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7 great things to do in Petworth this Spring

Have you visited Petworth? Arguably one of the prettiest historic towns in West Sussex. It’s crammed full of indie eateries, antique shops and boutique places to stay. Muddy had a nose about.

Petworth Park in Spring. Image: John Miller

1. Visit Petworth House

Petworth is the perfect blend of history, culture and shopping and the market town originally developed around the needs of the great Petworth House, (above), with it’s fine art, baroque architecture and a 700-acre deer park. The jewel in the crown, now in the care of the National Trust, was once a simple Manor House in Tudor times, but was reimagined in a baroque style inspired by Versailles by Charles Seymour the 6th Duke of Somerset. It has an important fine art collection including landscapes and seascapes by Turner and by Constable, and portraits by Van Dyck and Holbein no less.

2. Peruse some fine antiques and interior pieces

Steeped in history, Petworth has been voted Best Antiques Town in the UK and one of the most prestigious experts is Augustus Brandt. Housing top-end fine period antiques, quirky vintage objects and one-off statement pieces it’s the perfect place if you are looking for something truly special.

Augustus Brandt

Amongst the curated pieces you might find are 18th Century furniture and British & European mid-century pieces to give your home the wow factor. They also have their own collection of stylish bespoke and custom-made furniture & lighting which delightfully complement and balance statement pieces.

The Antiques Market

More of a rummager? Then visit Petworth Antiques Market (above), this treasure trove hosts 35 antiques and decorative dealers, experts in their specialist field and happy to help you find that special piece. Its a brilliant way to while away the hours on a rainy day.

3. Sample some Sussex wine

When in West Sussex one should support the local economy and we’re all about celebrating great British wine! There are over 50 vineyards in the South Downs area and as a natural sun trap it has become the centre of wine production in the UK. You can find varieties of white, rose and sparkling wine in the area, which often draws comparison to the French region of Champagne. You can sample many of the local wines on menus of restaurants and pubs nearby, but also many of the vineyards offer tastings. Within a few miles of Petworth you can find Upperton VineyardRoebuck EstatesStopham and Wiston Estate Winery (below), which all offer tours.

4. Gourmet shopping

Passionate about seasonal, locally available, fresh and artisanal food? You simply must visit the Hungry Guest, the deli that puts the market back into a market town. Twice winner of UK Delicatessen of the Year, they work with carefully selected growers and producers to provide an epic food experience.

An artisan food brand producing, sourcing and selling great food to customers they are mindful where food comes from. Their like-minded suppliers and farmers employ sustainable practices and are sensitive to their environmental footprint. In the food shop, bakery, fishmongers and butchery, they celebrate small scale producers and the goodness of fresh food. Pop in for a coffee and pastry or stock up on scrummy Sussex supplies to take home.

5. Explore the South Downs

Now to walk off those indulgences there are plenty of choices to get fresh air in and around Petworth! Explore the rolling hills of the South Downs to spot wildlife or visit manicured lawns and perfectly landscaped gardens of the nearby stately homes. Whether you are a cyclist, rambler or simply like a stroll with the dog, there are some great routes here. Or park in town for one of our favourites ideal for the family and muddy mutt (about two hours depending on your pace). Approximate start postcode GU28 0AE – park in the Petworth car park in town or opposite the Angel (see below).

Petworth Park

6. Immerse yourself in art

Within a few miles of town you can find historic art from Royal Academicians and contemporary pieces from international artists and everything in between. There are also a number of galleries selling unique pieces for your home so that you can take a piece of Petworth’s art scene home with you. One of the most stylish is the modern and contemporary gallery Newlands House, (above) that occupies an 18th century townhouse in the centre of town. 

Helmut Newton Print at the Newlands House Gallery

Comprising 12 rooms spread over 7,500 sq. ft. the gallery hosts world class exhibitions of internationally leading modern and contemporary art. Exhibitions to date have included Helmut Newton, Ron Arad, Joan Miró and Sean Scully and currently exhibiting Julian Opie. Other galleries worth a gander are The Dragon, Rountree TryonKevis House and Forest

7. Eat out

Private Dining at E. Street Bar & Grill

After all that fresh air, shopping and culture you deserve a slap-up meal and where better than the chic and inviting E. Street Bar & Grill. Set in a restored 17th century heritage building, this airy, stylish space is perfect for casual dining or special occasions. Drop in for an impromptu dinner, enjoy a cocktail on the outdoor patio should the weather permit, or book a private dining spaces for a party or a wedding.

Want to stay a little longer?

Who can blame you. If you are staying for several days why not explore further afield – the ruins of Tudor manor at Cowdray Park, Weald & Downland Museum & Arundel are all close by. There are a number of beautiful places to rest your weary head in town;

The Angel Inn

A gorgeous historic coaching inn with elegant bedrooms in the heart of town, the Angel has been a place where friends and travellers to join together for good food and company since the 1700’s. Today, it offers an elevated country pub stay with cosy fires in the winter, alfresco dining all year round in the heated garden tent and comfortable bedrooms with luxe interiors. It’s dog-friendly too, they are a big part of the community so four legged friends are very welcome here. Visit Pup and Away for more recommendations of dog walks in the area.

Ryde House & East Street

A bedroom at Ryde House

Prefer more independence? Just across the road from E. Street and a short stroll from the Angel is is Ryde House, a charming Regency Villa that offers families, groups and couples somewhere chic to stay. With seriously stylish accommodation for 6 people, a living room, kitchen and patio garden.

Another great option is East House, a gorgeous two storey apartment which maintains period features and 18th century charm. With three lavishly decorated bedrooms, a large self-catering open plan living space and marble bathrooms the perfect living space to host a dinner party.

Have you discovered any hidden gems in Petworth? Let us know in comments.

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