South Downs Through a Lens

Macro Photographer in action
Duration: 8 nights
Interests: Photography Holidays

Capture the rich tapestry of the South Downs on camera. Explore and photograph both the iconic and the quirky that make our land unique. From the cottages and castles, flower-rich meadows, hills and heathland and designer gardens, unveil the true essence of this location. Our expert leader will give you the expertise you need to get the best out of your camera and that inspirational vista. During the course of each day we will walk up to a maximum of 3 miles (5km).

Holiday Highlights

  • Spend most of the day outdoors seeking out the best light and the best images
  • Small sociable group of like-minded people
  • Evenings offer opportunities for further tuition, or the chance to review the day's photographs

What’s included

  • High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
  • Guidance and tuition from a knowledgeable HF Holidays Leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
  • All essential transport to photography locations, via mini-coach or other modes of transport (e.g. boat)
  • All admissions costs, if applicable, on your holiday

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better rooms 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.


We’ll meet up for a while in the morning for some tuition and discussion, and then explore a bit of the local area on foot, including the grounds of Abingworth Hall itself and the local National Trust reserve of Sullington Warren. We’ll have time to review our photos so far later in the day.


On our first day out we’ll visit the iconic chalk cliffs where the South Downs meet the sea. The first location will be Beachy Head, and then west a little to the Seven Sisters Country Park, where a walk of a mile and bit each way gives us a view of the famous Seven Sisters cliffs


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.


Today we take a look at the urban landscape of the South Downs, starting with a trip to the historic market town of Arundel. We'll take in some views of its famous castle, as well exploring the streets and architecture. On the way back, we will also have time to visit the picturesque village of Amberley.


 

Today's outing takes us to the longest, deepest and widest dry valley in the UK - Devil's Dyke, where the Devil and his wife are said to be buried! Our return journey will take us via Bramber Castle, a Norman castle now in ruin but with fantastic panoramic views over the local countryside. We'll return to the House in good time to review our photos before dinner.


The South Downs has too many hillforts to visit each and every one of them, but today we’ll explore the largest in Sussex: Cissbury Ring, which offers commanding views over the local landscape, though it does require a climb to get the benefit of this! For a more intimate and less energetic landscape, we’ll move on to Highdown Gardens, which will provide a colourful and leisurely finale to the holiday.  Back at the House, we’ll have have chance to review our best photos from the holiday.


Depart after a leisurely breakfast.


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.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas. You must wear a face covering by law in public areas in hotels in Scotland. This is mandatory in public spaces; however, face coverings will not be required whilst eating and drinking in the restaurant and bar areas or whilst you are outside our houses. In Wales face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

Join our team after dinner on Wednesday evenings for the HF Big Pub Quiz. There will be one other evening of entertainment at the start of the week, which will vary depending on the country house that you are staying at. Our Walk Leaders will also be on hand in the bar or lounge for individual or small group walks talks briefings, which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options and ask any questions. All of our swimming pools are open, except for Glen Coe, which will not re-open this year. Swimming Pools will be operated in line with maximum capacities.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

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 Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Clean and bright, with accent colours to offset the simple palette, the rooms are airy and light. Better Rooms might have a feature wall or strong print wallpaper as well as pretty tiles in the ensuite bathroom.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ 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. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Abingworth Hall is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room, which has a giant brick fireplace at its heart, hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of local Sussex flavours. Look out for the Sussex Churdle, a traditional, meaty ploughboy lunch, local Chiddingly beef cooked with black olives and Sussex smokies, smoked haddock served in a prawn sauce. Cap it all with a Sussex Pond Pudding, a pud that’s part of the honourable tradition of British dishes with names to pique the interest more than the appetite, which is actually bright and zingy, suety and syrupy all at the same time

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

Essential Information

Essential Equipment

  • your camera and other essential accessories
  • memory card
  • battery and charger
  • your camera’s instruction manual
  • waterproof clothing and outdoor footwear, ideally walking boots
  • bag for your camera equipment, spare clothing, lunch, water, etc
  • Notebook and pencil (pencils work better in the rain!)
  • a laptop plus accessories for viewing, editing and sharing images (whilst it’s not essential, bringing your own laptop will mean you get more from your photography holiday if you shoot digital)
  • filters: neutral density and graduated, polarising will all help you achieve a wider variety of water images

Optional camera accessories (remember you will have to carry some of these)

  • spare memory cards
  • a spare camera battery
  • a spare camera (you never know!)
  • a small selection of lenses: wide angle, telephoto, macro, for example
  • memory stick or CD for storing images
  • a tripod or monopod if you feel more comfortable with one
  • camera rain-protector—a shower cap or plastic bag, or something more expensive if you prefer

Guest Reviews

Duration:
8 nights
Interests:
Photography Holidays

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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