Amberley Castle

       Southeast England, between Portsmouth and Brighton

This Castle’s web site:

Dream Vacation in England: Castles-to-Sleep-In—Amberley Castle

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Amberley Castle just turned 900 years old. Its royal connections include King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, who owned it; King Charles II, King George V and Queen Mary, who stayed here; and Queen Elizabeth II, who attended a birthday party at Amberley when she was still a princess. 


It was originally built as a hunting lodge for the Bishops of Chichester.  In 1377, King Richard II gave the current bishop permission to turn Amberley into a castle by granting him a license to fortify and crenelate it. While the building of castles was limited to royalty or the nobility, Bishops rank as Princes of the Church.

A massive curtain wall 60 feet high was built around the existing buildings.
  Towers framed the entrance gate, which was opened and closed by a portcullis. Just over 150 years later, King Henry VIII seized Amberley for the crown as he was carrying out his audacious goal of dissolving all the monasteries, abbeys and convents in the country. 

During the English Civil War, Cromwell’s troops pulled down part

of the curtain wall, and destroyed the Great Hall but some of the buildings  remained habitable. In the nineteenth century, the Duke of Norfolk bought the property and began an extensive restoration of the castle, including replacing the original crenelation on the towers and entry gate.

Amberley’s portcullis was rebuilt and electrified in the 1980’s. It is 

raised every morning at 7 a.m. and lowered at midnight. When you arrive at Amberley, you’ll drive under the portcullis through the entry gate.


                                                                               Inside the curtain walls are a group of medieval buildings set among lawns and gardens. The bed rooms and elegant public rooms are scattered among these buildings.

The castle has two gourmet restaurants. The village of Amberley, a short walk away, also has places one can eat.




The 12th-century Queen’s Room has a barrel vaulted ceiling

The bedrooms are significantly different in size

and price. We stayed in Rye, one of the least

expensive rooms, but perfect for people like us

who love exposed beams.




Amberley has the usual things you might expect to encounter at an ancient castle: black swans, white peacocks, a dry moat, suits of armor, an oubliette to drop bad guys down, a tennis court and a dress code: “smart casual” for the lounges, coat or tie for dining.

Amberley also features some unexpected  amenities: an eighteen-hole putting course, a croquet lawn, a thatched tree house and some of the finest examples of garderobes (medieval toilets) in England. Amberley Castle is a luxury hotel and the prices reflect that, but the room rate includes Full English Breakfast and tax.

Find out more at                                


NOTE: Amberley Castle, like many luxury hotels in the UK, does not accept children under 10.




                                                                                    ©2012 JoAnne Stewart Wetzel


The room called Rye