Littlehampton to Arundel Castle SUP

The beach slash town SUP. Littlehampton, a small sea side town, is the start point to paddle inland to Arundel Castle and town 5 miles away.

arundel sup b

≈ Quick Facts:

  • River Name: Arun River
  • What is the distance: 5.5 miles one way
  • How long does it take: 1hr 45mins to Arundel Castle
  • Shelter from wind: Any direction if light.
  • Best Tide: Incoming or slack tide
  • Pay To Park: Yes
  • Parking Distance: 5 minute walk
  • Do you pay to launch: No
  • SUP Rental: No
  • Wildlife: Swans
  • Eat & Drink: Yes
  • Toilets: No
  • Hazards: Outgoing Spring Tide!


≈ Location Guide: 

Where to park & launch a SUP in Littlehampton?



You can launch at the very accessible boat ramp in the centre of town, opposite the RNLI station, there’s a car park right by it. I launch on to Arun river from a handy pontoon right outside our self catering house that we stay at.

Best time to launch?
You MUST get the tide right as this river has one of the strongest currents in the UK! Spring tides can be brutal! See the photo below of what can happen when you get the tide TOTALLY wrong! If you want to SUP Littlehampton to Arundel and back, then leave NO LATER than an hour before high tide. To be safe I would make it 2 hours. There will be a slight push up the river with the incoming tide, which might add an extra knot or so to your speed. Once you arrive in Arundel you’ve then got plenty of time for drinks and eats while you wait for the tide to turn and start running back down river to Littlehampton. Ideally wait a good couple of hours before jumping back on your plank to get the full benefit of the river’s change of direction. If you get the tide spot on you might not need to paddle at all, just hold on to your hats and ride the Arundel conveyor!

Littlehampton ship_mungo_stuckAt the mouth of the river Arun

What is there to see when you SUP Littlehampton?
Once you have paddled your SUP out of Littlehampton the scenery on the first part of the river is pretty flat. Not much to look at except for the odd train passing by on your right. The train actually stopped on my last Littlehampton SUP, I’m sure they were all looking out the windows wondering what on earth I was doing! After this section of river is completed it’s not long before you will see a strange sight on your left. A full sized airplane perched on top of a 60ft pole, not something you usually expect to see while SUPing! After paddling up river for about another 30 minutes you will catch a glimpse of Arundel castle for the first time. I challenge you not to smile when you see it for the first time, such a spectacular setting.

arundel_1981296bArundel Castle
From here you will continue on up the river overtaking the occasional bemused dog walker strolling along the river bank and ducking under the odd low flying swan. Arundel Castle gradually getting closer, it seems to take an age to slowly meander your way up the winding river. The river was extremely quiet when I did the trip, not one boat passed by, but I bet it will be a lot busier in the Summer. Finally Arundel town will come in to view with the castle sat towering over the town. To paddle through the town centre you will need to paddle onwards and under the A27 road bridge ahead of you. Passing all the expensive waterfront properties lining the river on your left. When I first SUP’d here in 2008 people stopped and stared, looking dazed and confused, don’t think they have ever seen a SUP paddle into town before.

444234_1284571569193Waterside properties in Arundel
Carry on up to the second bridge located at the other end of Arundel town centre on Queen street. This is where I found my missus waving like crazy (My taxi back to Littlehampton!)

arundel_castle_riverarunQueen Street Bridge
Where can I leave the river in Arundel?
My missus had found a walkway down to the river, right below the bridge. Result! Before this I had no idea at all where I was going to end up dragging the board out. Piled my gear in the back of the van parked on the bridge and strolled down to a waterfront a few yards away and celebrated over a huge portion of cheesy chips. Happy days!

mike at arundelMike on Queen Street bridge. Arundel castle behind.


10 Responses

  1. whitnit says:

    Good work sir 🙂
    I’m doing this same trip in a couple of days, in kayak, and will go a bit further to the Black Rabbit pub for lunch…I’d like to keep going up, I wonder how long it’d take to get to Pulborough… As you say, tide times are pretty vital. Fortunately, for my birthday paddle, high tide at Littlehampton is midday. I was going to set off about 11am but will heed your advice & aim for 10-10:30.

    • SUP HQ says:

      Hi Nick, It’s a pretty special paddle, an awesome way to celebrate your birthday! Not sure how long it would take to continue on to Pulborough,never managed to SUP past Arundel myself, I get lured in by the overpowering smell of fresh cooked chips wafting over the river, it’s just too tempting!Enjoy fellow paddler!

  2. BrightonSUP says:

    Looks top, i’m going to be attempting this weekend in slightly warmer weather. I had a quick question about the tide times, would you reccomend leaving 2 hours before the high tide at littlehampton or at Arundel given there’s quite a difference!

    Thanks in advance

    • SUP HQ says:

      Hi, you are best advised to leave from the Littlehampton end so that you can take advantage of the incoming tide pushing up river to Arundel.

      • BrightonSUP says:

        It was a good run, I carried on as far as the Black Rabbit before making the return.

        I can confirm in the summer there is a lot more boat traffic which can be quite a challenge on the narrower sections approaching and through Arundel, most boaters were very considerate however the pleasure cruisers that were rented by the hour a little less so! So maybe not one for the begginers unless they like swimming!

  3. Kevin says:

    Can this be done the opposite way towards low tide?

    • SUP HQ says:

      Yep, you can launch from Arundel heading back to Littlehampton, no probs. Just make sure you get the tide spot on. You need to make sure that the tide has literally just started going out at Littlehampton when you launch. Enjoy!

  4. Pauline Mary Edge says:

    Hi. I hope you don’t mind me picking your brains
    You must have done this by now…….. We are planning to SUP from Pulborough to Arundel on Wednesday. I understand Pulborough High is Dover +4 hours, so plan to leave at 7.30 (high is at 6.30). Acknowledge that there are no getting off places until the Black Rabbit, and then the pontoon in Arundel, just under the first road bridge. Does this make sense?

    • SUP HQ says:

      Hi Pauline, I’m afraid I haven’t paddleboarded that route as yet, but looks like it could be good one! Would be very interested to hear how you get on. 🙂

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