Escape to the South Downs and become revitalised in this peaceful and relaxing part of Hampshire.
Hampshire’s South Downs - around Chawton where Jane Austen lived – has quite a different feel from the rest of the new National Park. With its steep wooded hills and hidden valleys of watercress farms, lavender fields, vineyards, hop gardens and trout-filled streams … its picture-perfect villages and peaceful market towns …this is one of the loveliest parts of rural England.
Walk, cycle or ride on horseback along the South Downs Way, which passes through Queen Elizabeth Country Park, and enjoy the wonderful, rolling countryside, described by Bill Bryson as 'some of England's finest'.
The market towns of Petersfield and Alton are ideal starting points to explore the area. Petersfield is set within the South Downs National Park area, and both towns are full of interest.
Why not stay in one of the comfortable hotels, b&bs or self-catering cottages in the area.
Discover the history of Petersfield at the local museum or visit the Flora Twort gallery with pictures of the town as it used to be. Elevated upon the South Downs, with fine panoramic views to the sea is the historic house of Uppark. Also worth a visit is Stansted Park, to see the house or for a special event, and Butser Ancient Farm. Other places of interest are the villages of Selborne, where you can visit Gilbert White's House & Garden and the Oates Collection; Jane Austen's House and the Chawton House Library in Chawton; East Meon, the source of the River Meon; Hinton Ampner Garden near Bramdean; and Buriton, home of Edward Gibbon.
A unique feature of this landscape are the hanging woods or hangers. You can walk the Hangers Way, a 21 mile path from Alton to Queen Elizabeth Country Park through Selborne, Steep and Petersfield.
Countryside and cultural events take place throughout the year in the towns and villages.
The South Downs stretches from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in Sussex, with the South Downs Way covering the 101 miles of its length.
Map & Directions
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