Photos courtesy of Amberley Castle
Double rooms: from £175
1/2 pension plan available
Open: all year
From London, take A24 south. Turn west on A283 to Storrington. In Storrington, continue southwest on B2139. The castle is on the right and is marked by a very small signpost. Try to arrive during daylight. At midnight the 2-ton portcullis is lowered, and special arrangements must be made. Direct train service from London. The hotel will pick you up at the station with prior notice.
On site: tennis; croquet; horse-back riding; falconry
Nearby: golf; ballooning; Arundel Castle; Glyndebourne; Chichester Cathedral; Petworth House; Goodwood House
Yes. Civil ceremonies. A church is available in Amberley Village. Exclusive use is possible.
Between the South Downs and the expanse of the Amberley Wildbrooks—a preserved wetland and nature reserve—the massive fortified castle of Amberley welcomes you to a genuine castle experience.
The only threatening presence here nowadays comes from the peacocks who stand sentry duty on the walls and grass-covered moat, which now serves as a croquet lawn. Through the portcullis, you enter a large courtyard where a stone walkway leads to the hotel.
Each uniquely decorated guest room bears a medieval ambiance and is named for a Sussex castle.
Rooms are furnished with antiques, brass or four-poster beds, and lovely shades of fabrics. The Herstmonceux and Pevensey rooms each have a secret doorway leading to the battlements, and the Arundel and Amberley rooms have gas fireplaces and stunning windows set in stone recesses. The Chichester Room, not only has a fireplace and beamed ceiling, but a six-foot-long four-poster bed and an enormous bathroom with an outstanding view from its oversize whirlpool bath.
Five of Amberley’s suites, named the Bishopric Suites, are found in a 17th-century stone building within the dry moat. They have views of the castle walls, gardens, or portcullis.
In the barrel-vaulted Queen’s Room Restaurant, you can feast on classic French and traditional English cuisine served on Wedgwood china and Dartington crystal. Lancet windows provide views of the graceful English countryside.
An enchanting, thatched-roof tree house, nestled in the bough of an oak tree, is reached by a rope bridge. Named the Mistletoe Lodge, it is a divine spot for a romantic picnic or dinner for two.