7 Night South Downs Discovery Tour

Abingworth - Local Area - Arundel Castle - AdobeStock_152434790.jpeg
Duration: 7 nights
Interests: Discovery tours
from £1,299pp

A 7-night South Downs Discovery Tour gives you wildlife-spotting opportunities in Petworth Park, plus a visit to Parham House to admire grand floral displays. Elsewhere, you can visit natural wonders such as Devil’s Dyke, enjoy the bucket-and-spade charms of Brighton, and stop by the Roman-founded city of Chichester. But the real showstopper is Amberley Museum. This huge open-air homage to the region’s industrial past has vintage vehicles, traditional craft exhibitions, and even a narrow-gauge railway ride.

What you’ll love

  • Exploring the Roman city of Chichester
  • Spending time by the seaside in Brighton
  • Wildlife-spotting in Petworth Park
  • Visiting Devil’s Dyke
  • Discovering Sussex’s industrial heritage at the Amberley Museum

What’s included

  • Entrance to Cowdray House Ruins
  • Comfortable en-suite accommodation in our country house 
  • Cream tea on arrival day 
  • Cooked or continental breakfast every morning 
  • Daily packed lunches 
  • Three-course evening meals, plus tea & coffee 
  • Guided sightseeing with an experienced HF Holidays Leader 
  • All transport to and from sites of interest  
  • Easy-to-follow routes, maps, and information in our Discovery Point if you want to explore independently 

    Please note - Entrance fees are not included.

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards. Enjoy a complimentary cream tea on arrival.


We begin with a visit to Petworth House, home to one of the finest art collections in the care of the National Trust, before taking a gentle walk through Petworth Park to see the large herd of fallow deer which live here. After lunch we continue to Midhurst, forever associated with HG Wells, who both went to school and then taught at Midhurst Grammar School. There will be time to explore the historic centre to see some of its most characterful old buildings. Look out for the ones with woodwork painted dark yellow, a shade known locally as 'Gold Cup', denoting properties belonging to the Cowdray Estate. We'll also visit the atmospheric ruins of Cowdray House - a large Tudor mansion whose guests included Henry VIII and Elizabeth I during its heyday. It was all but destroyed by fire in 1793 and the kitchen tower is the only part of the mansion which remained intact.


This morning we visit picturesque Steyning, dating back to Anglo-Saxon times when it was a port on the River Adur. Home to an impressive Norman church, timber-framed buildings and Georgian townhouses, we’ll make a walking tour of the town with a chance to visit the museum and the independent shops at Cobblestone Walk. There's time for refreshments in one of the tea rooms before the journey to Bignor Roman Villa, which has some of the finest mosaics in Britain. We spend the afternoon at the fascinating Elizabethan Parham House, exploring the house and extensive gardens. The surrounding deer park is home to around 350 fallow deer which have been bred to have dark coats rather than the more usual pale ones.


Discover more about Abingworth Hall and the local area for ideas on how to make the most of your free day.


Today we head to the famous seaside resort of Brighton, made popular as a watering hole for London high society in the 18th century. There’s the opportunity to visit the Royal Pavilion, remodelled in Indian style as a seaside palace for King George IV when he was Prince Regent, before wandering along the promenade or Brighton’s Palace Pier. This afternoon we venture inland to explore Devil’s Dyke, the longest, deepest and widest ‘dry valley’ in the UK, where we can enjoy spectacular views over the South Downs and to the sea.


Enjoy a morning exploring Amberley Museum, set in a former chalk quarry and dedicated to the industrial heritage of England’s south-east. There are over 40 exhibit areas to discover, including a narrow-gauge railway, restored buses, rural crafts and trades, and historic communications. The afternoon will be spent in Arundel, with time to visit spectacular Arundel Castle and the formal Collector Earl’s garden, Arundel Cathedral or perhaps explore Swanbourne Lake.


