Wednesday 18 December 2024

Please join us to celebrate the Festive Season with our Club-21 Members at the stunningly beautiful AMBERLEY CASTLE, nestled in the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex, just 3.7 miles from Arundel Castle!  

Erected as a 12th-century Manor House and fortified in 1377,  it was used as a fortress by the Bishops of Chichester but is now in use as a privately owned hotel. This impressive 5* Relais & Chateaux Hotel is actually a REAL medieval Castle with an award-winning Dining Room offering fine dining with a seasonal menu, using local produce. It has a long held reputation for delivering outstanding cuisine and is a must-visit for Solent Events clients, who love the nicetis of life occasionally!

The rich tapestry of rolling pastures, ancient woodland, river valleys and dramatic coastline that surrounds Amberley Castle is truly breathtaking. 

Our special lunch will be held in the historic ‘Great Room’. Built in 1165 by Bishop Luffa of Chichester, the Great Room offers a fine example of Norman architecture, with high lancet windows, an open fireplace, oak flooring, tapestries and suits of armour.  

On this occasion, guests and non-members will also be invited to join our Festive Lunch in this very special, REAL Castle, where everyone experience just one of the many benefits enjoyed by Club-21 Members.

The privately-owned Amberley Castle boats 19 luxurious guest rooms offering luxurious comfort and style. The interior design reflects centuries of history in and around the castle. The rooms are furnished with antiques and fine fabrics alongside contemporary features.

A Luxury executive coach will pick you up from your chosen local pick-up. With a celebration glass of bubbly and a selection of canapés served en route, we will whisk you off through the Sussex  countryside and South Downs to this beautiful castle hotel for a delicious lunch in the historic Great Room, with its views through latticed windows over the surrounding English countryside.

We realise that ‘special places’ always come at a ‘special price’ and Amberley Castle is of course no exception, but we would like everyone to be able to afford to join us, so we have devised an easy payment plan, whereby Club-21 Members can pay an early-booking  deposit of £30 (available until 26 February 24). Auto-balance to be paid on 01 November.

Non-Members have the option of paying an early-booking  50% deposit with booking and the 50% auto-balance on 01 November 

This event is limited to a total of 39 guests, so please ensure you book your place as soon as possible if you would like to join us to this very special Castle!

Club-21 Members £130pp
Non-Members & Guests £140pp

Special payment plan available for Club-21 Members, Guests & Non-Members

What's Included?

Provisional Itinerary (with approximate times): 

0930       Coach leaves Stokes Bay, Gosport
0940      Pick-up at Lee on the Solent – seafront shops
0950       Pick up at Stubbington – Red Lion
1000       Pick up at Fareham – Peak Lane
1130       Arrive Amberley Castle, West Sussex
               Time to freshen up, a pre-lunch drink in the bar  or to explore the castle before lunch
1230       3-course Lunch with wine, coffee & mince pies served in the Great Room of the Castle
1500       Leave Amberley Castle
1630       Arrive home area

The above itinerary is provisional, but will give you an idea of the time schedule expected.
Coach seats are allocated on a first come first served basis, after Club-21 Members. Couples & friends will always be seated together. Larger parties will be seated together as far as possible. Preferred choice of area will be taken into consideration, but cannot be guaranteed.
Solent Events & Leisure reserve the right to alter the final tour itinerary as necessary if circumstances change beyond their control.
NB. Please do not ask us to pick-up or drop-off at stops not specifically listed above, as unfortunately we are unable to do so.

