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“Pleasant, but a tad underwhelming”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Uppark

Certificate of Excellence
Storrington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Pleasant, but a tad underwhelming”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2013

Uppark is a pleasant-enough house and grounds to spend a couple of hours or so, but it does not seem to compare quite so well with other similar National Trust properties.

The house is beautifully situated on top of the Downs commanding magnificent views to the south towards Chichester Harbour, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, and some lovely grounds and gardens surround it, especially at this time of the year with spring flowers starting to make their mark. As with many a house styled in the Georgian period with an emphasis on symmetry, it is flanked by two smart pavilions, originally serving as stables and kitchens to the house but the latter serving appropriately as the visitor restaurant and the National Trust shop.

The house itself is fairly small (by stately-home standards) and this quickly become evident as the rooms fill up very quickly with visitors, making the visit at times less than comfortable. What compounds this situation is that the house opens to the public at a relatively late hour (12:30pm) by which time there are plenty of people waiting for the doors to open.

The rooms in the house are very fine with some wonderful pieces of art in each room and all decorated beautifully, generally in the Georgian style. The servants’ areas in the basement are also very interesting and are well presented. The first floor rooms are not open to the public, being the private apartments of the family who still live at Uppark.

When viewing the house, what immediately becomes clear is the woeful lack of information; in each room, there is a board with a little information about the room plus some leaflets explaining minimal information about the paintings of furniture, but there are precious few of these, and it is consequently difficult to put the house or individual rooms into historical context.

What would overcome this deficiency is a good guidebook. On our visit, we purchased one before entering the house; asking for a guidebook, we were offered one type of book, a fairly large formal book for £5.50. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but this book was a poor companion to viewing the house: much of the first half of the book is written as a long history of the family as much as of the house, all intertwined together so it was very difficult to find such basic details, such as when the house was originally built. It was less of a guidebook, rather a book about the history or the house and family. (the second half of the guide did have sections on individual rooms, but again it was not easy to use when viewing the house)

It was only later that we discovered that there was a smaller more informal guidebook that wasn’t offered to us but which would have been a much more appropriate purchase for viewing the house. In addition, the copy I had (and I suspect all the others on display) had clearly been exposed to water as all the pages were in poor quality (with hindsight, I should have returned it and asked for another copy).

What this house is perhaps most famous for is the fire that almost destroyed it in 1989. Since then, it has meticulously been rebuilt to as close as possible to its original state. When the fire broke out in 1989, the house was open and both National Trust staff and visitors helped to rescue as much of the furniture, artwork and wall coverings as possible, and what you see in the house now is pretty much as it was before the fire. There is an interesting display and film in one of the rooms in the basement that explores the fire and the rebuilding efforts and which really allows you to appreciate the work that was done on restoring the house.

In summary, Uppark does have its merits: it's a lovely house with some stunning views, all set in some beautiful Sussex Downland. However, I'd recommend that you plan your trip well but not going at weekends or public holidays as its lack of size means that you will be swamped by other visitors and you cannot really appreciate the house. Also be aware that there is a lack of information around that would otherwise help to put the house in some sort of historical context.

Visited April 2013
1 Thank Stuart J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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331 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Remarkable !”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 27, 2013

Remarakable because in 1989 this place practicualry burn to the ground and now it looks as though it has been standing untouched for centuries ! Apart from the obvious scarring (which is intentionally shown) a visitor would never have known the tradgedy that had taken place. It was lovely that each room had a very knowledgable and friendly guide (apart from one who barked (yes barked) at my friend for trying to take a photo - OK he missed the sign saying "no photography" but a polite whisper would have been preferable to a public telling off ! The guides were very knoweldgeable and eager to share that - we loved hearing the stories and history o this freezing cold day in March.

The only down side was the overly expensive resturant and very small portions offered, I usually find National Trust restuarants to be value for money - yes we enjoyed our lunch very much but felt slightly cheated by the prices. This is why I oculd only five the property 4 * and not 5.

Visited March 2013
Thank sussexfella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
101 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“What a fantastic restoration”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2013

We went into Uppark on the way back from Petworth House. What a super place, the restoration after the fire that almost destroyed it back in 1989 is a testament to the Family, National Trust, craftsmen and volunteers. You could not tell that there had been a fire. We will go back again to see the house, but this time, also do a walk of the grounds. It was so bitterly cold and windy today. PS the cakes in the tearoom are yummy.

Thank MartynR61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haslemere, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
61 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“History and great scenery”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2012

Cared for by the National Trust and the family who still reside there, this charming house is well worth a visit. Set on high ground with spectacular views towards the coast and with knowledgeable guides to help you make the most of your visit.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank Skeets21551
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hayling Island, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Very interesting stately home”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 22, 2012

Well worth the visit and fascinating to learn all about the fire and how they dealt with it. Great dolls house there too.

1 Thank LindaLighthouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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