Days Out: Petworth House, West Sussex

Last year, we managed to squeeze in one last National Trust visit for the year and decided to visit Petworth for the first time.

A little bit further than our usual locations, although still only 30-45 minutes away from Brighton, we arrived on a rather rainy day. But seeing as we’re no fair-weather parents, we put our wellies and parkas on and went exploring. You’d be surprised how lovely some locations can be; even in the winter. Plus! They’re often a lot quieter too!

Based in the village of Petworth, West Sussex, the location is split into two parts. The main house and surrounding gardens, and the national park. On this day, we visited the main house, but we will definitely come back and visit the national park when it’s less rainy as, according to the map, it’s huge! I also heard there was wild deer to spot.

Arriving around lunchtime, we parked up and decided to make our way to find somewhere for lunch. There weren’t many places to eat that were under cover sadly, and the cafe was already pretty packed, so we managed to find the last bench that was under a large tree. It was actually a lovely spot as we had the old kitchens in front of us, and the smell of Christmas mince pies was a lovely accompaniment to our sandwiches!

After lunch, we went straight to the house and took a tour of the mansion. Here is where they were doing a themed tour called ‘Around the World’ which explored the history of the house and it’s links to various countries thanks to it’s previous owners love of travelling and art.

What was special about the event was that it was Christmas themed, so every room had either a light display or a beautifully decorated tree according to the country we were exploring. The most beautiful room, in my opinion, was the chapel. My photos do not do the room justice. The tree was ginormous.

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The Christmas theme didn’t end at the house. Walking across the courtyard to the old kitchens we were greeted to the smell of mince pies being baked and mulled drinks on the stove. We were even lucky enough to see them being made the same way that people from that era would have made them. We then also had the privilege of trying some too – straight out of the oven.

After exploring the kitchens and surrounding rooms, we then ventured outside again and toured the gardens. The weather had worsened whilst we were inside, so we decided on the shorter walk as T still wanted to splash in puddles despite the rain. We will definitely come back on a better day so we can do the longer walks.

Even on a gloomy day, the mansion is a stunning sight to see and is one of the very few estates still accommodated by the family. Lord and Lady Egremont still live at Petworth within the southern end of the mansion and have found a wonderful balance between allowing members of the public to explore history as well as maintain a private life.

The parts of the house that are on display are beaming with history and the cafe, as usual, has a lovely selection of cakes and a wonderful, historic atmosphere to it (although I was a little intimidated by the dozens deer heads on display!). Before leaving, we managed to squeeze in a coffee as well as a visit to the gift shop where we found some Christmas decorations.

There’s definitely more to Petworth than what we saw that day so I’m looking forward to revisiting and exploring the national park, as well as any other delights they fancy cooking up in the kitchen!

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