South Downs

East Hampshire

Type:Towns & Villages

Walking in the South Downs


Escape to the South Downs and become revitalised in this peaceful and relaxing part of Hampshire.

Hampshire’s South Downs has quite a different feel from the rest of the new National Park. With its steep wooded hills and hidden valleys of watercress farms, lavender fields, vineyards, hop gardens and trout-filled streams, its picture-perfect villages and peaceful market towns. This is one of the loveliest parts of rural England.

Walk, cycle or ride on horseback along the South Downs Way, which passes through Queen Elizabeth Country Park, and enjoy the wonderful, rolling countryside, described by Bill Bryson as 'some of England's finest'.

Discover things to do in the South Downs

The market towns of Petersfield and Alton are ideal starting points to explore the area. Petersfield is set within the South Downs National Park area, and both towns are full of interest.

Why not stay in one of the comfortable hotels, b&bs or self-catering cottages in the area.

Discover the history of Petersfield at the local museum or visit the Flora Twort gallery with pictures of the town as it used to be. Elevated upon the South Downs, with fine panoramic views to the sea is the historic house of Uppark. Also worth a visit is Stansted Park, to see the house or for a special event, and Butser Ancient Farm. Other places of interest are the villages of Selborne, where you can visit Gilbert White's House & Garden and the Oates Collection; Jane Austen's House and the Chawton House Library in Chawton; East Meon, the source of the River Meon; Hinton Ampner Garden near Bramdean; and Buriton, home of Edward Gibbon.

A unique feature of this landscape are the hanging woods or hangers. You can walk the Hangers Way, a 21 mile path from Alton to Queen Elizabeth Country Park through Selborne, Steep and Petersfield.

Countryside and cultural events take place throughout the year in the towns and villages.

The South Downs stretches from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in Sussex, with the South Downs Way covering the 101 miles of its length.

Find out more about the South Downs and things to do

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Map & Directions

What's Nearby

  1. Edward Thomas circular walk

    A 4 mile circular walk with stunning views of the South Downs

    1.73 miles away
  2. Petersfield Museum and Art Gallery

    Situated at the foot of the South Downs, Petersfield Museum tells the story of…

    2.27 miles away
  3. Buriton Literary Walk Inspired by W H Hudson

    This walk starts in the village of Buriton and explores parts of the South Downs National…

    3.42 miles away
  1. Queen Elizabeth Country Park

    With over 2,000 acres of downland and woodland, Queen Elizabeth Country Park is the ideal…

    4.29 miles away
  2. Sky Park Farm

    Experience life on a working deer farm, explore the farm trail, adventure playground and…

    4.32 miles away
  3. Gilbert White's House & Gardens

    Historic house and garden, home of Gilbert White, author of 'The Natural History of…

    5.47 miles away
  4. Butser Ancient Farm

    Butser Ancient Farm, nestled within the Southdowns National Park, is a wonderful outdoor…

    5.9 miles away
  5. Lavender Fields

    Growing and harvesting lavender, used to produce a wide range of products. Essential…

    6.79 miles away
  6. Old Thorns Championship Golf Course

    Old Thorns magnificent championship golf course ranges across the rolling hills of the…

    7.28 miles away
  7. Chawton House

    Chawton House Library is an internationally respected research library with a unique…

    7.35 miles away
  8. Jane Austen’s House

    Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, Hampshire is the picturesque country cottage where Jane…

    7.73 miles away
  9. Jane Austen Circular Walk

    Come and discover the beautiful countryside that inspired Jane Austen and take a peek…

    7.74 miles away
  10. Flora Thompson Circular Walk

    Flora Thompson, of Lark Rise and Candleford fame, inspired this circular walk on Weavers…

    7.78 miles away
  11. Curtis Museum

    The Curtis Museum in Alton is home to one of the finest local history collections in…

    8.84 miles away
  12. Stansted Park

    Stansted Park is home to stunning weddings, forest walks, afternoon teas and some of the…

    9.58 miles away
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