An introduction to Petworth House and Park

The West Front of the Petworth mansion from the Pleasure Ground

Spanning 900 years of history and passing through just one family, Petworth House was built as an English 'Versailles' to rival the palaces of Europe in the 17th century.

Petworth House and Servants' Quarters

Petworth House is renowned as a champion of art and culture, and major works by the likes of Titian, van Dyck, Reynolds and Flaxman adorn the state rooms of this English 'Versailles'.

What makes Petworth truly unique is the merging of its art and interiors. Many of the owners of Petworth House were collectors of fine art and these works remain on display here at Petworth as the centrepiece of your visit.

Carved Room at Petworth House

Far more than an art gallery, you'll be hard-pushed to find anywhere in the National Trust that combines a staggering collection of world class art with the magnificent interiors of the Carved Room and Grand Staircase, rooms that are befitting of a palace.

The Grand Staircase of Petworth House

Not your average country house, the family line remains unbroken and descendants still live at Petworth House. Their bedrooms and those of their guests as well as any domestic furniture remain in the private side of Petworth House. Instead it is the art, the grandeur of the rooms and the stories of the collectors that take centre stage.

The painting and sculpture today are laid out in a likeness similar to when the third Earl of Egremont (1751-1837) lived at Petworth, during a time that became known as Petworth's 'Golden Age'. During this period countless artists, including English Romantic painter JMW Turner, were invited to Petworth to take inspiration from the collection and the surrounding landscape and could also discus art there with like-minded contemporaries.

Though the rooms might seem overcrowded by our standards, believe it or not, this design and the merging of sculpture and painting, chosen by the third Earl, was revolutionary at the time. As you wander these state rooms today, you are seeing them just as visitors like Turner did over 200 years ago.

The Molyneux Globe in the North Gallery at Petwoth House

On your visit step inside the third Earl's purpose built North Gallery, the culmination of his patronage of the arts, and marvel at some of the best British art of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Inside you'll also find treasures like an early manuscript of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and the earliest English terrestrial globe in existence.

The Historic Kitchen in the Servants' Quarters at Petworth House and Park

The Servants’ Quarters by contrast to the grandeur of Petworth House offer a glimpse of life ‘below stairs’. Imagine the hustle and bustle of servant life in the Historic Kitchens and myriad ancillary rooms. Look out for our costumed interpretation team on select days as they bring history to life.

Petworth Park and Pleasure Ground

The magnificence of Petworth House is powerfully linked with the vast Capability Brown landscaped Deer Park. There are over 700 acres of rolling hills to explore with giant ponds that offer moments of peace and serenity with still reflections.

Fighting Bucks, JWM Turner, 1829

Enjoy far reaching views of the South Downs and discover the views that inspired JMW Turner's watercolours of Petworth Park, many of which are on display in the House.

Rotunda with freshly cut grass in the Pleasure Grounds

Roam the grounds and you will come across an historic herd of fallow deer as well as ancient and veteran trees, some of which are nearly 1,000 years old. You can also discover idyllic Capability Brown monuments such as the Ionic Rotunda and Doric Temple that add drama to the views you encounter.