South Downs Discovery Tour
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Meadows & hills
Our Discovery Tours really get into the heart of the countryside. These are sightseeing tours by minibus, visiting places not normally reached by a full-sized coach. Small groups and friendly leaders make this a great way to enjoy Britain at its best. Peaceful countryside, lovely landscapes of rolling downland of white chalk, pretty villages – all this and more will be captured during this holiday in Sussex and the South Downs.
The historic village of Steyning with its different types of architecture
The fascinating garden at Highdown
The Elizabethan manor house at Parham
Petworth where Capability Brown designed the rolling parkland landscape
The interesting old Norman port of Bosham
- Optional short strolls of up to 1½ miles
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- The services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
- Full-day excursions with all transport on touring days in a good-quality, comfortable mini-coach with a PA system
Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall is ideally located for a short break or a longer holiday. A peaceful ambiance and excellent facilities make it a relaxing place to stay. It offers great viewing for short or long strolls in the beautiful surrounding meadows.
Choose your room
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Single rooms available at no extra charge
• Check-in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Three comfortable lounges, the largest of which opens onto the attractive conservatory and bar
• Large ballroom
• Dining room
• Free WiFi avaliable in some public rooms
|• Range of board games and books
• Surrounded by eight acres of gardens
• Putting green and croquet lawn
• Heated outdoor swimming pool (open May to September)
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Abingworth Hall is generally accessible to wheelchair users and has a bedroom specifically designed for wheelchair access.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
During your Discovery Tour you will have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places of interest. The following is a suggested programme, but your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times or the wishes of the group.
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (1pm for premium rooms). Please join us for afternoon tea. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.
Petworth and Midhurst
Start with a walk through Petworth Park, hopefully among the deer, with a chance to visit Petworth House (National Trust). After lunch we drive through pretty villages to Midhurst, forever associated with H G Wells. Walk through the historic centre and view the fascinating and atmospheric ruins of Tudor Cowdray House.
This morning we stroll around one of the most beautiful villages in Sussex - Amberley. Time for coffee at the village café before the short 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.
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
Over the Downs
Enjoy a morning spent exploring the small town of Steyning. Nestling under the South Downs, it’s a historical treasury of buildings built over the past four centuries. Then it’s on to Devil’s Dyke, for lunch and a leisurely amble on the top of the dyke to enjoy the views as far as the Isle of Wight. Lancing College contains a magnificent chapel, leaving time to stroll around the small town of Henfield.
First stop, Littlehampton, where you can chose to take a walk alongside the River Arun on a smart new promenade to the sea. We then visit the delightful Highdown Gardens, built into a chalk quarry, followed by a visit to an unusual chapel, with a painted reproduction of the Sistine Chapel. The afternoon will be spent in Arundel, with time to visit spectacular Arundel Castle and The Collector Earl’s garden.
We visit the delightful village of Bosham on Chichester Harbour, which appears on the Bayeux Tapestry and is also associated with King Cnut. We then spend some time in Chichester where you can visit the cathedral, explore the town, walk on the town wall or even indulge in a little ‘retail therapy’. The day finishes at West Dean with the opportunity to enjoy the walled garden or take a walk on the Monarch’s Way.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
For maximum flexibility, admissions are not included; please remember to bring your National Trust or English Heritage cards if you have them. Otherwise please allow up to £10 a day for entrances (there may be concessionary and group discounts which may reduce this price).
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
Discover Sussex and the South Downs
Abingworth Hall is situated amidst gentle rolling farmland at the foot of the South Downs.
The nearest facilities are in the village of Storrington, about two miles away. Here you’ll find a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a bank.