Our day starts in Chichester, founded by the Romans who built its city walls and featuring the 12th century gothic-style cathedral; its 61-foot spire can be seen for miles around. There are many historic buildings in the city and its Roman heritage is one of the many features of the Novium Museum, whose 500,000 exhibits include the remains of Roman baths and the burial possessions of the 'Mystery Warrior' – an Iron Age man who was buried in Chichester. From here we will travel to nearby West Dean, where you have the choice of visiting either West Dean Gardens or Weald & Downland Living Museum. West Dean Gardens date back to 1622 but much of what we see today was created in the 1800s, with Victorian glasshouses, a 300-foot Edwardian pergola, a walled kitchen garden and a sunken garden. Weald & Downland Living Museum is perhaps most famous for being the place where they film The Repair Shop. It has a rich variety of working buildings, historic rural vehicles, displays of past domestic life and furnishings, and examples of period gardens. We end the day with a scenic drive back to Abingworth Hall.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Abingworth Hall

Country living just got cosier at this former farmhouse. Abingworth Hall is just a skip away from the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs – a landscape of ancient woodland, hidden valleys, chalky cliffs, and high-backed hills so deserving of its national park status finally bestowed in 2010. While the views from the doorstep are as wow-worthy as you’d expect, the walking opportunities around the sightseeing greats such as Devil’s Dyke, Seven Sisters Country Park, Kingley Vale, Parham House, and the Clayton Windmills (known locally as Jack and Jill) are equally standout. You’ll also be within easy driving distance of several historic towns and cities, most fabulously Arundel, Chichester, and Brighton.   

 

Rooms

Designed with your comfort in mind, Abingworth Hall has 27 well-appointed guest rooms available in two categories: Classic and Premium. 

Classic Rooms are comfortable en-suite guest rooms, ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, and shower gel), and a TV. 

Premium Rooms are more spacious en-suite guest rooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses. 

We love: The Premium Rooms for views of the impossibly pretty surrounds. 

The Choose Your Room service is available at our UK country houses, allowing you the option of choosing and confirming a specific room for an extra charge of £30 per room. This is subject to availability. Upgrade supplements apply. 

Check in & check out
You are welcome to check in from 4:00pm at the earliest. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a complimentary cream tea and get to meet your fellow guests, our HF Holidays Leaders, and the rest of the friendly team.  

On the day of departure, we kindly ask all guests to check out by 10:00am. You’ll be asked to settle your bill prior to leaving. You may, of course, make a charitable donation to our HF Holidays Pathways Fund if you wish. Please note that we only accept card payments.  

Room supplements

Premium single Premium double/twin Choose your room
£20 pppn £20 pppn £30 per room

About your stay

A warm welcome
We want you to feel comfortable from the moment you arrive. You’ll find a welcome pack in your room with guest registration forms, menus, order forms for dinners and picnic lunches, the Wi-Fi password, and the front door code. Our houses are locked at night, so we recommend noting the Duty Manager’s number on arrival in case of an emergency (or getting locked out). 

Evening entertainment
While evening entertainment varies from house to house, the HF Holidays Big Pub Quiz held after dinner on Wednesdays is a weekly staple. Your HF Holidays Leader may be around for tips on guided and self-guided walking routes as well as visit-worthy local attractions. 

Walks talks 
Our HF Holidays Leaders host guided walking information briefings before dinner on arrival days. This is followed by a group Walks Talk for information on the following day’s walking delights (held before dinner every evening). Self-guided walking guests are, of course, welcome.  

The walking day
Prior to setting off on walks, your HF Holidays Leader will run you through a short safety briefing. There’s also an up-to-date weather forecast on display at the house to ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear. If you choose to do your own walks or are on a self-guided walking holiday, we ask that you please complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house. 

Food & drink

Led by experienced chefs, we serve a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We always aim to source the best produce available and use home-grown herbs and vegetables from our own gardens whenever possible. Additionally, we have a licensed bar with beers, soft drinks, and a superb selection of spirits. Full-board comes as standard and includes a cream tea on arrival and a hearty breakfast on departure day.

HF Holidays understands the importance of managing allergens effectively to ensure food is safe for guests with food allergies. Whilst we are always able to confidently inform guests which allergens are present in our ingredients and dishes, we are unable to guarantee absolute freedom from the 14 main allergens in our kitchens. Vegetarian and vegan menu choices are available. If you have allergies, food intolerances, or any special dietary requirements, please inform our reservation team at the time of booking.

Accessibility

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

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Getting to Abingworth Hall

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

More Information

Address

Abingworth Hall
Storrington Road
Thakeham
West Sussex RH20 3EF

Tel: +44 (0)1798 813636

By train

The nearest station is Pulborough.  

Pulborough station has a short platform, so you’ll need to check the departure boards for which carriage to sit in.  

National Rail have up-to-date routes and train times. 

