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Things to do in Petersfield

PUBLISHED: 13:29 24 November 2015 | UPDATED: 13:29 24 November 2015

Just four miles away from bustling Petersfield you can take time out and enjoy all that Queen Elizabeth Country Park offers

Just four miles away from bustling Petersfield you can take time out and enjoy all that Queen Elizabeth Country Park offers

Archant

With museums and Michelin star restaurants all within a hop, skip and a jump from the glorious South Downs… Petersfield is the perfect place for an overnight break, says Claire Pitcher

Open spaces

Just four miles away from bustling Petersfield you can take time out and enjoy all that Queen Elizabeth Country Park offers. With over 2,000 acres of open access woodland and downland you can take your pick from short or long trails for walking, plus there are special cycle routes. For the little ones, there is the Tots Play Area close to the Visitor Centre and an Adventure Play Trail for those over eight. After all that activity, there’s even a café at the top of Butser Hill, open from 10am.

For a full list of activities and events at the park, go online to hants.gov.uk/countryside/qecp

Pick up some produce

If you’re visiting on the weekend, then you’re sure to notice the hustle and bustle happening in the Market Square on the first Sunday of the month. Petersfield’s Farmers’ Market attracts keen shoppers from miles around who are ready to support their local producers. Just some of the stallholders you’ll find include Beechcroft Lamb, Beef & Pork, Blackmoor Estate, Bubble&, Hambledon Wineries and Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers. Open from 10am to 2pm, the next dates are November 1 and December 6.

Find out more about the markets at hampshirefarmersmarkets.co.uk

Dine in style

JSW, short for Jake Saul Watkins, is just one of the town’s great restaurants. Others being Turkish restaurant, Fez (01730 231266), Monoloco (01730 266119) and Annie Jones (01730 266119). The building is just as interesting as the dishes, being a 17th century former coaching inn. There are old beams, a well, a cellar (stocked with 900 wine choices) and three tunnels to other buildings in the ancient town including one to a past nunnery, a surprising, hidden entente cordiale between inn and nuns.

Chef Jake has a Michelin star for his food and firmly believes in using British seasonal ingredients, including fish sourced from the nearby Solent, lamb, beef and pork from Cumbria, the vegetables and soft fruit sourced locally.

Diners can take their pick from a set, two choice menu at lunch or dinner. Try the famous grouse or the lamb ‘spag boll’, and for dessert, the milk chocolate ganache.

Find the full menu at jswrestaurant.com and book a table on 01730 262030

Gorgeous gardens

A must see on a visit to Petersfield is the Physic Garden, a private hideaway which is open to the public for free. It’s a green oasis in the centre of town, created in a 17th century style with distinct parts laid out for different purposes. Physic gardens are so called because of the plants grown in them, which were considered to contain medicinal properties. As well as very formal herb beds, planted with such things as Woad (Isatis tinctoria), Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) and Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), there is a topiary walk, a knot garden, an informal orchard with wild flowers and a rose arch. The 17th century was also a time when many plants were introduced from the New World, so there are also borders planted with shrubs, roses and herbaceous plants.

The garden is open daily over the winter months, from 9am until to 4pm. While you’re there you can buy some plants, homemade jams and Christmas cards.

Find out more online at www.petersfieldphysicgarden.org.uk

Stay

Just seven minutes from the centre of Petersfield and you’re at the pretty village of Langrish. Langrish House is a lovely hotel with 13 bedrooms and a fabulous restaurant. Owners Nigel and Robina are the seventh generation of the Talbot-Ponsonby family. Enjoy a stay at this historic destination, nestled in a landscape of extraordinary beauty, in the heart of the South Downs National Park. Indulge yourselves in the award winning, fine dining restaurant, Frederick’s. Prices start at £120 a night, including breakfast.

Book online at www.langrishhouse.co.uk or call 01730 266941

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