You could say that working in hospitality runs in Lucie Stirling’s veins.
Her mum Sylvia ran a B&B until she was in her 80s, when Lucie decided to change career and open her own it felt like coming home.
Lucie and her husband Iain moved into Arden House in 2015.
“Our first date was in Arundel and we got engaged on the banks of the River Arun in 2013,” explains Lucie.
“We were on another date when we saw Arden House for sale and we debated whether to buy it, so we left it but then it didn’t sell so we decided to go for it.”
Lucie previously worked at a senior level in HR for a commercial bank, while Iain was a traffic officer on the M4.
Iain moved down to Steyning after the pair met so they could be closer to each other.
After buying Arden House Lucie enrolled on a cookery course at Northbrook College.
“Cooking has always been my passion but I wanted to have a professional qualification,” she explains.
“When we moved in we inherited carpets that were 20 years old bed linen that was 30 years old so that all had to go, but we did it as the B&B was still open.
“We really hit the ground running when we bought it.”
Arden has been a guest house since 1967, but the building itself was owned by a blacksmith who built the main part of Arden House in 1880.
Ten years later he died and his wife Elizabeth continued running the business after his death.
“The building has such an interesting history, including the wife taking over the business.
“I come from a line of strong women, my mum who ran the B&B, my grandma Olive rode a motorcycle and raised a herd of dairy cattle, and my great grandmother Elizabeth Fowler took over the family’s wheelwright business in Cowfold when her husband died.
“My mum did it in the 1970s she was a proper homemaker and wanted extra money so she opened up rooms in her farmhouse in Wineham to people and had a couple of cottages she rented out.
“She has been a big inspiration to me, and I really look up to her.
“She was very supportive when she found out what we were doing but she knows I’m a hard grafter.
“I mainly run the business. My husband Iain is a qualified shooting instructor so he is out most days doing that.
“Having grown up with it I was used to people coming in the front door while I ate my dinner but I think it has taken Iain a while to get used to it.”
The B&B has seven bedrooms, and Lucie provides breakfast for her guests.
“I love cooking breakfast and I can make packed lunches,” she says.
Located in Arundel it is 200 yards from the castle and town, the rooms have free wifi, complimentary tea, coffee, water and biscuits and the non-ensuite rooms have fluffy bathrobes and slippers for guests to enjoy during their stay.
“We have some lovely natural attractions in Arundel,” enthuses Lucie.
“There are challenges but different ones, I am on duty 24 hours a day. I get up at 6.30 and close my door at 10pm but if my guests need me I am always on hand to help.
“I feel blessed that I am able to do this as a job.”