west of Petersfield the Seven Stars (GU32 3PG) is perfect for watching the world go by. Old furniture, pictures, blackboards and books, flagstones and fires give relaxed and comfortable surroundings, and a lovely terrace and garden provide the perfect backdrop for lazy days.

Continue south east for just a few miles and you will be rewarded by the magnificence of one of the South Downs gems, Uppark House and Garden. Built on high ground above South Harting, this spectacular position commands exceptional views to the south. Built in the 17th century, Uppark has been in the care of The National Trust since 1954 and restored to its former glory after a fire in 1989.

1. John Goodyer historic home, Petersfield

The market town of Petersfield holds the unique titles of sitting wholly within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and within the boundary of the newly-created South Downs National Park.

Built around an historic square with interesting streets and buildings, Petersfield is a delightful place to shop, dine or just wander. The town boasts a wide range of boutique and individual shops together with many high street chains, as well as a superb selection of eating places from traditional English and continental coffee shops to bars and restaurants serving English, Italian and Asian cuisine.

At the centre of the square stands the statue of William III, a rare monumental memorial in England. It was cast in lead in 1753 by John Cheere, and put in its present position in 1812. It is modelled on the grand bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.

Petersfield grew up on the slightly elevated land between two streams and at the point of intersection of trade and pilgrimage routes passing from Winchester to Chichester and from London to Portsmouth. At the beginning of the 12th century the word ‘feld’ meant an open area of land without trees. The building of a church on this land dedicated to St Peter marked the beginning of Petersfield as it is known today.

The feld around St Peter’s church became known as St Petersfeld but was then changed and founded as Petersfield in 1120 by William, Earl of Gloucester, who owned the land and much of the surrounding area.

The town grew in prosperity due to its position on frequently travelled routes, local sheep farming, and cottage level manufacturing industry of leather and cloth. The town had weekly markets in the town square for sheep, horse and cattle trading, and 2 annual fairs, in June (on the feast of St Peter and St Paul) and November (on the feast of St Andrew).

The arrival of the railway in 1859 transformed the town, making the coaching trade obsolete, but bringing new commerce, new housing and an increased population. With its weekly cattle markets and horse sales, the town retained its central position and importance in the agricultural life of the community until the mid-20th century, the last cattle market taking place in 1962.

On the south east edge of the town lies ‘The Heath’, a 90 acre area of grass and heathland set around a 22 acre pond and is considered by many residents and visitors to be the jewel in Petersfield’s crown.

Seven Stars

A friendly pub-restaurant in the beautiful village of Stroud just to the

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Elegant Georgian rooms upstairs furnished with grand marbled fireplaces, shimmering chandeliers and serenely beautiful furniture contrast with the servants quarters in the basement where H G Wells’ mother was housekeeper.

Here lavish house parties were held to entertain the Prince Regent and Emma Hart, latterly Lady Hamilton, and a scandalous romance saw the Lord marry his dairymaid. “so happily placed that it is hardly possible to suggest an improvement” Humphry Repton

You can explore the long underground tunnels and kitchens with gleaming pots and pans, or marvel at the astonishing 270 year old doll’s house. There is plenty to enjoy outdoors too, with guided tours of the garden every Thursday, a woodland walk to explore, or why not bring a picnic and fly a kite in the meadow.

The East Pavilion restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy freshly baked cakes and seasonal homemade dishes, whilst the well stocked shop offers a selection of gifts, local products and produce to complete your visit.

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