During your stay at Abingworth Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
The quaint town of Arundel, about 30 minutes' drive away, is dominated by its castle, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. During your visit you may enjoy a walk in the Castle's extensive grounds, or beside the river Arun. www.arundelcastle.org
Completely restored after an extensive fire, this stately National Trust property has ornate rooms and gardens. Uppark is around 50 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/uppark
The cosmopolitan seaside city of Brighton is about 40 minutes' drive from Abingworth Hall and has an excellent range of specialist shops, entertainment, and its famous beach. You may also enjoy a visit to the Royal Pavilion, built in the early 19th century by George IV. www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk
Amberley Working Museum
Just 15 minutes' drive from Abingworth Hall, this large open-air museum tells the industrial story of the downs, complete with a steam railway, vintage buses and restored quarry machinery. www.amberleymuseum.co.uk
Just 10 to 15 minutes' drive away, Elizabethan Parham House is surrounded by an extensive deer park. www.parhaminsussex.co.uk
The historic cathedral city of Chichester, about 45 minutes' drive away, has plenty of interest. Just a couple of miles away is the fascinating Fishbourne Roman Palace, uncovered in 1960, which has many superb mosaics. www.chichestercathedral.org.uk or www.sussexpast.co.uk/fishbourne
A large late 17th century mansion, now run by the National Trust with extensive grounds that were landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. Around 30 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house
Weald & Downland Museum
Located on the Downs, near the village of Singleton, this excellent open-air museum contains many restored buildings that bring the history of Sussex to life. These include a working watermill and a re-creation of a typical downland village. The museum is around 45 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.wealddown.co.uk
One of Britain’s premier steam railways with an impressive collection of 50 locomotives, representing the Southern Railway and its predecessors. The line runs through rolling countryside from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead, about 40 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.bluebell-railway.co.uk
Uppark House and Petworth House image ©National Trust Images/John Miller
Travel to Abingworth
Our address is: Abingworth Hall, Storrington Road, Thakeham, West Sussex, RH20 3EF
The nearest railway station is at Pulborough. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 6 mile journey from Pulborough railway station takes approximately 15 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £14. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Abingworth Hall Manager.
From the north leave the M25 on either the A24 or the M23 and A264 to Horsham. Continue south on the A24 towards Worthing. About 5 miles south of Horsham turn right onto the A272 signposted to Billingshurst and Petersfield. After 3 miles turn onto the B2139 in the village of Coolham. After 3½ miles pass the turning for Thakeham on your left. Abingworth Hall is on the left after the Thakeham turn.
From the south take the M27 and continue on to the A27 and around Chichester. 4 miles before Arundel at Fontwell Park turn left on to the A29. After approx 4 miles at a roundabout, turn onto the A283 to Storrington. Turn right onto the A283 in Storrington. Continue through Storrington and left at the mini-roundabout at the Anchor Inn onto the B2139 towards Thakeham and Coolham. Go straight across at the next roundabout and then take a left at the Rydon Community College roundabout. Abingworth Hall is on the right, 2 miles north of Storrington.
Travelling from overseas
Abingworth is particularly convenient from London Gatwick Airport, which is served by a large range of long-haul and European flights.
From Gatwick Airport station there are trains every 30 minutes to Pulborough - journey time 40 minutes. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times. From Pulborough station complete your journey to Abingworth by taxi (see above)
London Heathrow airport is a little further away, so you'll need to travel via the centre of London. Allow 2½ hours to get to Pulborough.
After 30 years as a Transport Planner, Graham successfully retrained as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide. He is a geographer by qualification and an explorer by instinct, and frequently has a map in his hand. Graham's travels have taken him to many parts of the country, where he enjoys discovering out-of-the-way places as well as an area's better known towns and buildings. He has a particular interest in the countryside, waterways, industrial heritage and places where history happened. Graham is also an HF Holidays' walking leader and has led at more than half of the UK's Country Houses.
Audrey is widely travelled, both in the UK and worldwide, and is an experienced HF Holidays’ leader and National Trust volunteer. Living close to the New Forest, her local knowledge ranges from butterflies to badgers.
Audrey appreciates the many opportunities to explore our history, architecture, culture and customs HF Holidays’ Discovery Tours provide. She enjoys seeking out local stories, historical personalities, unusual buildings and legends that enhance the experience on a holiday.
Audrey has a range of interests including gardening, reading, walking, art, history, opera and wild flowers.
Diana was previously an IT professional working for IBM, in the UK, Africa, Belgium and the USA. She took voluntary redundancy in 2009 to take the Institute of Tourist Guides coveted 'Blue Badge' qualification. Completing the course in March 2011, she now guides throughout the South and South East of England. She enjoys taking people to icons such as Windsor Castle and Stonehenge, as well as introducing them to important habitats such as the New Forest. Her aim is to ensure that HF guests experience a professional, interesting and enjoyable holiday, discovering and exploring the region they are visiting.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person