On a cold March day, I left early for Petworth. It’s a place full of antique shops and one-way traffic but in the middle of the town is the beautiful house which was probably designed by William III’s architect, Daniel Marot, in 1688.

View from hill to Petworth house

Signs for Petworth House can be found in the town which is on the A272 – the A272 runs east-west from Heathfield to Winchester and can be a nightmare in the summer.

Close up of the facade

Before wandering around the Park and Lake, it’s well worth popping into the house and seeing some of the wonderful paintings many by JMW Turner – as well as the stunning carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

Wood carving of birds and flowers

The formal gardens were swept away when Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont asked Lancelot Brown to update the gardens and redesign the park between 1753 and 1765.

View from hill towards lake
View of lake

Brown also designed some garden buildings including the Ionic Rotunda. Seen from below, it symbolises the challenging and steep path to fame.

Ionic Rotunda seen from below

It’s a lovely walk around the lake

The boathouse
Dog of Alcibiades in the middle of the lake
Dog of Alcibiades

The Doric Temple is thought to have been designed by Thomas Wright who visited Petworth around 1744.

Doric Temple in the Park

History

In 1150, the manor of Petworth was given to Joscelin of Louvain by his sister, widow of Henry I. On his marriage to Agnes de Percy, Joscelin took her name. In 1682, Elizabeth Percy married Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset. They rebuilt Petworth in the Baroque style and commissioned Grinling Gibbons to create the Carved Room. Charles Wyndham, nephew of 7th Duke of Somerset and 2nd Earl of Egremont asked Lancelot Brown to update the formal gardens and redesign the park between 1753 and 1765. In 1947, the 3rd Lord Leconfield gave Petworth to the National Trust; part of the house is still lived in by Lord and Lady Egremont.

There’s a cafe and shop at Petworth.

Detail of gate
View of Ionic Temple from a distance
View down avenue from the Ionic Temple
From the Ionic Temple

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