The South Downs has some of the finest historic houses in the country. If you’re planning a visit to this beautiful corner of England, here are just three of the best historic country homes you might like to call into during your stay.
Parham House and Gardens
Parham House is situated midway between Pulborough and Storrington, and is an Elizabethan home with a rich history to explore. The site was gifted to the Palmer family following the dissolution of the monasteries, but building work didn’t start until 1577. It eventually ended up in the hands of the Pearson family, who restored the sadly neglected property and opened its doors to the public. Among the many rooms you can now explore, the Long Gallery, Great Hall and Great Chamber are incredibly impressive, while a stroll around the lovingly tended gardens is the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Located just a stone’s throw from Chichester, Goodwood House sits within an impressive 12,000 acre estate and is open for tours between March and October. It was bought by the first Duke of Richmond in 1697, as a base from which he could take part in the Charlton hunt. Today the house is still owned by the Dukes of Richmond, with the present Duke having undertaken significant repair work to restore the house to its Georgian splendour. A tour is well worth it, perhaps followed off by one of the afternoon teas they’re so famous for.
The glorious Petworth House was the ancestral family seat of the Percy family for 900 years, but was gifted to the National Trust in 1947. It was expanded during the 17th century and has a 700 acre deer park designed by Capability Brown, which is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. The house has an incredible art collection which features works by Gainsborough, Turner and Van Dyck. The staterooms are designed to show off the Percy family’s wealth and status, making them the ideal home for Petworth’s many artistic treasures. You can also enjoy refreshments in the wonderful Audit Room Café, which serves a range of locally sourced foods.