Things to do in the South Downs

The South Downs National Park – the name alone conjures images of gloriously green rolling hills and wide expanses of sky, and maybe the chance to get stuck into outdoor pursuits?

There is a wealth of walking and cycling trails to explore, some of the most spectacular views to track down and a variety of habitats to discover including chalk downland which the National Park Authority is working hard, along with partners, to protect and preserve. Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself to the famous (and challenging!) South Downs Way, spend a few days rambling the Downs, or cycling some of the varied terrain, there’s no excuses for staying inside.

The attractions to be explored within the National Park reflect the history of the land and the people who have shaped it, from Roman Villas to historic Castles and country estates. Discover a rich heritage in our rural museums. It might surprise you to find a thriving centre for culture and the arts in the countryside, but there's a much to uncover with galleries dotted throughout Petworth including Newlands House Gallery which hosts exhibitions worthy of a national audience. 

During school holidays, find family friendly trails and activities at Petworth House & Park, Weald & Downland Living Museum. Arundel Wetlands Centre and Amberley Museum.

Garden lovers are spoilt for choice which a variety of destinations to lose themselves in, from impressive working glasshouses and a 100ft pergola at West Dean Gardens or the contrasting natural and contemporary features of Woolbeding Gardens to Denman’s Garden, the horticulturalist’s heaven where visitors are encouraged to sit and take it all in.

In addition to fantastic cycling and walking trails, those who are eternally working on their swing have plentiful chances to get in a round of golf on courses boasting beautiful scenery. To top it all off there’s world famous Goodwood Racecourse, often lauded as the most stunning course in the UK, which hosts 19 race days, the most well-known being the Qatar Goodwood Festival each summer.

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