During our stay at the lovely family campsite, Upper Parsonage Farm, we headed ten minutes away into the market town of Petersfield in the east of Hampshire. It’s set in the glorious countryside and is described by the tourism board Visit Petersfield as “the gateway to the South Downs National Park”.

Welcome to Petersfield

Welcome to the ancient market town of Petersfield, set in glorious countryside and described as the Gateway to the South Downs National Park.

Formerly an important coaching centre on the London to Portsmouth road, Petersfield is a great place to live, work and have fun. In the centre of town, enjoy the lively town square with its regular weekly markets and regular festivals. Visit the recently re-imagined Petersfield Museum, the Physic Garden and the Norman church of St Peter’s. There is plenty of theatre, music, art and sport, and the town and its satellite villages are blessed with great pubs, cafes and restaurants. 

Petersfield is the perfect base for a walking or cycling weekend or holiday being surrounded by a pretty network of lanes and superb public footpaths giving visitors access to beautiful and varied unspoilt countryside in every direction.


We parked up at the heath pond car park for free, and walked along the lakeside which has a lovely woodland walk and along a boardwalk with all the birds nesting and surrounding the area. The Heath is considered to be the local crown jewel by many, with the area reaching some 69 acres of land together with a 22-acre lake.

🚗🅿️Heath pond car park – 139 Sussex Rd, Petersfield GU31 4LB

🛤️ The town also has a train station to head in.

Petersfield boats

We rented a boat (£10 per half hour), we tried the rowboat first, but dad struggled with the flow so we went for a pedalo instead which the kids loved. Pleasingly, we spotted that another dad and son straight after us also struggled with it and decided to swap for the pedalo as well, so clearly not an uncommon struggle! We had a fun time heading around a little bird-nestling island on the lake, and taking in all the sunshine. https://www.petersfieldboats.co.uk

The Plump Duck ice creams

After a ‘very physical’ pedalo session on the lake, we decided to treat ourselves to a well-deserved ice cream from The Plump Duck. The shop is right on the waterfront, in front of the boat rental spot, so we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy a 99er in the sun.

There’s also a great playground right by The Plump Duck, as well as plenty of beaches to sit and enjoy the views, making it an ideal picnic spot. Equally, if the water doesn’t tickle your fancy, going for a walk around the lake itself is lovely.

Petersfield town centre

We walked a few minutes to get into the town centre, which is pack-full of lovely independent shops, cafes, etc. as well as the Saturday market where we grabbed some South African biltong from a friendly stall holder. The town centre is also very photogenic with all its old and colorful buildings.

Some of the cafes we were recommended but didn’t manage to try as they were too busy were…

🍴Chinwags in the Folly Market (sandwiches, jacket potatoes…)

🍴The Natural Deli (an amazing brunch and lunch – mainly vegetarian/health food, and so delicious!)

🍴Madeline’s (a deli-inspired eatery. Great for lunch – sandwiches, salads…)

We then headed to Petersfield Open Air Swimming Pool, we booked in for a two-hour session, adults cost £7.70 and kids cost £5 and the pool is heated… well, so they say! It was still a tad chilly but we did warm up after swimming around enough, haha! We had great fun on the diving board.

Alternatively, if you’re not keen on a swim, there is also a nice garden to visit (for free) called Petersfield Physic Garden. 

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