South Downs Discovery Tour 2023

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4, 5 or 8 Days / 3, 4 or 7 Nights
Availability : June and September
Start: Abingworth Hall, Thakeham, West Sussex, England
End: Abingworth Hall, Thakeham, West Sussex, England
South Downs Discovery Tour: 3, 4 or 7 nights based at Abingworth Hall, Thakeham, West Sussex

Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca to book.

eaceful countryside, a backdrop of rolling chalk hills and beautiful gardens make the South Downs an enchanting area to explore. Discover the historic town of Arundel with its iconic castle, walk in Petworth Park to see its large herd of fallow deer and explore the Elizabethan manor house and gardens at Parham. An exploration of picture-postcard Amberley delights with its quaint cottages and sleepy charm while a visit to Bignor Roman Villa reveals the area’s ancient history. There’s also time to explore Chichester – a city founded in Roman times – and the chance to learn more about Amberley’s Museum & Heritage Centre.

Tour Details

Highlights:

  • Explore the Roman city of Chichester
  • Discover the mighty Arundel Castle, founded in 1067
  • See the large herds of deer in Petworth Park
  • Visit the picturesque village of Bosham in Chichester Harbour
  • Enjoy the floral displays of West Dean Gardens

Pick Up Location & TIme

Abingworth Hall, Storrington Road, Thakeham, West Sussex, RH20 3EF (Google Map)
4:00pm – You’re welcome to check into the country house hotel from 4pm onwards.

Drop off Location & Time

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way onward.

Price Includes

  • High quality en-suite upgraded accommodation at Abingworth Hall
  • Excellent food in our country house, full board (B,L,D daily)
  • The services of our knowledgeable leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • Full-day excursions with all transport on touring days in a good-quality, comfortable mini-coach

Meals

All meals from dinner on arrival day, to breakfast on departure day
  • breakfasts
  • lunches
  • dinners
  • 1 tea

Price Excludes

  • Airfare
  • Transfers
  • Pre / Post hotel nights
  • Travel to/from the Country Hotel (The nearest railway station is Pulborough)
  • Admissions (please allow approx. £10 per day for entrances)
  • Driver / Tour Leader gratuity is at your discretion
  • Travel Insurance
What to Expect

Unpack Once!

Explore places of interest, beauty, heritage and wonder. Enjoy active guided sightseeing on relaxed-pace trips to revel in the history, landscapes, architecture and culture of your chosen destination. Our knowledgeable leaders will provide fascinating detail to bring it all to life. Travel between locations by mini-coach or public transport following a carefully planned itinerary.

  • Accommodation at a country house hotel
  • Full Board Meals – from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day
  • Knowledgeable leader
  • Transport between locations
3 Nights Itinerary

Day 1Arrival Day

You’re welcome to check in from 4pm onwards where you’ll have a complimentary cream tea to tuck in to. (D, T)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 2Petworth & Midhurst

Start with a gentle walk through Petworth Park, hopefully seeing some of the large herd of fallow deer which live here, with the option of visiting Petworth House (National Trust). After lunch we drive through pretty villages to Midhurst, forever associated with HG Wells; he attended Midhurst Grammar School firstly as a pupil and latterly as a teacher. He also briefly worked in the town’s chemist shop and lived above a sweet shop in the town. The town featured under the name of ‘Wimblehurst’ in The Invisible Man. We shall walk through the historic centre to see some of its most characterful old buildings. Look out for ones whose woodwork is painted dark yellow, a shade known locally as ‘Gold Cup’. This colour denotes properties which belong to the Cowdray Estate; the 1st Viscount Cowdray was connected with the Liberal Party – the party’s colour is yellow. We’ll also visit the atmospheric ruins of Cowdray House – a large Tudor mansion which was all but destroyed by fire in 1793. The kitchen tower is the only part of the mansion which stayed intact. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I stayed at Cowdray House during its heyday. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 3Sussex Villages

This morning we stroll around one of the most beautiful villages in Sussex – Amberley. This sleepy village has many picturesque thatched cottages complete with classic cottage gardens growing a selection of traditional cottage garden flowers. In summer, many of the streets are lined with blooming hollyhocks which add to the village’s charm. There is a small pottery, a 900 year old Grade 1 listed church and an equally ancient castle, now a luxury hotel. There’s time for a coffee at the village tea rooms before the short journey to Bignor Roman Villa, which has some of the finest mosaics in Britain. We spend the afternoon at the fascinating Elizabethan Parham House, exploring the house and extensive gardens. The surrounding deer park is home to around 350 fallow deer which have been bred to have dark coats rather than the more usual pale ones. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 4Departure Day

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. (B)

4 Nights Itinerary

Day 1Arrival Day

You’re welcome to check in from 4pm onwards where you’ll have a complimentary cream tea to tuck in to. (D, T)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 2Brighton

