Midhurst – an underrated tourist destination in West Sussex

Midhurst tourist destination West Sussex

Midhurst is a quiet market town in West Sussex, unassuming on the outside but a delicious delight on the inside. Many travelling to West Sussex might make a beeline straight for nearby Chichester or the coastal town of West Wittering. Both are worth visiting, but if you want a more authentic English charm, stop off in Midhurst first. An underrated tourist destination in West Sussex.

A fire in March 2023 ravaged the Angel Inn, a hotel on the high street of Midhurst and it took a number of small but popular local businesses with it. Since then, the street has been closed to traffic which poses a great challenge to the normally thriving businesses now suffering from reduced foot fall. If you head to Midhurst now, you’ll find a quieter and pedestrian only village. But whether you go sooner or later, when the street is reopened, there’s a perfect opportunity to support local businesses that greatly need a boost.

Fun Fact about Midhurst – you may notice that many of the windows in the town are painted yellow. Allegedly, this is reference to a former Lord Cowdary who was an MP for the liberal party.

  1. If you choose to visit here are 10 things you should do in Midhurst
  2. One: Visit Cowdary ruins
  3. Two: Watch the polo in Midhurst
  4. Three: Take a walk on the South Downs
  5. Four: Visit a cafe for a treat
  6. Five: Shop at the butchers, the bakers and the candle stick makers
  7. Six: Learn at Midhurst Museum
  8. Seven: Visit Petworth House
  9. Eight: Walk to a country pub
  10. Nine: Visit the Woolbedding Gardens
  11. Ten: Visit a nearby vineyard

If you choose to visit here are 10 things you should do in Midhurst

Ten things to do in Midhurst, an underrated tourist destination in West Sussex, in 2023:

One: Visit Cowdary ruins

Cowdary Ruins are the ruins of Cowdary House, a Tudor house that was destroyed by fire in 1793. Despite this, the ruins still stand today and you can walk around the perimeter. The wheat store is one of the most intact parts of the house. Entry is free and it makes a nice dog walk around the area. If you continue walking on Cowdary Estate, you will also come across the Cowdary Farm Shop.

Two: Watch the polo in Midhurst

Situated in the same estate as the ruins, is Cowdary Polo Club. The Club was founded in 1910, making it one of the oldest polo clubs in existence. Each year, Cowdary Polo Club hosts the prestigious Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup, but throughout the year there are other event here. If you happen to be passing, you might spot some polo ponies training too.

Three: Take a walk on the South Downs

Midhurst sits proudly in the South Downs, an area of incredible beauty and notable for the chalk hills. In the town, you can find the South Downs visitor centre. Here you can learn about the history and geology of the area. There are plenty of opportunities to take a walk in the region too, if you want a longer hike. Despite this, Midhurst remains an underrated tourist destination in West Sussex.

This website, Fancy Free Walks, offers a range of walks in the area.

Four: Visit a cafe for a treat

Midhurst has several excellent team rooms to choose from, depending on what you are looking for. Fitzcanes, is a a popular stop off with coffee, cake and ice-cream. Cafe Verdi, a little further up North Street offers more filling breakfast options. Further up still, Tilly’s is a proper tea room, complete with afternoon tea and all. Comestibles is a little slice of foodie heaven and a great spot for lunch, or to pick up a few preserves. Finally, Grafton’s on the Market Square, offers an excellent spot for coffee and the chance to take in some of the hubbub. The perfect outdoor seating for people watching!

Five: Shop at the butchers, the bakers and the candle stick makers

As would be fitting for a proper English town like Midhurst, you can find a butcher, a baker and a candle stick maker (or the modern day equivalent – an interiors store.)

The Midhurst Bakery is a total delight, open every day of the week and offering a selection of freshly baked bread, pastries and cakes. It also serves coffee, so you can sit out and enjoy a croissant and coffee of a morning. The butchers has all you could possibly need, including a range of BBQ meats in the summer.

But Midhurst doesn’t stop there, there’s a great selection of independent stores. This includes a wine shop, a specialist beer place and a smattering of home stores. It’s also a great destination to browse charity shops and pick up a bargain or two.

If you visit on a Wednesday and Saturday, you should also look out for Midhurst Market.

Six: Learn at Midhurst Museum

Midhurst has it’s very own Museum in the town. The small local history museum is located in the Market Square. Entry is free from Tuesday to Saturday and you can see around 10,000 objects.

Seven: Visit Petworth House

Petworth House is a Palladian style (based on the work of Italian architect Andrea Palladio) property built by Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset in the 17th century. It is now owned by the National Trust and you can visit the house and gardens. Both of which are vast! It is a short drive from Midhurst, around 20 minutes.

The gardens include a deer park (dog friendly) and a lake, as well as more formal garden. Inside the property, you can explore the lower floor and it’s many decadent rooms filled with art by the likes of John Constable. Upstairs, there are (currently) a few bedrooms open too. There is also a pleasant cafe on the grounds, housed in the former servants quarters. Entry is £18 per adult.

Eight: Walk to a country pub

There are some great pubs in Midhurst town. But, if you want a real treat of a pub, The Duke of Cumberland Arms is a stones throw away in nearby Henley, and around a 1 hour walk. The walk takes you past Cowdary Ruins and eventually joins a stunning tree lined footpath, before descending to the pub. There’s a bus back to Midhurst centre, so you don’t need to rush back!

The Duke of Cumberland Arms is famed for it’s food, being featured in the Michelin Guide. If you plan to eat, book a table. Otherwise, you can easily get a table in the terraced garden to enjoy a few drinks.

Nine: Visit the Woolbedding Gardens

Woolbedding Gardens is a national trust property near to Midhurst. There is an entry fee (£11 per adult) and the gardens are open from April to October. Two sections of garden, a formal an a landscape section are spread over 26 acres. This is definitely an underrated tourist destination in West Sussex.

Ten: Visit a nearby vineyard

The West Sussex are has plenty of wonderful vineyards. The nearest to Midhurst is Blackdown Ridge Vineyard, which is around 15 minutes drive or a 5 mile walk. The area is known for English sparkling wine, be sure to pop in and buy a bottle or two, or even better stay for a tasting and tour!

If you’re more of a beer drinker, try Langham Brewery and Tap Room. It is around a 15 minute drive from the centre of town.

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