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A Day in Petworth: Parks, Boutique Shops and the Best Eateries

lombard street in petworth

Petworth is a 40-minute drive from our home town and is somewhere we have visited often. It is a stunning old market town with everything you could wish for in an English country town – rich history, cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and a vibrant local culture scene with independent shops and pubs.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a shopping enthusiast, or a food connoisseur, Petworth has something to offer everyone. You could spend a day exploring its historic streets and beautiful parks and not forgetting its most famous landmark, Petworth House.

A Day in Petworth

st mary's church seen from Lombard street

For such a small town, there is quite a lot to do and if you want to fit it all in, it is best to stay for the weekend! Petworth House and Park itself is a day visit, but if you plan it right, you should be able to fit it all in.

How to Get to Petworth

petworth house
Petworth House

Like many rural towns, the best way to get to Petworth is to drive. It is around a 2-hour drive from central London, or an hour from Brighton. You can easily park at Petworth Main Town Car Park, it gets busy at weekends, but we have never had a problem finding a space.

However, we generally tend to park at Petworth House Main Car Park as we are National Trust members, so it is free.

There is no train station in Petworth, the nearest is Pulborough with buses running between the two towns. However, they are irregular so your best bet is to jump in a taxi!

Start Your Day with a Walk in Petworth Park

petworth park
Petworth Park

I would start your day with a visit to the wonderful Petwork House and Park. The Deer Park is open from 8am, so head here first. You can park at the National Trust Petworth Park car park, or North Car Park (GU28 9LS) for £3 all day, or free for National Trust members.

The Deer Park was designed by the famous landscape architect Lancelot “Capability” Brown and surrounds the House. It has 2 large ponds, fallow deer, ancient trees, beautiful views of the south downs and spans over 700 acres.

a path around a lake

There are numerous trails you can take around the park, depending on how much time you have. If you are only spending a day, I would head to the Lower Pond and follow the trail down to Petworth House, which take around 45 minutes.

Explore Petworth House

petworth house

After your walk, head over to Petworth House itself. This grand country house was handed over to the National Trust in 1947 and the Egremont family still live there to do this day. Although Petworth Park is free, it is £19 to enter the House and Pleasure Gardens.

The Grand Staircase at Petworth House
The Grand Staircase

It is renowned for its extensive art collection, including works by Turner, Van Dyck, and Blake. The interiors itself transport you back through the centuries, with rooms such as the Marble Hall, the Carved Room which features a huge painting of King Henvry VII and several Turner paintings and the impressive Grand Staircase.

an old kitchen in a manor house
The Scullery in the Servants Quarters

However, my favourite part is the old Servants Quarters. Here, over 40 servants lived and worked to provide for the main house. The corridors and adjoining rooms appear as if they haven’t been touched since the 18th and 19th centuries and I could almost hear the hustle and bustle of what would have been extremely busy kitchens.

It is an atmospheric place that is still being used today with a second hand bookstore, gift shop, and the Audit Room Cafe. Perfect for an infamous National Trust Cream tea, or a quick coffee after a morning of exploring.

Read more on our blog about Petworth House

Head Into Petworth

The entrance to Petworth House from the town
The entrance to the House from the town

I highly recommend spending a whole day at Petworth House and Park, however, it really is worth popping into the old market town itself. The House backs onto the centre of Petworth, so it is easy to access. Head to the Audit Room Cafe and then walk past the reception and out through Church Lodge Entrance.

St Mary the Virgin Church

St Mary the Virgin church in Petworth

The first thing you will notice is the church on the left as you leave Petworth House. This church is mentioned in the Domesday Book and has resided over Petworth since the 13th century. I have a real fascination with old churches, so took the chance to peek inside.

ornate roof ceiling inside a church
Inside St Mary’s Church

It is full of gothic details with large stained glass windows, memorials in the chancel and nave and a beautiful ornate ceiling – the Victorian Wagon Roof. You can really sense the history of the town inside the church and although I am not religious myself, I always find churches a soothing and contemplative experience!

Lombard Street

Lombard street in petworth

Directly opposite St Mary’s is one of Petworth’s highlights, Lombard Street. This quaint cobbled street was once the main shopping street and is still very much in use today. If you love a good antique shop, this is the place to go…

Antique Shops in Petworth

an antique shop in petworth

Petworth is known as the “Antiques capital of the south”, and with the history that comes with the town, this is no surprise. There are 37 members in the Petworth Antique & Decorative Arts Association which goes to show how deeply rooted antiques are in the town.

Chequers antiques on Lombard street

The town is home to numerous antique shops, and whether you’re a seasoned collector or just looking for a unique souvenir, you’re sure to find something special.

  • Chequers Antiques – You can’t miss this beautiful antique shop in the heart of Lombard Street.
  • Phoenix Antiques – self proclaimed cheapest antique shop in Petworth!
  • John Bird Antiques – Furniture, antique lighting and unusual items. I love browsing this shop
  • Mauly Langstone Ltd – the most beautiful shop specialising in art pieces, it feels like you are in someone’s living room
  • Anthony Short Antiques – Just off market square, covering furniture from the 18th to 20th centuries
  • Rook Antiques and Interiors – This shop has a wonderfully rustic and earthy feel
  • Petworth Antiques Market – hosting over 35 antique and decorative dealers under one roof, this is a real treasure trove full of unique pieces and a destination in its own right.
  • Augustus Brandt – Find interior inspiration in this beautifully curated shop.
  • Tallulah Fox – Specialising in Italian, French and Swedish furniture
  • Tudor Rose Antiques – situated in one of the oldest buildings, this shop has been open since 2001.

