South Downs National Park
Literally on the doorstep of Old Thorns, the South Downs National Park abuts the estate’s golf course. From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the park’s landscapes cover almost 1,000 sq miles of breathtaking views and hidden gems. A rich tapestry of wildlife, landscapes, tranquillity and visitor attractions, weave together a story of people and place in harmony.
This restored and remodelled medieval castle, in West Sussex, commands the landscape with magnificent views across the South Downs and the River Arun. Founded at the end of the 11th century, it has been the family home of the Dukes of Norfolk and their ancestors for nearly 1,000 years. The stunning and inspirational walled gardens have been attracting visitors since 1854.
The historic county town of Surrey, Guildford has a wealth of heritage, beautiful scenery, shops, cafes and restaurants, and a lively theatre and arts culture. This lively, picturesque town is full of shops, cafes and pubs. There’s also some lovely, scenic country walks to enjoy nearby. We respectfully suggest you utilise the excellent park-and-ride service.
Jane Austen’s House Museum
The renowned author Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life in this unpretentious 17th-century cottage, in the village of Chawton, Hampshire, from 1809 until 1817. The museum reflects the comfortable family home the Austen women created, while telling the story of their lives and Jane’s work.
This spectacular structure is a living, working building which has been at the centre of life in Chichester for nearly 1,000 years. It features a unique collection of 20th-century paintings, sculpture and glass, including a window by Marc Chagall, a painting by Graham Sutherland and 12th-century Lazarus Reliefs. Spend some time also in the historic city of Chichester and its environs, with its beautiful South Downs countryside, coastal villages and even a Rolls-Royce factory.
This 17th-century National Trust property and gardens, near Petersfield, is perched on a vantage point high on the South Downs ridge, commanding views as far south as the English Channel. The intimate gardens are being gradually restored to their original 18th-century design, with plenty of space in the adjacent meadow to play and relax with a picnic. The Georgian interiors illustrate the comfort of life ‘upstairs’, in contrast with the grim ‘downstairs’ world of the servants. There is also an award-winning exhibition which recounts the 1989 fire and the house’s subsequent restorations.
Haslemere Educational Museum
Now more than 125 years old, Haslemere Educational Museum is one of the largest natural history museums in central southern England, with more than 240,000 specimens, along with in excess of 140,000 human history artefacts from around the world. There are three large permanent galleries for geology, natural history and human history.
The Go Ape! Centre at Alice Holt Forest, near Farnham, is all about getting out, having fun, being adventurous and releasing your ‘inner Tarzan’. It is home to Go Ape’s original Tree Top Adventure – with zip-wires and Tarzan swings – adventure playgrounds and fascinating and exhilarating bike trails.
Petworth House and Park
This National Trust property comprises a large, late 17th-century mansion set in a beautiful 700-acre deer park, landscaped by Capability Brown and immortalised in paintings by JMW Turner. Some of Turner’s paintings feature inside along with works by Van Dyck, Reynolds and Blake. The picturesque market town of Petworth itself is also worth a visit because of its history – it was mentioned in the Domesday Book – and its winding, cobbled streets.
The Goodwood estate, in West Sussex, is home to the world-famous motor-racing circuit and airport, the ‘glorious’ racecourse, and the 17th-century country house, home to the Duke of Richmond. The events it hosts include the Revival meeting, the Festival of Speed, and the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Bird World is Britain’s largest bird park, with 26 acres of aviaries and landscaped gardens. It includes an aquarium – with crocodile – Jenny Wren children’s farm, and more than 150 different species of birds, several of which are critically endangered. And it’s closer than eight miles away … as the bird flies, naturally.
Hollycombe – Steam in the Country
There are plenty of rides here, but they’re far more sedate than those at the glitzy theme parks. Hollycombe has the largest traditional heritage fairground in Britain – a place where the past comes to life. From the atmosphere of the fairground, to riding on the steam railways, or wandering through the woodland gardens, there’s something for all ages.
Chessington World of Adventures
One for all the family: a theme park, zoo and Sea Life Centre, all in one place. The zoo has more than 1,000 animals, including western lowland gorillas, sea lions, and Sumatran tigers, while the attractions in the theme park include Vampire, Bubbleworks, KOBRA, Zufari: Ride into Africa and Scorpion Express.
One of the UK’s most exciting theme parks and home to many thrilling rides including THE SWARM, the UK’s first winged rollercoaster; Stealth, one of Europe’s fastest and tallest rollercoasters; Colossus, a 10-loop rollercoaster; and Nemesis Inferno, a feet-free, legs-dangling coaster experience.
This stunning waterfront development showcases 90 outlet stores and 30 restaurants, bars and cafés, a 14-screen cinema, 26-lane bowling alley, casino, and a nightclub, all the while recognising – and embracing – the history of the site, a former Royal Navy ordnance yard and shore-base, retaining as it does many buildings and features. Plus, it is also home to the impressive 170m-high Spinnaker Tower, which is one of the tallest accessible structures in the UK outside London and is visible from more than 23 miles away.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to a fabulous collection of attractions, including Henry VIII’s doomed flagship, Mary Rose; Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory – the world’s oldest, commissioned naval ship; the world’s first iron battleship, HMS Warrior; and HMS M.33, the sole remaining British veteran of the bloody Dardanelles Campaign of 1915-1916. Action Stations, located in a 19th-century boathouse, features a unique series of physical challenges, simulators and technological experiments, which put visitors at the heart of the modern naval experience. And the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth showcases treasures from the past 350 years.