On Monday I took three friends in the car for a day out to Petworth. It is a beautiful, vibrant and quintessential English market town which, reputedly, has more antique shops than any other town in the UK so what better place to go to source vintage and antique items for my clients and obviously a good look for myself also! It was a cloudy day with rain forecast around 2pm so we got an early start with a coffee pit stop north of Petworth at the lovely little village of Chiddingfold which has the most enormous green in the middle of it flanked by some beautiful old houses.
Then back in the car and we arrived at Petworth with an hour to spare before lunch. We found a convenient parking spot right outside the antique market and had a good wander around it; I bought a 1960s Dutch oil still life for only £50!
Petworth is full of stunning architecture and narrow cobbled streets which have some hidden treasures.
I had booked a table for lunch at The Horseguards Inn in Tillington. It's less than a minute from the centre of Petworth and it is a regular haunt of mine when I'm in the area as the food, ambience and service are superb. The village of Tillington is small but perfectly formed with quaint cottages, pretty cottage gardens, a beautiful church spire and views to die for across the Downs
The Horseguards Inn is a 350 year old pub. With rolling views down the Rother Valley, the Horse Guards got its name in the 1840s when part the household cavalry would frequent the Inn, while their horses rested on grass in the grounds of the Petworth Estate under the watchful eye of Lord Egremont. The pub is relaxed, friendly and informal with wooden tables and chairs, oak beams and stripped floorboards. In winter you can roast chestnuts on one of the open log fires or play board games at the bar.
After lunch we took a leisurely drive back to London down winding country lanes. Approaching London we decided to detour through Richmond Park and had the luck of being up close (probably too close if you take advice from the Park's website!) with a large stag!! We stopped the car, wound down the windows (he was only a few feet away) and watched him tearing at the greenery for a good feed and then he decided to saunter across the road in front of the car. What a photo opportunity !!
I love these days out in the countryside with friends. I've done three in the last two weeks and have a couple more up my sleeve for the next two weeks so watch this space. The English countryside is so gentle and green; there is nowhere I'd rather be in high summer than right here.
I'd love to hear about places near London that you would recommend for day trips so that I can add them to my bucket list.