By taxi

The six-mile journey from Pulborough railway station takes about 15 minutes.  

It’s best to avoid arriving at Pulborough station between 2:50pm and 3:20pm as there may not be any taxis available due to school pick-ups.

For pricing, please contact the taxi company directly.

MJ Cars
You can pre-book a taxi from with MJ Cars*. We recommend booking your taxi at least seven days in advance by contacting: 

Tel: +44 (0)1903 745414
Email: mjcars@btconnect.com

A return journey can be arranged on your behalf by the HF Holidays House Manager at Abingworth Hall.

*MJ Cars is not owned or managed by HF Holidays.

Sue's Private Hire
You can pre-book a taxi with Sue's Private Hire* by phone, text or email. Please pre-book asap as there are no taxis based at Pulborough Station. Your journey will be mostly with a lady driver and an electric car.

Tel: +44 (0)1798 874848 / +44 (0)7918 137066
Email:- sueph520@yahoo.com

*Sue's Private Hire is not owned or managed by HF Holidays and prices are subject to change

By car

From the M25  
Take either the A24 or the M23 and then the A264 towards Horsham. At the Great Daux roundabout go south on the A24 towards Worthing. Go straight over two roundabouts and then at the traffic lights turn right onto the A272 to Billingshurst and Petersfield. After three miles turn left onto the B2139. Abingworth Hall is approximately four miles from this junction on the left hand side (go past Abingworth Meadows and Thakeham Pre-School). 

From the M27  
Continue onto the A27 around Chichester. At the second roundabout take the first exit on to the A29, then the second exit on to the B2139 to Storrington. At the mini roundabout, take the second exit onto the A283. Continue through Storrington then turn onto the B2139 towards Thakeham. Take the second exit at the next mini roundabout, then the first exit. Continue down this road until you reach Abingworth Hall on the right.  

By air

The nearest airport is Gatwick Airport. 

The easiest way to get from Gatwick Airport to Abingworth Hall is by taxi, a 29-mile journey taking around 40 minutes. 

The UK has a famously unpredictable climate so it's best to be prepared for weather that’s sunny one minute and raining the next.  To make it easier, here’s a list of items you should consider packing.  

Essentials 

  • Suitable, sturdy footwear with a good grip. You’ll be on your feet for much of the day
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof overtrousers 
  • Sunhat
  • Rucksack 
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity) 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Mobile phone
  • UV sunglasses 

Recommended 

  • First aid kit, including plasters
  • Sit mat  
  • Waterproof pouch for valuables 
  • Rubbish bag (remember to always leave no trace) 
  • Wallet/purse 

Optional extras

  • Walking poles,
  • Flask for hot drinks 
  • Durable lunch box 
  • Waterproof rucksack liner 

Please note

Admission fees are payable locally and aren’t included in your holiday price, apart from what is stated in the what’s included section. This gives you greater choice, freedom, and flexibility to only pay the entrance fees for the attractions that interest you most. Should you choose to visit all the highlighted attractions during your holiday please see the table below for the approximate totals. If you have National Trust (NT), English Heritage (EH) or Historic Houses (HH) membership, please be sure to bring your membership identification with you.

2024 prices

Approx. cost of entrance fees

3 night holiday

4 night holiday

7 night holiday

HH & NT members

£24

£111.70

£135.70

NT members

£39.50

£111.70

£151.20

HH members

£41

£111.70

£152.70

No memberships

£56.50

£111.70

£168.20

Abingworth Hall Calendar

  • Guided Walking
  • Self-Guided Walking
  • Special Interests
  • Unavailable to Book

Mike Craze

Mike is a qualified Blue Badge Tourist Guide and has been guiding on the south coast of England since 2005. He’s a big fan of leading our HF Holidays guests and sharing the hidden history of all the best local buildings and landmarks with a bit of added fun and trivia, too. Mike loves the South Down’s mix of countryside, grand houses, historic castles, cathedral cities, and seaside resorts. He particularly enjoys a stroll through the deer parks of the South Down’s numerous stately homes or an ice cream along the prom at Brighton.

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take an alternative route, or vary the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.


Holiday prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

11 Oct - 18 Oct 2024

7 nights

Discovery Tour

Single from

£1,299

Double from

£1,299 pp

from

£1,299 pp

from

£1,299

Trip Notes
Book Now
Duration:
7 nights
Interests:
Discovery tours

7 nights from £1,299pp

or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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