Elbowed your way onto the tube one too many times? You can’t get much more chilled out than Petworth. This cute West Sussex town is the kind of place where everyone knows each other (and locals are super-friendly, too). It’s not massive but that’s not to say there’s nothing to do. With antique shops full of trinkets, lovely cafés and the rolling hills of the South Downs to explore, it’s the ideal retreat from London’s hustle and bustle.
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A Perfect Day in Petworth
Ease yourself into country life with a cuppa at the totally charming Tiffins Tea Room. Grab a spot at one of the pastel-coloured tables and treat yourself to a slice of one of the daily changing homemade cake specials.
With everything from zingy duck salads to mammoth falafel burgers, The Hungry Guest has all the bases covered. Don’t miss the Welsh rarebit, which you can (and should) upgrade with a fried egg. Stop by the excellent Hungry Guest shop afterwards (it’s a three-minute walk away) to stock up on tasty produce from the menu.
Petworth’s cobbled streets are home to loads of antique shops, so if you love rummaging through knick-knacks, you’re in the right place. With vintage jewellery, unique furniture and cute trinkets from more than 40 dealers, Petworth Antiques Market is a good place to start hunting.
Stroll through the Shimmings Valley to the Black Horse Inn, where you can sample beer from local Sussex breweries including the nearby Langham Brewery. You can get cosy by the roaring fire, but if it’s warm enough head to the beer garden for lovely views over the valley.
Don your walking boots and explore Petworth Park, a lush 700-acre parkland attached to National Trust-owned Petworth House. Don’t fancy snooping around the grand pile? Access the park for free through a separate entrance. As well as being a beautiful place to wander, it’s home to a whopping 700 fallow deer – move over, Richmond Park.
You won’t have to walk far to find your bed if you stay at The Angel Inn in the heart of Petworth. It was recently refurbished, but all of the building’s original features – wood beams, stone walls and welcoming fireplaces – are intact. Just watch your head: there are some particularly low door frames, but that’s part of the charm. Choose from seven cosy rooms and wake up to a breakfast of everything from smoked salmon and eggs to the full works. The kippers are an unexpected treat. After a night here, you’ll struggle to remember why you ever need to return to London. From £90 a night.