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Hotel Highlights

  • Unique luxury castle hotel with excellent facilities
  • Spectacular grounds, plus 18-hole putting course
  • Two excellent restaurants, including fine dining

Overview

Located in the centre of a gorgeous village in historic West Sussex, Amberley Castle hotel is set in – you guessed it – a 900-year-old castle. It’s not all suits of armour, vaulted ceilings and ancient artefacts (though those are in abundance). This is now an elegant and luxurious full-service hotel with rooms and suites featuring comfy four-poster beds, impressive (and usable) antique furnishings, large en-suite bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and views of the exquisite gardens.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Amberley Castle with us:

A bottle of house wine on arrival

Facilities

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Amberley Castle Hotel – West Sussex – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

19 including six suites.

Check–out

11am; check-in time is 3pm but flexible on request, subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $318.32 (£188), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates are room only. Two-night minimum stay at weekends.

At the hotel

Twelve acres of grounds, including an 18-hole putting course, tennis courts and a croquet lawn. Free WiFi, TVs, DVD/Blu-ray players and L’Occitane toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Try and stay in the main body of the castle. Amberley has a sumptuous bed, his ’n’ hers bathrooms and a window-seat looking over the courtyard. Pevensey is intimate and has its own private door leading to the castle battlements.

Packing tips

Camera, book of ghost stories, tennis racket.

Also

No pets, but assistance dogs are welcome.

Children

Over-12s welcome.

Food & Drink

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Amberley Castle Hotel – West Sussex – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

The restaurant is spread across two main dining halls – the Great Room and the Queen’s Room. This antique eatery, decked out with lancet windows and suits of armour, has a tantalising menu of traditional British fare devised by the award-winning Robby Jenks – the sirloin pomme anna with shallot puree is not to be missed. The Great Room and two additional, more intimate dining rooms, can be exclusively hired for a private fit-for-a-king feast.

Last orders

You can dine in until 10pm and drinks are served until 11pm. The price for a lunch menu starts at £27.50 and is served between 12pm and 2pm, and a two-course a la carte dinner is £55, severed between 7pm and 10pm.

Room service

Simple meals and snacks are available from 11am to 10pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

No denim, even at lunchtime; smart casual in the lounge and jacket or tie for dinner. Leave mobiles in your room.

Top table

In the window alcove surrounded by fine tapestry and stoic suits of armour.

Local Guide

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Amberley Castle Hotel – West Sussex – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Archery, clay-pigeon shooting and hot-air ballooning can be arranged by the hotel. Goodwood House (www.goodwood.co.uk) – you can have helicopter and flying lessons at the Flying Club, go to the races or watch the motor-racing. While you’re there, walk up Trundle Lane to the Seven Points Viewpoint. Chichester Festival Theatre (www.cft.org.uk) puts on impressive productions. The Minerva Theatre (01243 781312) next door, has fringe-type performances. Have a stroll along Climping beach, a ten-minute drive away.

Local restaurants

The Fleur de Sel in Storrington (01903 742331) has an unhurried atmosphere and does fantastic seafood. The George and Dragon (01243 785660), a charming red-brick gastropub just a welly-clad half-hour ramble from the hotel, serves an excellent sandwich and small-plates selection for lunch and an evening menu of primped-up pub grub – with a decked area for when the sun shines.

Local bars

The Royal Oak in Lavant (01243 527434; for review, click here) is worth the trip for lunch. The George at Burpham (01903 883131), a 20-minute drive from the hotel, has delicious bar food as well as a restaurant, which serves generously portioned pub classics with an à la mode twist – such as burgers in a brioche bun topped with Welsh rarebit and bacon. 

+ Enlarge
Scenic Sussex

Amberley Castle

Amberley Castle, West Sussex, BN18 9LT, United Kingdom

Planes

The nearest airport is London Gatwick, under an hour's drive from the hotel. Direct trains that take around 50 minutes run from here to Amberley.

Trains

There are direct trains from Amberley (half a mile from the hotel) straight in to London Victoria. The ride should take an hour and a half.

Automobiles

The road to Amberley is the B2139. London is 75 miles away. Other nearby towns include Brighton (20 miles away) and Portsmouth (31 miles).

Other

Sail in from France or the Isle of Wight – ferry ports close by include Portsmouth and Southampton, Newhaven). Helicopter-owning guests coming from London can get here in 25 minutes – following the Thames and then flying over Surrey and Sussex's finest countryside.

Reviews

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Amberley Castle Hotel – West Sussex – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Ben Lyttleton , Football freelancer

The driveway that leads up to Amberley Castle is long – very long. On the left, there’s a treehouse with a rope bridge; on the either side, two ponds, one with a small island and a swing-chair in the middle; and there up towards the castle and the entrance, a genuine-article portcullis. It definitely feels like going back in time – Amberley Castle does, after all, date back to 1…
Read more

Amberley Castle

Anonymous review by Ben Lyttleton, Football freelancer

The driveway that leads up to Amberley Castle is long – very long. On the left, there’s a treehouse with a rope bridge; on the either side, two ponds, one with a small island and a swing-chair in the middle; and there up towards the castle and the entrance, a genuine-article portcullis.

