Each of the following Sussex Castles were built at different times but some of them have certain key similarities. The Romans and Saxons were the earliest castle-builders; they built what we would recognise as 'shore forts', during the first to third centuries. Some of these are open to the public and others are privately owned.
Amberley Castle, West Sussex
Renovated and run as a private hotel, Amberley Castle is beautifully located at the foot of the Sussex South Downs. Open for fine dining at lunch time and in the evening, it would be worth a special treat just to go and visit it. If you can afford an overnight stay, then make sure you stay up until midnight so that you can watch the two tonne Portcullis being silently lowered for the night.
This is a fantastic castle to visit. It is very big and beautifully maintained, with the owners living on site. It was built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. The oldest feature is the motte, an artificial mound, over 100 feet high from the dry moat, and constructed in 1068. Under his will, King Henry I (1068-1135) settled the Castle and lands on his second wife.
This is a wonderful example of a late Medieval moated castle. It is in superb condition and the National Trust, who own it, allow children to try on armour. Open throughout the year, except public holidays.
Constructed in about 1070, little now remains of this motte and bailey castle; however, it is in a lovely location and is a great polace for a walk and a game of hide-and-seek with the children.
Hastings Castle is one of the most famous of the Sussex castles. It was built shortly before the Battle of Hastings by William of Normandy, who was to become King of England.
Built in the mid-15th century as a family home, this stunning moated castle is open to the public from early April.
Initially built soon after 1066, (like other Sussex castles) this castle was not actually completed until about 300 years later. It is beautifully situated in the heart of the town,it is open to the public and often used as a venue for theatrical productions. Check the details of their site for wheelchair access.
Built originally in the 4th century as a Roman Saxon 'shore fort', Pevensey Castle has been adapted and added to over the centuries. During the Second World War, pillboxes and machine gun posts were added, under camouflage. An exhibition of and audio-tour tells the story of the castle.
Part of Rye Castle, Ypres Tower, is one of the oldest buildings in Rye, and was built in 1249 as part of the town's defences. From the balcony of this tower you can look down on what was once one of the largest and most important harbours in the country. There is a great museum and the whole building is open to the public.
Built on the site of a building dating back to the 14th century, Wadhurst Castle today is a private hotel and wedding venue. The current building was constructed in the Regency period and the gardens and house extensively renovated and restored since the great storm of 1987.
Top of Sussex Castles