks though although wasn’t too sure when they got too close. There were also lots of hides to go into, packed full of information on wildlife that had been spotted in the last few days, as well as the chance to view the lakes. We were lucky enough to spot an Egret who was busy fishing.

Arundel Wetlands Centre

Visiting and resident British species include bats, bee orchids, cuckoos, dragonflies, grass snakes, pochard, swans, very many small birds, such as reed and sedge warblers, and three species of woodpecker. We were keen to do the boat safari in quiet electric boats through the reedbeds in the hope of seeing a vividly-coloured kingfisher or glimpse a water vole. Sadly we didn’t see either but the boat ride was enjoyable nonetheless and we managed to spot some fish as well as the ducks. Onboard the boat we learned that this was the worst season to see the ducks as the males had lost all their vibrant plumage that they have over the winter / spring months for mating – I had wondered where the more exotic birds were.

Arundel Wetlands Centre

After the boat ride we headed to one of the cabins to do some crafting but it was full, so we headed to the Pond Skaters play area instead.  Isaac, Eliza and Sebby loved leaping over the wooden lily pads, walking the wobbly fish log and climbing the frog and dragonfly ladders to slide down the ducks, children learn what lives above and below the water.

Arundel Wetlands Centre

We heard a familiar rumbling overhead and got treated to an arial display of a different kind – a majestic Spitfire was performing right over our heads.


We only had time to explore one half of the centre and missed the Meadow Maze which allows children to wander the meadow path to view the world as an insect and another play park where they would have had the chance to swing on a massive bird feeder inspired lard ball.

We had bought a family ticket to visit the centre but enjoyed it so much that we upgraded it to an annual pass for the family for an extra £30 which means we can visit anytime.  I cannot wait to go back and try to spot an elusive Kingfisher and see the rest of the centre that we didn’t get time to explore.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

24 thoughts on “A Visit to Arundel Wetlands Centre

  1. Jake says:

    What an adventure! children who loves animals would probably love to explore Arundel Wetlands Centre. would love to visit one day.

  2. I like the idea of a boat safari. Must check to see if there is one local to us.
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  3. Laura says:

    What a lovely-sounding trip. Fantastic that you got to see lots of wildlife and it sounds like there’s lots there to keep you busy.

  4. Laura says:

    This looks like a beautiful place!
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  5. lisa prince says:

    oh this looks lovely i would lvoe to be able to travel here with my lot

  6. The annual pass sounds really affordable – what a lovely place to have access to all year round x
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  7. We definitely need to schedule a visit in for he wetlands centre, I keep hearing people talk about it and it is only about an hour from me. Mich x
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  8. Erica Price says:

    I’ve not heard of this wetlands centre, but it looks like a lovely place to visit.
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  9. Sarah Bailey says:

    What an absolutely wonderful looking place to go and visit. All that wildlife! x
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  10. Amy Squires says:

    Looks like a wonderful place to visit. I love places like that to explore, it’s such a shame it’s so far away!

  11. Coombemill says:

    I love the look of this and it looks like a great place to have an annual pass for, often it is worth it with only a couple of extra visits. Shame about the long drive to get there but at least it was worth it when you did and plenty left to at for another time! thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

  12. Ninja at says:

    This looks a great place to visit I live birds x
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  13. PinkOddy says:

    My youngest really loved our local Wetlands Centre and this post has really inspired for me to take him back.
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  14. wow wow wow what a wonderful place to visit! pictures are amazing
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  15. Emma says:

    My husband is from Worthing, we love Arundel and Erin is adamant that Elsa and Anna live there!
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  16. I think we would have upgraded to an annual pass too. This place looks amazing! It’s great for children (and adults) to see lots of wildlife.
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  17. Gemma says:

    This place looks fab!
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  18. Sonia says:

    We have somewhere like this near us and its such lovely day out. I love being by water, it makes me feel very relaxed x
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  19. Michelle says:

    What a fab place to visit – I would love it here! I don’t know what is up with the roads at the moment, but traffic seems to be soooooo bad – what a nightmare having all that extra time added to your trip.
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  20. Jen Walshaw says:

    Wetlands are ace for birdwatching. We have one nearby and I love visiting. You go on such fab trips with your family.
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  21. Rachel says:

    I could have sat there all day watching the ducks, it looks so peaceful x
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  22. Looks like a nice place – I love the waterfall!
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