A Guide to Amberley, West Sussex

A Guide to Amberley, West Sussex

Sandwiched between the scarp slope of the Downs and Amberley Mount in the east and the River Arun and Wildbrooks in the west, the Downland village of Amberley near Arundel is a magical place. Aesthetically wedged in a by-gone time, its streets and lanes are lined with flint-walled, thatched cottages that date back hundreds of years. Surrounded by bucolic countryside and home to a Medieval castle and Norman church, it’s the kind of place you can easily lose track of time (and the date) just discovering all the local attractions and things to see and do.

If you’d like to find out more about Amberley in the South Downs in West Sussex, here’s our local guide filled with the top attractions and eateries in the village. 

Attractions in Amberley 

Amberley Wildbrooks

Locally known as Amberley Swamp, Amberley Wildbrooks is an eight-hundred-acre nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. Comprised of lowland wet grassland and woodland and criss-crossed with reed-filled ditches and channels, it forms part of the Arun Valley floodplain and is an important area for wildlife. Regularly flooded in winter, it’s a particular favourite among wintering wildfowl including Bewick's swan, wigeon, teal, shoveler and pintail. Explore the site along the Wey South Path – but be prepared for mud (and lots of it) in winter.

Amberley Museum

One of the best attractions in Amberley and the surrounds is undoubtedly the dog-friendly Amberley Museum. Set in a former quarry and limeworks, it allows you to travel back in time and explore forty different exhibits that tell the history of the area and beyond. Just some of the highlights include a working narrow-gauge railway, old buses, workshops and local crafts, as well as seasonal events, shows and fayres. Located onsite with inside and outside seating, the Limeburners Café is also worth a visit for a lunchtime pick-me-up. Interestingly, James Bond: A View to Kill, starring Roger Moore and Grace Jones, had scenes that were filmed in Amberley Museum, including the scenes at the fictional Main Strike Mine.

Amberley Castle 

A Medieval castle that’s been converted into a luxury hotel and restaurant, Amberley Castle makes for one of the village’s most intriguing attractions. Head over and explore the castle grounds, looking out for the ruined castle walls, garderobe tower, oubliette dungeon and resident white peacock. For a fine dining experience, you can book a table in the award-winning Queen’s Room located on the first floor of the castle, or for a delectable afternoon tea with all the trimmings, take a pew on the castle’s garden terrace. 

St Michael’s Church

St Michael’s Church perches atop one of the highest points in Amberley, close to the village’s castle. Though it has undergone many transformations and changes over the course of its history, the building itself is nearly a thousand years old and dates back to 1100AD. If you’d like to learn more about the church before you go, the church website has provided a superb virtual tour with all kinds of information on the building and its history. It also has an audio guide which you can listen to as you wander around the church itself.

Places to Eat

Riverside South Downs

A family-friendly hub on the banks of the River Arun, Riverside South Downs is known for its boat and bike hire and is also home to a licensed tearoom. The perfect pitstop, this riverside gem beckons with hearty breakfasts, hot lunches and afternoon cream teas – all crafted with local produce. Take a seat in one of the two terrace gardens and sit back with a glass of wine or cup of tea and simply relax.

The Bridge Inn

The Bridge Inn in Amberley is a traditional pub and kitchen with a dog-friendly bar, popular for its real ales, great wines, and home-cooked food. In summer, the pub’s garden and patio are the place to be, while in winter there’s nothing cosier than retreating to one of the fireside tables inside. Another seasonal favourite are the pub’s Sunday roasts that are served throughout the winter months.

Amberley Black Horse

Whether you’re looking forward to a drink and nibbles or a full three-course meal, the Amberley Black Horse is a great choice. Featuring a sixty-seater restaurant, private dining room, breakfast room, terrace and garden, it boasts plenty of room and can cater to all the family. Look forward to dishes like grilled lobster, superfood salads, local charcuterie boards and seasonal pies served with piles of veg. 

The Sportsman Inn

An idyllic place to rest your feet and fill your tums at the end of a day’s adventuring is the Sportsman Inn. Overlooking the stunning Amberley Wildbrooks Nature Reserve, its countryside location makes it really popular with walkers, cyclists and wildlife-watchers alike. Peruse its main menu and seasonal specials and choose from an array of mouth-watering dishes, each accompanied by a wide selection of drinks from the well-stocked bar. 

Amberley Village Tearoom 

The Amberley Village Tearoom is a little haven in the heart of the village, offering loose-leaf teas, locally-roasted coffee and home-cooked food. Welcoming all, this tearoom has a cycle rack for those arriving on bike and is also dog-friendly too. Take a seat inside the tearoom or suntrap courtyard and pour over the menu – the sweet and savoury cream teas are particularly recommended and served on tableware from the local potter. 

Amberley Village Shop

If you’d like to take some ingredients home with you to cook up a feast in your Sussex retreat, then you can head over to Amberley Village Shop to choose from a range of locally-sourced produce. Goods on offer include local seasonal fruit and vegetables, meat, cheese, bread and milk all from producers and growers within a few miles of the shop. There’s also wine from local vineyard Nutbourne Wine and beer from local Hammerpot and Long Man breweries. 

The Queen’s Room

On the first floor of Amberley Castle, the Queen’s Room is an award-wining restaurant. A dreamy venue for a romantic dinner date, dining takes place either in the regal Queen's Room with its twelfth century barrel-vaulted ceiling or in the Great Room with its lancet windows, grand fireplace, oak floors, tapestries and suits of armour. You can also take a laidback afternoon tea overlooking the castle’s grounds, sipping a cup of tea or, to make the occasion more special, a glass of sparkling wine.

Feeling inspired? Take a look through our luxury cottages in Sussex here.


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