Petersfield is a historic market town, (a Norman new town) in the heart of the East Hampshire South Downs National Park. The town is easily reached via fast trains from London Waterloo, and in the centre you’ll find an interesting selection of museums and heritage sites including the Flora Twort Museum and the Petersfield Museum. Take a tour of the Norman St Peter’s church and the Physic Garden. The town is also well served by a selection of fine inns, restaurants and cafes, alongside some impressive theatre, music and arts venues. A tourist information centre is within The County Library on The Square and Petersfield has ample greenspace including a 22 acre Heath Pond surrounded by 69 acres of woodland and heath. Spectacular South Downs beauty spots surround Petersfield including Butser Hill to the south and Hill Brow to the north east.
Shopping & Markets
Petersfield is famed for its independent shopping scene and brimming with unique jewellery, antique, book and gift shops, chocolate shops and more. Shops, inns and cafes are set around The Square with a statue of King William III. The Square is also the venue for twice weekly markets on Saturdays and Wednesdays, and a Farmers’ Market on the first Sunday of every month. Petersfield holds a variety of themed markets and festivities throughout the year. Over August Bank Holiday weekend the Petersfield Festivities feature ad hoc performances from local organisations, a street market and children’s activities. During the evening live music and an outdoor bar provide the entertainment. At Christmas The Square is transformed into a skating rink and there’s a Christmas market, performance stage, street performers, amusement rides, children’s activities, an outdoor Christmas cafe and Christmas garden market. The regular Saturday Market and the final Sunday Hampshire Farmers’ Market bring the celebrations to an end just before Christmas.
Museums & Attractions
Petersfield has a charming selection of museums. A good starting point is Petersfield Museum housed with the old Magistrates Court. Inside are exhibitions on local history, a selection of historic costumes and an interesting selection of work by local artist Flora Twort. View more artwork by Flora Twort at the Flora Twort Gallery. The gallery also holds the historic Bedales costume collection. Entertainment venue Festival Hall hosts year round dance, drama and music performances. Petersfield also offers easy access to the South Downs’ largest country park – Queen Elizabeth Country Park. Fascinating historic sites within easy reach include Jane Austen’s House Museum at nearby Chawton and Gilbert White’s House & the Oates Collection at nearby Selborne.
Festivals & Events
A major event in Petersfield’s calendar is the annual Petersfield Local Food Festival. It takes place over a weekend in the summer and celebrates all that is good about local food and its producers. Around 100 stalls provide a huge choice of local produce, and there are live demonstrations from local chefs as well as live music. Many of the restaurants in the town take part in the Restaurant Trail where you can sample seasonal offerings and special offers during the Food Festival.
The Petersfield Musical Festival has a history stretching back over 100 years. Hosted by Petersfield Festival Hall over eight days in March, it centres around two choral concerts in which choirs from the area combine to perform classic works from the choral repertoire. The Petersfield Orchestra provides the music and celebrity performers are the star attraction. There are also Youth Concerts that involve local school choirs.