It definitely feels like going back in time – Amberley Castle does, after all, date back to 1380. That feeling persisted; after a warm welcome from the hotel manager (who came out to greet us as there were only three other guests) we were told shortly after two o’clock that lunch was not an option. So afternoon tea it was. Any disappointment did not last long when a marvellous antique triple-tiered stand emerged with crustless sandwiches, artisan cakes and good old-fashioned scones with healthy servings of clotted cream and jam.

This, we soon learned, is the Amberley way. It’s not the type of place where as soon as you walk in, you relax and feel tiredness fall off you as you relax straightaway: that’s hardly possible when suits of armour are watching your every move – but after a while, you learn to go with it. And once you do, it’s great.

Our room, Chichester, was up at the top of the castle, past the dining room and the ladies’ powder room (it’s that kind of place) and it was magnificent. A four-poster bed, a roaring fire, a coat of arms on the wall with the insignia ‘courage’ (more on that, later) and dramatic views of the castle battlements and the marshes beyond. We walked around the grounds but it was unseasonally too cold to play croquet or golf on the 19-hole putting green; instead we checked out the two alpacas and crossed the rope-bridge to Mistletoe Lodge, the romantic treehouse where you can see everything and not be seen.

The Downton Abbey effect kicked in before dinner, which we were told was a jacket-and-tie affair. As it happens so infrequently now, we both enjoyed getting dressed up, chatting as Lord and Lady Grantham might about matters of the house (ie what’s for dinner?). The dining room, though empty, was typically grand: no armour suits but walls bedecked with guns, which was incentive enough to abide by the Amberley rule of no mobiles at the table: if caught, the punishment is to buy a bottle of champagne for the staff and yes, it does happen.

The three-course meal was a gourmand’s delight, made all the better by our wine expert, Kelvin, one of only 200 Master Sommeliers in the world. He chose our tipples for each course, and every one was perfect: a fruity chardonnay accompanied langoustine bisque and a rich merlot complemented local Sussex sirloin. By the time the dessert wine arrived, just before the surprise popping-candy hidden at the bottom of a chocolate mousse took effect, we were fortified enough to ask Kelvin about Emily. ‘Who?’ you ask. The ghost said to stalk two rooms in the hotel.

‘In one room, she has been seen sitting reading a book; and in the other room, she has been known to pull the man’s arm from under the bedcovers,’ he said. Emily, the story went, was a 13-year-old who, in the late 1400s, fell pregnant by a local bishop; when rejected, she jumped from the top of the castle.

Laughing off the tale, my wife vowed to spend the following night in one of the rooms to see what would happen. That was until we visited the room in question – it’s called Herstmonceux (the other one is Pevensey) – the next morning. Immediately, she felt claustrophobic, so we took some fresh air, walking onto the battlements from where Emily is said to have jumped; it was precarious. We decided to stick to our room after all.

A bracing walk later, and we ambled through Amberley and headed for the South Downs. It was a steep walk but worth it for the views; on the way back through the picturesque village, it was so sleepy we wondered if anyone lived in the immaculate houses. Pausing at the Amberley Pottery studio, we went potty for the pots, and bought mugs, bowls and vases from chief ceramicist Caroline, who was as eccentric as we could have hoped.

A second dress-up gourmet meal was more than we needed, so with some trepidation, we asked to eat a light supper in front of the fire in our room. No problem, we were told, and some soup and salad were sent our way. As we listened to the doves on the turrets outside our windows chatter away, it was cosy, warm, peaceful and romantic up in our castle haven.

As for any encounters with Emily? She was invoked when a pair of glasses went missing as we were packing to leave. Did she really steal the specs? We believed it for a while; until we found them under the bed. Clearly 900-year-old Amberley Castle had us under its spell.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Amberley Castle from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We stayed for one night as a birthday treat and thought it was excellent in every way. We were upgraded and had a lovely room in the castle wall with a fabulous new bathroom. Dinner was of a very high quality with personal service from attentive staff. While the wine list is quite intimidating in terms of cost it was just possible to find a bottle to suit one's pocket. We loved the fresh crispy pastries at breakfast and an extensive buffet table with fresh and dried fruits, muesli, yogurt, etc. All staff members we met were friendly and helpful and we felt welcomed.

Don’t expect

I can't think of anything that could be better; it was perfect.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The chocolate Black Forrest dessert was one of the best desserts we have ever had: original and inventive with so many tastes…

Rating: 10/10 stars