Visit Petworth: Places to stay, things to do

Discover the beauty of the South Downs National Park by basing yourself on its northern fringes. Nick Peers feels himself slipping into the past as he wanders the streets of this beautiful old town


Why go there
The town of Petworth is best known for being home to Petworth House and Park – the arrangement couldn’t be cosier as the town buts right up next to this National Trust-run property. Petworth House, boasts the Trust’s largest art collection. Sadly the house is off-limits during the winter months, but you can still take a walk in the grounds and visit the shop and restaurant.
Petworth dates back to pre-Norman times, and is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque towns in Britain. The sense of history is increased by the plethora of antique shops that are scattered around its ancient streets, and you can step back in time to 1910 by visiting the Petworth Cottage Museum, which recreates a worker’s cottage from the period in every detail.
If you’re looking for outdoor pursuits, the South Downs is full of potential and on your doorstep. Particular highlights for nature lovers within easy reach of Petworth include The Mens Nature Reserve and Burton and Chingford Ponds. If you fancy heading a little further afield, the Arundel Wetlands Centre is 9 miles to the south of the town.
Where to stay
If finances permit, try The Old Railway Station, where you can get B&B from £90 per night during weekdays, or £130 per night at weekends, including rooms in converted railway carriages.
If that’s too steep, you can get B&B for just £25 per person per night at Strood Farm, which is situated just outside Petworth.
Where to eat
The Grove Inn sits on the outskirts of Petworth and offers a superb view of the South Downs to accompany your meal, along with a fine selection of real ales. Gastro pub dining is the order of the day, with a rich and varied menu on offer.
Tell us a local secret
In September 1942, 28 schoolboys, their headmaster and an assistant teacher were tragically killed when one of three German bombs aimed at Petworth House bounced off a tree and landed on the boys’ school in North Street. The house remained undamaged.
Main image: © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence