4-Night South Downs Christmas & New Year Guided Walking Holiday

Winter snow scene over Hambledon and the South Downs, Hampshire, UK
Duration: 4 nights
Type: Guided Walking
Walking Grade: 1 & 2
from £799pp

Spend the festive season in the beautiful South Downs, socialising and walking in this stunning corner of England. There’s something magical about walking in winter. Whether it’s the frosty footsteps, the clear crisp air, or the breathtaking views, it’s a wonderful time to go walking. Join our festive breaks and choose from a guided walking holiday in the company of one of our knowledgeable leaders. We pull out all the stops on our festive holidays, with fabulous food, lots of seasonal entertainment and great walks and activities. The walks are tailored to the time of year and will remain flexible to suit the weather conditions. Each day three grades of walk will be offered. So wrap up warm, lace up your boots and go for an invigorating walk.

Holiday Highlights

  • Plenty of exercise to walk off the festive excesses
  • Admire panoramic sea and cliff views
  • A choice of guided walks in spectacular winter scenery
  • Let a local leader bring classic routes and offbeat areas to life
  • Relax, soak up the party atmosphere, enjoy wonderful festive fare and leave all the organising to us
  • Look out for wildlife, find secret corners and learn about the rich history
  • A relaxed pace of discovery in a sociable group keen to get some fresh air in one of England’s most beautiful walking areas
  • Cosy Country House and a special festive cheer
  • Evening activities keep the festive atmosphere going through the evening

What’s included

  • Wonderful meals – full selection at breakfast, your choice of picnic lunch, an excellent evening meal and plenty of festive treats
  • A programme of organised walks and activities
  • The services of experienced HF Holidays’ guides
  • A packed programme of evening activities offering something festive for everyone, including some old HF favourites
  • Any transport to and from the walks

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice. Some of our breaks have more than one itinerary. To check which itinerary is running on your holiday date please refer to the Dates, Prices & Trip Notes tab.

You're welcome to check in from 1pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


Option 1 - Amberley & Parham Park

Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km)

Total ascent: 450 feet (140m)

In Summary: Walk through the fields at the foot of the Downs from the picturesque village of Amberley back to Abingworth Hall, passing through the grounds of Parham House.

Highlight: Parham House is a fine Elizabethan residence, surrounded by an extensive deer park.

 

Option 2 - Amberley & The South Downs

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Total ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In Summary: Walk from Amberley beside the River Arun, then follow the South Downs Way atop the Downs as far as Kithurst Hill. From here we descend through the fields to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: Soak up the views from Rackham Hill where the panorama stretches north over the hills and woodland of the Weald, and south towards the English Channel.

 

Option 3 - Amberley & The South Downs Way

Distance: 12 miles (19km)

Total ascent: 1,150 feet (360m)

In Summary: Discover the peaceful River Arun then head along the top of the Downs following the South Downs Way as far as Barnsfarm Hill. Our route then turns north, crossing Washington Common, to return to Abingworth Hall.

Highlight: The chalk downlands are a rich habitat for wild flowers. Look out for rare orchids and Common Blue butterflies.

 


Option 1 - Hurston Place & Nutbourne Common

Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5km)

Ascent: 450 feet (140m)

In summary: We walk along the ridge to the west of the house to Hurston Place and then across West Sussex golf course to Nutbourne Common. We continue, eastwards, via West Chiltington to return to the house.

Highlight: Walking along the West Sussex Literary Trail.

Option 2 - Pulborough Brooks, Nutbourne & West Chiltington

Distance: 8½ miles (14km)

Ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: We walk along the ridge to the west of the House and continue west to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough. We then head north, across Pulborough Brooks meadows, to Pulborough village. We continue east to the villages of Nutbourne and West Chiltington, to return to the house.

Highlight: The nature reserve at Pulborough Brooks is not to be missed.

Option 3 - Pulborough and Nutbourne

Distance: 11.5 miles (18km)

Total ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In Summary: This walk travels along the ridge to the west of the house and continue west to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough – and the opportunity for refreshments. We then head north, across Pulborough Brooks meadows, to Pulborough village. We continue north eventually to reach West Chiltington and return to the house.

Highlight: Stop to enjoy the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks where sightings may include Sandpipers, Lapwing and Shoveler Ducks.


Option 1 - Thakeham, Warminghurst & Ashington

Distance: 6½ miles (10.5km)

Total Ascent: 400 feet (120m)

In Summary: We walk to the nearby village of Thakeham and then, via Warminghurst church, across fields to Ashington. We return via woodland to the House.

Highlight: The gentle stroll through the woodland at the end of the walk.

Option 2 - The Knepp Estate

Distance: 10½ miles (16.5km)

Ascent: 500 feet (140m)

In summary: Leaving the house, we make our way to the outskirts of the pretty village of Thakeham. We continue across open farmland and through woodland to reach the south western edge of the Knepp Estate. In 2001 the Knepp Estate started a re-wilding project to turn farmland back into a natural habitat. The area is now home to an astonishing variety of species including rare birds such as nightingales and turtle doves. It is also home to the UK's only wild population of white storks which come here to breed in the summer months. While walking here you may see grazing animals including Tamworth pigs, longhorn cattle and three species of deer: roe, fallow and red. We have time to explore some of Knepp's walking trails before turning for home via Warminghurst village.

Highlight: Exploring the Knepp Estate where there is a pioneering re-wilding project in progress.

Option 3 - Shipley & the Knepp Estate

Distance: 13½ miles (22km)

Ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: We leave the house and make our way to the outskirts of the pretty village of Thakeham. Continuing across open farmland and through woodland, we reach the south western edge of the Knepp Estate where a pioneering re-wildling project has been in progress since 2001. The estate is now home to a diverse range of species and is the only place in the UK where white storks nest and breed. Grazing animals you may see include Tamworth pigs, longhorn cattle and three species of deer - red, roe and fallow. We continue to the village of Shipley with its beautifully restored windmill and ancient church before exploring the eastern part of the Knepp Estate. We return to the house via Warminghurst village.

Highlight: Shipley - this historic village was first mentioned in the Domesday Book. It has a beautifully restored windmill.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Abingworth Hall

Tucked away in the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall has stood in one form another since the 13th century. Gutted by fire, it was rebuilt in 1910 in its current distinctive style. As well as 27 en-suite rooms the house has all the ingredients you need for the perfect country house stay: three comfortable lounges with squishy sofas to kick back in, the largest of which opens onto an attractive conservatory and bar in which to dally, great food and super-comfy rooms to retire to. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking here; go for a lazy amble around the wildlife rich chalk Downlands to discover a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes and vibrant market towns. Highlights of your stay might include the Seven Sisters, the Glorious Goodwood estate, the Devil’s Dyke and Chanctonbury Ring, as well as Arundel and the National Trust property at Petworth. Take your pick.

 

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the Hall’s smartly presented rooms, which make use of every nook-and-cranny in the interesting architecture of this characterful house. With 27 bedrooms, Abingworth Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Classic and Premium Rooms to choose from. Clean and bright, with accent colours to offset the simple palette, the rooms are airy and light. Premium Rooms might have a feature wall or strong print wallpaper as well as pretty tiles in the ensuite bathroom.

All ‘Classic' rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium' Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, three lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day strolling on the South Downs, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax in the large gardens and sit by the pretty pond, turn your hand to croquet or practice on the putting green. Ease through a couple of lengths of the heated outdoor pool if you’ve still got energy to burn. Hole up in the light-filled conservatory with pretty views of the gardens or retire to the Drawing Room with its wood-panelled walls, log burner, library of books to browse and comfy seats to sink in to; there’s a telescope for you to scour the night sky too. In the evening, take your seat in the bar or join fellow guests in the large ballroom for the evening activity.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Food at Abingworth Hall is varied with a strong emphasis on the use of seasonal British produce. Our experienced chefs create each dish using only the freshest ingredients and, when in season, use home grown herbs and vegetables taken from our own gardens to give a true taste of the local area.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Abingworth Hall

Abingworth_Hall_Sunny.JPG

Getting to Abingworth Hall

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner
  • Sun hat and sunscreen (we may just get lucky and have some festive sunshine!)

Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2022
23 Dec - 27 Dec 2022
4 Christmas £855 Trip Notes Book Now
30 Dec - 03 Jan 2022
4 Christmas £799 Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
4 nights
Type:
Guided Walking
Walking Grade:
1

4 nights from £799pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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