Glass stays at Amberley Castle, the perfect historical retreat


WITH a recorded history dating back to 683 AD, Amberley Castle has had a long and colourful life. The site has played a role in some of the most significant moments in English history, such as the civil war, during which Oliver Cromwell ordered Amberley’s great mediaeval fortress walls to be destroyed as it protected royalist forces. In 1660 Amberley was twice visited by King Charles II,  and has been home to bishops, lords and wealthy merchants. The building has been lovingly preserved and is the ultimate destination for a history buff.

Sitting in the grounds of the castle is like being on the set of a theatrical production of Romeo and Juliet. The dramatic ruins of the battlement walls still stand, with beautiful gothic window arches and doorways giving a romantic air.

A resident white peacock roams through the stunning floral gardens and is quite the entertainer. Every night he voluntarily performs a daredevil stunt of jum-ping from ledge to ledge until he reaches the uppermost peak of the roof. He seems to relish  the attention and gasps from his audience.

Amberley Castle exterior

Inside the hotel there are clues to the building’s history, including suits of armour and ancient swords and weapons of battle. Some of the rooms feature roaring fires and ancient winding stone staircases. Original details such as beautifully carved stone window frames, ancient nooks and wooden ceiling beams have been cleverly worked into the design of each room when the manor house was divided up into hotel rooms.

Amberley Castle

Children are welcome and the 12 acres of terraces and grounds provide ample space to  run around or enjoy a pre-ordered luxury picnic from the hotel. The local West Sussex area boasts a host of activities, such as the enormous 11th century castle at Arundel and the Amberley Heritage Centre with a mini steam train and well-curated interactive displays on the historical industry and craftsmen and women of the area.

Premier Deluxe Room

Back at the hotel, delicious meals are served in the majestic Queen’s Room on the first floor dining room with its breath-taking barrel-vaulted ceiling dating back to the 12th century. Or on the ground floor, meals are served in The Great Room. Built  in 1165 by Bishop Luffa of Chichester, this is a  rare example of Norman architecture, with high lancet windows, open fireplace, oak flooring and tapestry. The dress code for the dining room is smart casual, with no shorts or trainers. When weather permits, meals are also served in the gardens. Afternoon tea is also available to hotel guests and visitors.

by Nicola Kavanagh

Double rooms at Amberley Castle are from £195 per night on a bed and breakfast basis