Cafes in Petworth

By now, you’re probably ready for a late lunch break! I would head to the The Hungry Guest, which is located near the Main Car Park in the courtyard of Newlands House Gallery. This charming cafe is known for its freshly baked pastries, artisanal breads, and excellent coffee and we always enjoy the all day breakfasts!

Tiffins tea rooms in petworth

Tiffins Tea Room is also a favourite of ours, with cozy decor and a welcoming vibe. The last time I visited, I stopped off for a cup of tea and some homemade carrot and coriander soup. Dogs are also welcome.

You can also try Coco Cafe & Sugar Lounge which is always busy and has a quaint courtyard, situated on Sadler’s Row. It is next door to Petworth Vintage Market which is worth a browse with decorative items and antiques.

Explore Independent Boutiques

a shop in Petworth

Beyond antiques, Petworth boasts an array of independent boutiques offering stylish clothing, jewelry, homeware, and gifts. Check out Bone Interiors on Market Square for beautiful homewares, The Hungry Guest Artisan Food Shop with its glass walled cheese room and our favourite, The Petworth Bookshop, also located in Market Square.

a book shop in petworth

Petworth is home to numerous art galleries, if this is your thing. Kevis House Gallery in Lombard Street sells contemporary artwork and regularly holds exhibitions, with their current exhibition featuring artist Chris Orr RA and his prints inspired by Japan.

Newlands House Gallery
Newlands House Gallery

Newlands House Gallery is in an impressive Grade II listed 18th century townhouse, which you’ve probably visited if you headed to the Hungry Guest Cafe. It features exhibitions of modern 20th century art, but you do have to pay to get in. You can book in advance, or get an art pass which gives you access all year round.

Petworth Cottage Museum

petworth cottage museum

The Cottage Museum, or Mrs Cumming’s Cottage is situated on the High Street and is only open from 2pm – 4.30pm so it is best to schedule a visit after you have browsed the show.

The Cottage has been restored to how it would have looked in 1910, when it was occupied by a seamstress, Mary Cummings, who worked at Petworth House. It was originally built in the 17th century as a timber framed building and contains a scullery, living room, sewing room, bedroom and attic.

Restaurants in Petworth

e street bar and grill

The town has a good number of restaurants to choose from, whether you are looking for a good old British Pub or contemporary dining. Many offer locally sourced ingredients and a quintessential English dining experience.

In Petworth itself, we have eaten in the award winning E. Street Bar & Grill which comes highly recommended. It is featured in the Michelin Guide and definitely deserves a Michelin Star!

It offers a diverse menu featuring both British and international dishes. I highly recommend the seafood platter and Chocolate Raspberry dessert. There is always a friendly welcome, cozy atmosphere and they have a mixologist who can create the perfect cocktail to go with your meal.

The Star in Petworth

If you are looking for a traditional Petworth pub, head to The Star in the heart of the town. Nothing beats eating in a pub with a real log fire and enjoying a beef roast washed down with a local ale.

the angel inn Petworth
The Angel Inn

The Angel Inn is a beautiful old coaching inn with ships beams, wooden floors and open hearth fireplaces. There is a good selection on the menu and if the weather is nice enough to sit outside, there are plenty of tables to enjoy your food.

For those craving Indian cuisine, Meghdoots Mystique Masala offers an authentic and flavorful experience. The menu features a variety of traditional Indian dishes, including curries, tandoori specialties, and vegetarian options.

The restaurant’s warm and inviting atmosphere, combined with its rich and aromatic dishes, makes it a standout choice for those looking to enjoy Indian flavors.

Finally, The Horse Guards Inn in Tillington comes highly recommended. It is a 3 minute drive from Petworth, or you can walk through Petworth Park and out through the New Lodge West entrance which will take you around 20 minutes.

They have a small and seasonal menu and a beautiful garden, the perfect way to end your day in Petworth.

Where to Stay in Petworth

a corner cottage in Petworth

Both the Angel Inn and The Horse Guards Inn offer bed & breakfast for anyone looking to extend their stay in Petworth, if you are looking for cozy interiors and a country chic feel.

Other notable Petworth accommodations include:

  • The Old Railway Station – For a unique stay, this converted Edwardian railway station is now a bed and breakfast. Guests can stay in the beautifully restored station or in one of the original Pullman railway carriages.
  • The Poolhouse – This holiday home has a private pool and garden and is perfect for a family stay. It is located on North Street, in the middle of Petworth.
  • Church Combe – This hotel is based in Tillington, a minutes walk from the Horse Guards Inn. You can walk to Petworth in 20 mins.

Petworth is a wonderful little market town that is surrounded by the beautiful South Downs, a rich history and something for everyone to enjoy. Make sure you pack your walking shoes, the perfect way to burn off all the inevitable calories you’ll be eating and explore the best of what it has to offer.

a day in petworth, parks, shops and pubs

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