Within commuting distance of London, Guildford, Winchester, Chichester and Portsmouth, this leafy historic market town is a great place to bring up children. It is also ideally situated for exploring the South Downs and countless other country walks and pubs. Small enough to maintain a community feel, and yet large enough to have a broad selection of high street stores, Petersfield boasts great schools, and a great arts scene. Beyond the town, you'll find many unspoilt downland villages in rolling hills.
A little bit of history
Petersfield dates from the 12th Century when it was founded by William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucestershire. Weekly markets and two annual fairs, including the Taro Fair in October, saw the trading of live stock. A Taro Fair still takes places in Petersfield today, the only difference being that nowadays it's thrill rides and candy floss on offer, not cows, chickens and sheep.
You can step back in time when you discover Petersfield's older homes in The Spain, Dragon Street and College Street. Find out more about Petersfield's rich history at The Petersfield Museum. More recent history saw the building of The Herne Farm Development which boasts excellently proportioned family homes of all sizes.
Need to know
The English painter Flora Twort specialized in watercolours and pastels depicting Petersfield scenes and people. Her work is still on display in a gallery in the cottage that was her home. Petersfield is twinned with Barentin in France and Warendorf in Germany.
The pedestrianised Rams Walk shopping area offers a Waitrose, independent shops such as the charming One Tree Books and high street favourites such as New Look and Accessorize. There is also a large Tescos and M&S Food shop. There are also a plethora of independent shops to explore, including health food shop The Bran Tub, Morgan's butchers and fishmongers and Roswel's newsagents where the dog-friendly owners will give your four-legged friends a dog treat to reward Sunday morning walks to get the papers. Petersfield's historic market in The Square still offers a fruit and veg market on Wednesdays and Saturdays and a Farmers' Market the first Sunday of the month. Most years will see a fun-filled Christmas market and late night opening too.