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“Exhilarated, yet Disappointed too-”

Petworth House and Park
Ranked #1 of 10 things to do in Petworth
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Step inside the imposing 17th-century mansion and discover a treasure house filled with an internationally important art and sculpture collection.
Reviewed 18 April 2014

My wife and I have visited this attraction several times over a space of almost sixty years. Although considerable improvements have been made to the advantage of National Trust paid-up Members and the general viewing public—notably opening up the Park and the Servants' Quarters—the latter an inspired decision—one today is left with the feeling that there is a decaying presence of the family, who, it seems, simply will not let go. I apologise if this seems a harsh judgement, but the overpowering disadvantage is immediately discernible to the visitor. This is not an attraction for children and young persons, when most certainly it should be. My advice to the resident Egremonts is simple: Thank you for your gift, even if financially you had no other realistic alternative, but please now let we, the Members, show your former home to its best advantage.
At the moment the Servants' Quarters and ancillary offices are a major and interesting attraction. The present Egremonts and their forbears would never have entered that area and could not possibly have appreciated the conditions imposed upon their servants.
The House, sadly, is dead. It was built to show off the paintings and sculptures collected by various members of the family, simply to show off their vanity during arranged entertainments. Today, we of course benefit immeasurably from their prescience, and it is such a satisfaction to see the paintings and sculptures displayed in the situations in which they were first exhibited.
But where is the humanity? There were many shooting and other entertaining parties held at the house. The participants were housed in bedrooms and dressing rooms. During the day they would have congregated in Library, Morning and Drawing Rooms. They would have dined most tastefully upon the best foods available that were created by the resident cooks and chefs in the house, upon the most splendid linen, silver, china, porcelain, crystal and floral ornamentation.
There is no evidence at all in the present displays of the warmth and comfort of those who lived in and visited the house. All we now have is a gallery of the most splendid paintings and sculptures arguably to be found in any English Country House or National or Municipal Gallery, but no evidence at all of anyone actually living in this house. It is devoid of life.
As a very senior National Trust Member, my advice is simple. The time has come to open up the entire ground floor of the house. Furnish it as it was when someone actually lived and entertained in the entire house. Open up the first floor and attics that were formerly occupied by family, visitors and servants.
By all means let the Egremonts have an apartment in the house: it is always good to have the heirs of donor families around. But do they ever come out and greet the public? Do they ever say hello to the children visitors? If not, why not?
Change is needed, and very soon. When will either the Egremonts or the National Trust take notice of twenty-first century developments?

3  Thank Bennett003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PetworthHouse, Manager at Petworth House and Park, responded to this reviewResponded 27 April 2014

We normally try to respond to reviews by either thanking our reviewers for their individual opinion (good and bad) or by offering an explanation for something that was not explained during their visit.
However, in this instance I don't feel an explanation of the relationship between the National Trust and the Egremont Family would be useful or pertinent. As long standing members of the N.T and repeat visitors to Petworth please do feel free to contact us more directly with your concerns.

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845 - 849 of 1,104 reviews

Reviewed 17 April 2014

Easy to find, and with plenty of car parking. It is quite a walk from the car park to the house, through very attractive grounds, but there is a free courtesy bus available, just ask.
The house is stunning, but its not, and doesn't ever seem to have been a 'home'; rather a house built to impress others, as a demonstration of "Look how much money I have". Some of the items on show seem to have been purchased by the original family not because they were beautiful, or practical, but simply just because they were expensive, a display of wealth.
The most interesting parts were the servants quarters, and kitchens/storage areas. Because these parts 'could not be seen' by the household and visitors (when the house was running I mean) food was taken by a passageway from kitchen to dining room, thus always arriving cold! Such was the price of keeping 'the staff' out of sight!
A good day out, well worth 2 visits if you are a NT member. Decent coffee, and scones as well.

2  Thank steamwolf1948
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2014

Thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Petworth House, beginning with the Servants Quarters which gives great insight into how these ordinary people kept the house running. The house itself contains many lovely pieces of art from famous painters and the 14th century chapel is fantastic. The grounds are well maintained and worth taking time to stroll around. You can leave the house, walk around the picturesque town of Petworth and then go back into the house.

Cons: Its a bit much to charge an extra £4 for parking and then charge £12.50 to see the house.

Thank Robert F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PetworthHouse, Manager at Petworth House and Park, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2014

Thank you for your great review, we are really glad you enjoyed your visit to Petworth and hope you will come and see us again !

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Reviewed 10 April 2014

It is quite a long walk from the car park to the house. The grounds are worth exploring. The National Trust Staff were pleasant and helpful. The coffee shop was very crowded and some folk could not got a seat.
The old kitchens were interesting and life in the "old days" must have been hard for the servants, especially carrying food etc from the kitchens to the main house. The main house was not as impressive as some other National Trust Properties but it is well worth a visit. There are lots of paintings and statues to view. We were told the furniture was the original as used by the occupiers of the house. We particularly liked the chapel. It would have been good if the bedrooms were available for viewing.
The grounds are massive and there is a lake.
We enjoyed visiting Petworth. Do not be put off by adverse reviews, it is worth a visit. Young children would not be very impressed; the ones we saw looked bored.

Thank chrismary1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PetworthHouse, Manager at Petworth House and Park, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2014

Thank you for your review, I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to Petworth, I think you exactly captured some of the highlights of the property in the Servants Quarters and Art Collection. I do hope you will visit again on a day when the bedrooms are open or a Thursday & Friday when we offer Snapshot tours.

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Reviewed 1 April 2014

The National Trust seem to be missing the point of visiting Historic Houses. The last thing you want to see on entering a property is signs of decay but that is exactly what greets you at Petworth-chipped radiators and doors, not to mention very chipped porcelain on display. I am sure the paintings and sculptures are all very well but when you have seen one Turner you have seem them all. And I thought Fuseli was a type of pasta not a famous artist! One cannot imagine anyone actually living in the House. Especially as the kitchens are in a completely different building across the way. The food must have been stone cold before it was served.
However, the grounds were spectacular and we thoroughly enjoyed the walk to the House from the car park. Might have been a different proposition if it was raining and the wind blowing. We also enjoyed sitting outside having a drink but the coffee was very thin and never tastes good out of a paper cup.

Thank Eleanor S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PetworthHouse, Manager at Petworth House and Park, responded to this reviewResponded 8 April 2014

I am glad you enjoyed exploring our Pleasure Grounds and Park, you visited at just the right time to see the spring flowers in bloom. I would like to try and explain about the paintwork and porcelain that you mention in your review. Interestingly an historic paint finish can be just as important and relevant as the paintings that are hanging on the walls, the techniques, shades and mediums used are worth preserving and appreciating for the future. A number of the pieces of porcelain in our collection have, way back in the past been damaged and repaired, yet kept and treasured. We don't believe that items of such decorative quality and historical relevance should be discarded simply because they have a crack or repair. It's often difficult for us to explain to our visitors why things are the way they are, thank you for highlighting two interesting topics of conversation.

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