Ever wanted to stay in a castle?
Well, you can by staying in Amberley Castle in West Sussex – on the south coast of England – which was turned into a hotel at the end of the last century.
Here’s more about this special place:
Where Is Amberley Castle?
Amberley is situated about 10km inland, between Brighton and Portsmouth, close to the more famous Arundel Castle.
It can be reached from London by car via the A3 and A283 from the capital.
Alternatively a train service from London Victoria runs to Amberley.
Amberley Castle – A History
Bishop Wilfrid was given the land where Amberley Castle stands by Caedwalla, King of Wessex in 683 AD.
The castle’s present structures were first erected in 1103, when Bishop Luffa built a timber-framed hunting lodge and over the following four centuries, it was developed into a fortified manor house, with crenelations, battlements and a portcullis.
In 1643, Oliver Cromwell dispatched General Waller to demolish the fortifications, then a royalist stronghold, resulting in a loss of 20 to 30 feet of the Curtain Walls and the complete destruction of the Great Hall.
After the Civil War, Amberley Castle was taken from the Church by Parliament and sold by the Office of Sequestration of Estates to John Butler, a cloth merchant from London. He constructed the Manor House from the remains of the Great Hall.
In 1660, after the Monarchy was restored, King Charles II visited Amberley twice and gave the castle back to the Bishopric without any reimbursement for Mr Butler. Nonetheless, after negotiations, the Butler family was granted a long lease and resided at the castle for another two generations.
In 1872, the church commissioners sold the castle to Lord Zouche, the proprietor of Parham House, to serve as a hunting lodge. Subsequently, the 15th Duke of Norfolk acquired the castle in 1893 and began repairs on the stone work above the portcullis.
In 1926, the Emmet family acquired Amberley Castle but, in 1982, they sold the castle and its grounds were divided, with Castle Farm being part of the deal. From 1982-1987, Hollis Baker became the owner of the castle, restoring the 2.5 ton ancient portcullis in the process.
Since 1989, the castle has been transformed into a hotel that has become renowned for its luxuriousness.
Visiting Amberley Castle
The easiest way to visit the castle is to stay there although it’s not cheap: expect to pay around £300 (around US$350) a night for the smallest rooms, or double that for one of the deluxe suites (such as the one pictured).
Failing that, attend one of the many weddings at the castle, or dine at the hotel’s excellent restaurant.
So, get to live like a Lord or Lady in a castle at this very special, and ancient, hotel…
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