Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville sells charms of Sussex market town Petworth to Londoners

Robert Dex
Quintessential market town: Petworth in West Sussex: Alamy

Hugh Bonneville has teamed up with businesswoman Nicola Jones to try to tempt Londoners away from the capital to West Sussex.

The Downton Abbey actor has narrated a new film extolling the virtues of the “quintessential market town” of Petworth as part of a plan to return it to its former glories.

Ms Jones, a business consultant who divides her time between West Sussex and the capital, set up a group called Petworth Vision to help promote the town as a rural retreat for Londoners wanting a break from city life.

Bonneville, who lives nearby, said: “Living in West Sussex, Petworth has always been a part of my landscape and so I was delighted to be involved with Petworth Vision, introducing our stunning, inspiring part of the world to visitors from further afield.”

Hugh Bonneville said Petworth is part of his 'landscape'

The new film was produced by Rory and Douglas Rae of Ecosse Films.

Ms Jones said she fell in love with the town more than a decade ago and has spent years working with locals in a bid to rejuvenate the town.

Businesswoman Nicola Jones to try to tempt Londoners to Petworth

“It’s a quintessential market town that 100 years ago would have been bustling with cattle in the streets and a farmers market full of people and in those days would have been a really buzzing place and so what we wanted to do was to bring back that activity,” she said.

The town, which has several award-winning pubs and restaurants, is home to one of the biggest concentrations of antiques shops in the South-East and is 10 minutes’ drive from Cowdray Park Polo Club.

Another attraction is Grade I listed Petworth House, which is home to the art collection of the 3rd Earl of Egremont and contains several works by Turner.

The manor house was used by film director Mike Leigh as one of the main locations for Mr Turner, which starred Timothy Spall as the artist.

For more information on Petworth, go to To watch the film visit this link.

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