Castles

Britain’s monarchs chose the South Coast to build their empires for a reason: Not only is it a stunning location, with beautiful countryside and views across the ocean, but it also proved to be a great position for defending the coast. Sussex has an overwhelming number of castles, all covering different historical periods. They range from big to small, grand to subtle, but all display relics and reminders from the past, making them some of the most major historical sites in Sussex.

Built in the early 12th century, Amberley Castle has been standing proudly in the chalk downs for nearly 900 years. Nearby is the beautifully picturesque village of Amberley, with its individual shops and pubs favoured by locals. Although you can still walk around the outer walls, the castle is now privately owned and run as a hotel and spectacular venue for weddings. It’s a fantastically luxurious treat to stay in one of the four-poster beds, with the stunning surroundings of tennis courts, lakes, and even an 18-hole golf course.

Arundel Castle is arguably one of the most striking and well-maintained castles in Sussex, with a history dating back to 1068. Currently home to the Duke of Norfolk and his family, they have opened their doors (or drawbridge) to the public, allowing visitors to explore 40 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens. It holds an imposing position high above the town, overlooking the river Arun and its own impeccable formal gardens. With years of stories and secrets held within its walls, visitors can discover the priceless art, tapestries and furniture on show in the stunning rooms.

For a real taste of royal life, Bodiam Castle retains much of its dramatic features from the 1300’s. Unknown whether it was built for military use or as a comfortable home for Sir Edward Dallingridge, it is now owned and preserved by the National Trust. Bodiam still has a fantastic moat and the exterior remains almost unspoilt, leaving the castle looking postcard perfect.

Sussex also boasts Lewes castle, in the centre of the historical town of Lewes; it's a great interactive and educational castle to learn about the history of the local area. There is also Herstmonceux castle, one of the oldest surviving brick buildings in England. Other castles in Sussex include the ruins of Bramber, Hastings, Knepp and Pevensey – none of which are as grand as the likes of Bodiam, but still stand as a testament to the history of this country. Walking round these impressive structures instils a sense of pride at the splendour and opulence of British history, allowing visitors to immerse themselves completely in a different era.

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