This morning we’ll be heading off for a day in Brighton. We’ll begin with a visit to the Royal Pavilion, remodelled in Indian style as a seaside palace for King George IV when he was Prince Regent, and then you’ll have plenty of free time to explore. You might want to wander along the promenade of Brighton Beach, soak up some history at the Brighton Museum, or pop your head into the city’s more unusual boutiques in North Laine. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 3Amberley & Arundel

Enjoy a morning spent exploring the Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre, which is dedicated to the industrial heritage of the south east. The afternoon will be spent in Arundel, with time to visit spectacular Arundel Castle and The Collector Earl’s garden. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 4Around Chichester

Our day starts with a visit to the pretty village of Bosham which overlooks one of the small inlets of Chichester harbour. A short distance away is the city of Chichester which was founded by the Romans. Its most obvious feature is the 12th century gothic-style cathedral which we’ll visit for a tour; its 61-foot spire can be seen for miles around. There are many historic buildings in the city and the remains of the city walls which were built in Roman times. The city’s Roman heritage is one of the many features of the Novium Museum whose 500,000 exhibits include the remains of some Roman baths and the burial possessions of the ‘Mystery Warrior’ – an Iron Age man who was buried in Chichester. From Chichester we will travel to the nearby West Dean Gardens. These wonderful gardens date back to 1622 but much of what we see today was created in the 1800s. The gardens come complete with Victorian glasshouses, a 300-foot Edwardian pergola, a walled kitchen garden and a sunken garden. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 5Departure Day

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. (B)

7 Nights Itinerary

Day 1Arrival Day

You’re welcome to check in from 4pm onwards where you’ll have a complimentary cream tea to tuck in to. (D, T)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 2Petworth & Midhurst

Start with a gentle walk through Petworth Park, hopefully seeing some of the large herd of fallow deer which live here, with the option of visiting Petworth House (National Trust). After lunch we drive through pretty villages to Midhurst, forever associated with HG Wells; he attended Midhurst Grammar School firstly as a pupil and latterly as a teacher. He also briefly worked in the town’s chemist shop and lived above a sweet shop in the town. The town featured under the name of ‘Wimblehurst’ in The Invisible Man. We shall walk through the historic centre to see some of its most characterful old buildings. Look out for ones whose woodwork is painted dark yellow, a shade known locally as ‘Gold Cup’. This colour denotes properties which belong to the Cowdray Estate; the 1st Viscount Cowdray was connected with the Liberal Party – the party’s colour is yellow. We’ll also visit the atmospheric ruins of Cowdray House – a large Tudor mansion which was all but destroyed by fire in 1793. The kitchen tower is the only part of the mansion which stayed intact. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I stayed at Cowdray House during its heyday. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 3Sussex Villages

This morning we stroll around one of the most beautiful villages in Sussex – Amberley. This sleepy village has many picturesque thatched cottages complete with classic cottage gardens growing a selection of traditional cottage garden flowers. In summer, many of the streets are lined with blooming hollyhocks which add to the village’s charm. There is a small pottery, a 900 year old Grade 1 listed church and an equally ancient castle, now a luxury hotel. There’s time for a coffee at the village tea rooms before the short journey to Bignor Roman Villa, which has some of the finest mosaics in Britain. We spend the afternoon at the fascinating Elizabethan Parham House, exploring the house and extensive gardens. The surrounding deer park is home to around 350 fallow deer which have been bred to have dark coats rather than the more usual pale ones. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 4Free day

A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 5Brighton

This morning we’ll be heading off for a day in Brighton. We’ll begin with a visit to the Royal Pavilion, remodelled in Indian style as a seaside palace for King George IV when he was Prince Regent, and then you’ll have plenty of free time to explore. You might want to wander along the promenade of Brighton Beach, soak up some history at the Brighton Museum, or pop your head into the city’s more unusual boutiques in North Laine. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 6Amberley & Arundel

Enjoy a morning spent exploring the Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre, which is dedicated to the industrial heritage of the south east. The afternoon will be spent in Arundel, with time to visit spectacular Arundel Castle and The Collector Earl’s garden. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 7Around Chichester

Our day starts with a visit to the pretty village of Bosham which overlooks one of the small inlets of Chichester harbour. A short distance away is the city of Chichester which was founded by the Romans. Its most obvious feature is the 12th century gothic-style cathedral which we’ll visit for a tour; its 61-foot spire can be seen for miles around. There are many historic buildings in the city and the remains of the city walls which were built in Roman times. The city’s Roman heritage is one of the many features of the Novium Museum whose 500,000 exhibits include the remains of some Roman baths and the burial possessions of the ‘Mystery Warrior’ – an Iron Age man who was buried in Chichester. From Chichester we will travel to the nearby West Dean Gardens. These wonderful gardens date back to 1622 but much of what we see today was created in the 1800s. The gardens come complete with Victorian glasshouses, a 300-foot Edwardian pergola, a walled kitchen garden and a sunken garden. (B, L, D)

Accommodation: Abingworth Hall

Day 8Departure Day

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. (B)

Dates and Prices
3 night package
Departure Dates
Per person (single or twin) Single in a double room
2023: June 2 $1,090 $1,210
4 night package
Departure Dates
Per person (single or twin) Single in a double room
2023: June 5 $1,430 $1,590
2023: September 4 $1,430 $1,590
7 night package
Departure Dates
Per person (single or twin) Single in a double room
2023: June 2 $2,450 $2,730

Pricing

Pricing is per person (pp) based on single/twin/double occupancy.

