About Petworth House
Petworth House- an unexpected visit
You wouldn't expect that Petsworth, a minuscule village in the heart of England's West Sussex, would contain a spectacular 700 acres of land and the huge Petworth House - a magnificent mansion full of sculptures and paintings, featuring the works of Van Dyck, Joesph Turner and Joshua Reynolds throughout.
Historically, I have had held much disdain towards walking through posh people's houses and admiring all of the things I will never be able to afford. In truth however, I did enjoy Petworth House and it wasn't just to appease others that I recently visited.
About My Visit
Petsworth was a reasonably sized house - not one that you can get lost in - and had a surprisingly ample amount of (very friendly) staff:item ratio, which meant I could get an explanation on any of the various artefacts and sculptures I wanted.
The tour guide was more entertaining than most and included a blend of foreign accents, careful insults to the French and Scottish peoples (cleverly asking if anyone was either before the tour) and memorable facts.
The gift store was also reasonable. In fact, I was even able to make a few purchases - that were not just pens and bookmarks - which is more than I can say for most museum gift shops!
As for the contents of the house, the majority of items were intricate paintings or magincient sculptures. Since (as the tour guide informed me) the house had been reformed to be make an impression on other aristocrats, it is naturally very interesting to the public.
As well as the famous artists mentioned above, special carvings by Grinling Gibbons and Ben Hams are featured.
The Town Itself
The most striking feature of Petsworth was that everything was old. Counting a grand total of 15 antique shops (I'm sure I didn't get all of them) in this tiny town of just 3,000 people, the most contemporary feature was the local co-op (which was of course was in a really old building), the main food store in the town.
This leads me on to the next point that you must consider when going to Petworth - other than antique shops and co-op it has virtually nothing to purchase. Therefore, if you wanted to do anything other than visit the town and the House you should assume you won't be able to do it. Upon entering, I spent over half an hour searching for a phone shop to no avail. The nearest large shopping area is Chichester (about 30 mins by car).
Such a quaint location would make an ideal place for anyone that wanted to get away from large masses of people, especially youths, and be in a close-knit community instead.
For me, visiting Petworth after the busy and hectic London was a breath of fresh air and let me wind down before returning home.
For anyone that wants a relaxing time in the south of England, Petworth may well be worth a visit!