Amberley Castle – Over 900 Years of History in Brief  c1380
The land where Amberley Castle stands was gifted to Bishop Wilfrid in 683 AD by Caedwalla, King of Wessex. In the Domesday Book it was recorded Amberley had 17 villagers and 25 smallholders at this time.
The land then became the property of the Bishop of Chichester. The current buildings have their origins in a timber-framed hunting lodge built by Bishop Luffa of Chichester in 1103. Bishop Luffa also had the parish church built next door.
In 1140, the timber-framed building was knocked down by Bishop Seffrid I, to make way for a more elaborate stone hall. The first building here was the small hall and its Norman entrance can still be seen in reception at the entrance to the Great Room.
In approximately 1200, Bishop Seffrid II had the East Wing built.
A larger Great Hall and other domestic improvements were added by Bishop John of Langton during his time at Chichester between 1305 and 1337. It was at this time it became known as “Bishop of Chichester’s Summer Palace”.  When Bishop Reede took the throne at Chichester, he had the Great Hall knocked down and built a grander one!
In 1377, Bishop Reede applied to King Richard II for permission to crenellate the grounds and add the gatehouse and Oubliette – to ward off pirates! Many believe it was more to show off!
Permission was granted for this on 10th December 1377, and during 1377 and 1382 the work took place. The crenellations, battlements and a portcullis transformed it into a fortified manor house.
In 1526, Henry VIII visited Amberley to seek advice from Bishop Sherborne, in regards to a divorce from his Spanish wife Catherine of Arragon. With the English reformation and the now newly formed Church of England, many Church estates and religious houses were dissolved and fell into crown ownership. The estate of Amberley still belonged to the church, but was no longer used as a summer palace. Therefore, Bishop Sherborne was the last Bishop to use Amberley as a home.
During the reigns of Edward VI and Mary I, the Castle was leased to a series of tenants and the leasehold changed many times.
Elizabeth I leased the Castle between 1588 and 1603.
During the Civil War, the tenant at Amberley was a Royalist and would not pay his taxes to parliament so the Castle became a royalist strong hold. Oliver Cromwell sent General Waller to destroy the defences in 1643. 20-30 foot was lost from the Curtain Walls and the Great Hall was destroyed, thus creating a ruin. Stone from the ruins was stolen by locals and the castle fell into disrepair.
After the Civil war, Amberley Castle was seized from the Church by Parliament and sold by the office of sequester estates to Mr John Butler, a cloth merchant from London, for the grand sum of £3,341 (14 shillings and 4 dimes) which is about £230,000 in today’s money. It was Mr Butler who built the Manor house out of the ruins which had been the Great Hall, and started the transformation of Amberley Castle as we know it today.
With the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Charles II visited Amberley twice and in 1660 gave the castle back to the Bishopric. No mention of reimbursement to Mr Butler was made, however they eventually did negotiate a long lease and they continued to live at the castle for a further two generations.
The Mural in the Queen’s Room was commissioned by Sir John Briscoe, who acquired the tenancy after the Butlers. The mural has the coat of arms of Charles II on the left and Catherine of Braganza’s on the right and portrays them hunting in Arundel or Parham park. This was a tribute to Charles’ visit to the Castle and shows where the Briscoes loyalties lay, to the house of Stuart. The Briscoes were very keen to distancethemselves from the parliamentarian Butlers.
With the Small Hall being joined to the remains of the East Turret, the first floor room added was dedicated
to Charles I due to the castle’s royalist links.
In 1872, the Castle was sold by the church commissioners to Lord Zouche, owner of Parham House. He used it as a hunting lodge and then sold it onto the 15th Duke of Norfolk in 1893. The 15th Duke of Norfolk, known as ‘The Builder Duke’, also had Arundel Castle modernised and built Arundel Cathedral.
This saw a new era to Amberley. He had the stone work over the portcullis repaired and used Amberley Castle as a hunting lodge and to entertain while Arundel castle was cloaked in scaffolding for 15 years.
In 1926, the castle was bought by the Emmett family. They added the Adams Room to give a better flow to the ground floor of the manor house.
In 1945, Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) visited and stayed with her friends, the Emmett’s daughters.
In 1982, Baroness Emmett sold the Castle and with this sale, the Castle Farm and the Castle grounds were divided.
Hollis Baker then owned the castle from 1982 -1987 and reinstated the 2.5ton portcullis. After him, an American family owned the castle from 1987 to1988.
In 1988, the castle was bought by Joy and Martin Cummings. They bought it not knowing if they would get permission to convert it into a hotel but luckily won support of the villagers. The castle was converted into a hotel with the restaurant opening for trial runs in February 1989. They won many awards and built up an
international reputation.
In 2004, Amberley Castle became a member of Relais & Chateaux, an exclusive collection of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in the world with the philosophy of the 5C’s: courtesy, charm, character, calm and cuisine.
Finally, Amberley Castle was purchased by Andrew and Christina Brownsword in October 2011 and is now a member of Brownsword Hotels as part of the Gidleigh Collection.



Pumpkin Soup, Cinnamon Nutmeg, Sour Cream, Chives (v)
Wild Mushroom Soup,
Truffle Crouton
Pressing of Ham Hock Ginger Bread, Baked Apple
Sea Bass
 Celeriac, Hazelnuts, Compressed Pears, Vanilla
Smoked Salmon Mousse
 Rye Crisp, Pickled Shallots, Dill Dressing 
Herb Gnocchi, Artichoke Black Trompette, Tarragon Foam (v)


Slow Braised Rib of Beef Pomme Puree, Spinach, Wild Mushrooms
Confit Duck Leg
 Parsnip, Red Cabbage, Beetroot, Port Jus
Sea Bass
Roasted Fennel, Samphire, Crushed Potato, Champagne Sauce
Pan Fried Salmon
Black Trumpet, Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts
Parmesan Risotto
 Honey Roasted Root Vegetable (v)
Heritage Carrot
 Kale, Pistachio, Orange Jus


Amberley Castle Christmas Pudding brandy, fig, pistachio
Chocolate Mousse
Orange Parfait
 Orange Cake, Dark Chocolate Sorbet
Warm Bakewell Tart
Cardamom Ice Cream 
Vanilla Crème Brulee
 Hazelnuts, Caramel Ice Cream

Coffee, or a selection of teas & mince pies

DIETARY: Some of our food and drink may contain nuts and other allergens. When completing your booking form please ensure that you indicate any dietary requirements, as these can only be taken at time of booking.


Luscombe Sicilian Lemonade
  A classic still lemonade of sharp Sicilian lemons rounded off with an indulgent splash of Madagascan vanilla.
Luscombe Raspberry Crush  Crammed with sweet and succulent raspberries, this tongue tingling crush is bursting with fresh taste and multi award-winning zing.
Luscombe Lime Crush  Spring water, raw organic cane sugar, organic lime juice, organic Sicilian lemon juice.
Luscombe St. Clements  A classic sparkling drink made with organic Sicilian orange juice, organic Sicilian lemon juice, organic raw cane sugar, and organic lemon oil.
Luscombe Ginger Beer  The cool version, made with less of the organic ginger that we mill ourselves and a dash of organic Sicilian lemon juice

Premium Indian Tonic Water
Slim Line Tonic Water
Mediterranean Tonic
Elderflower Tonic
Aromatic Tonic
Bitter Lemon
Ginger Ale
Soda Water
Coca-Cola 200ml
Diet Coca-Cola 200ml
Sparkling | Still Water 320ml

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