Supplement applied for single in a double room.

Rates are in $ CAD. Rates include room upgrade (better) and membership fees. 


Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca to book.

Ask us for the best available pricing for your dates & choice of airline. We can assist in your travel to/from the Country House.

During your Discovery Tour you’ll have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places. The following is our provisional programme, and your leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times, or other events. This holiday includes active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet.

Most admissions to places of interest are not included. Please allow up to £10 per day for admissions to all the places of interest we will be visiting. The full adult price is given but there are usually good reductions for parties and seniors. If you are a member of the National Trust, English Heritage or similar, remember to bring your card for free admission to their properties. Please bring cash as card machines are not always available at all venues.

Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.

Travel Details:
Address is: Abingworth Hall, Storrington Road, Thakeham, West Sussex, RH20 3EF

By Rail:
The nearest railway station to Abingworth Hall is Pulborough. Please note that Pulborough station has a short platform, check the departure boards for which carriage to sit in.

By Taxi:
The 6-mile journey from Pulborough railway station takes approximately 15 minutes. Please try to avoid arriving at Pulborough station between 2.45pm and 3.20pm, as there may not be taxis available for your onward journey to Abingworth Hall due to school pick-ups. You can pre-book a taxi from our recommended taxi company, MJ Cars. The price for a 4-seat taxi is around £16. 8-seat taxis are also available at a higher rate. Please pre-book your taxi at least 7 days in advance by contacting:

MJ Cars*
Tel: +44 (0)1903 745414
Email: mjcars@btconnect.com
The return journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Abingworth Hall Manager.
*MJ Cars is not owned or managed by us.

By Car:
From the M25 take either the A24 or the M23 and then the A264 towards Horsham. At the Great Daux roundabout go south on the A24 towards Worthing. Go straight over 2 roundabouts and then at the traffic light cross roads turn right onto the A272 signposted to Billingshurst and Petersfield. After 3 miles turn left onto the B2139 (The Selsey Arms on left). After 3.5 miles pass the turning for Thakeham on the left. After half a mile, Abingworth Hall is on the left, directly after the national speed limit signs.

From the M27 continue onto the A27 and around Chichester. At Fontwell Park roundabout take the first exit to continue on the A27 and at the next roundabout take the first exit on to the A29. After approx. 4 miles, at a roundabout, take the 2nd exit on to the B2139 to Storrington. At the mini roundabout in Storrington, take the 2nd exit onto the A283. Continue through Storrington and take the first exit at the mini roundabout by the Anchor Inn on to the B2139 towards Thakeham. Take the 2nd exit at the next mini roundabout and then take the 1st exit at next mini roundabout (by Steyning Grammar School). Continue down this road until you see 30mph signs. Abingworth Hall is just before these signs, on the right.

Hotel Descriptions
4

Abingworth Hall

Tucked away in the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall has stood in one form another since the 13th century. Gutted by fire, it was rebuilt in 1910 in its current distinctive style. As well as 27 ensuite rooms the house has all the ingredients you need for the perfect country house stay: three comfortable lounges with squishy sofas to kick back in, the largest of which opens onto an attractive conservatory and bar in which to dally, great food and super-comfy rooms to retire to. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking here; go for a lazy amble around the wildlife rich chalk Downlands to discover a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes and vibrant market towns. Highlights of your stay might include the Seven Sisters, the Glorious Goodwood estate, the Devil’s Dyke and Chantonbury Ring, as well as Arundel and the National Trust property at Petworth. Take your pick.

Address: Abingworth Hall, Storrington Road, Thakeham, West Sussex, RH20 3EF

Room Amenities: Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the Hall’s smartly presented rooms, which make use of every nook-and-cranny in the interesting architecture of this characterful house. With 27 bedrooms, Abingworth Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Clean and bright, with accent colours to offset the simple palette, the rooms are airy and light. Better Rooms might have a feature wall or strong print wallpaper as well as pretty tiles in the ensuite bathroom.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers.

Hotel Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, three lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day strolling on the South Downs, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax in the large gardens and sit by the pretty pond, turn your hand to croquet or practice on the putting green. Ease through a couple of lengths of the heated outdoor pool if you’ve still got energy to burn. Hole up in the light-filled conservatory with pretty views of the gardens or retire to the Drawing Room with its wood-panelled walls, log burner, library of books to browse and comfy seats to sink in to; there’s a telescope for you to scour the night sky too. In the evening, take your seat in the bar or join fellow guests in the large ballroom for the evening activity.

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