Soak up the Autumnal wonders of Queen Elizabeth Country Park

Queen Elizabeth Country Park’s visitor centre is open again, having had a £1.2 million refurbishment

Oct 1 2019

Autumnal Wonders - QECP

It now boasts state of the art décor and facilities to accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors, cyclists and dog walkers enjoying the great outdoors in this beautiful part of the South Downs National Park.

The original building was designed by Casson Conder (who famously designed the Elephant House at London Zoo) and was opened in 1977 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. This large-scale refurbishment has brought to life the 70s architecture, while making it a space people can enjoy and relax in. Changes include an entirely fresh, new look and reconfigured space housing a reception area, shop, toilets and event space to hire. The new, light-filled Beechwood Kitchen can seat more people indoors and out, and offers tasty, locally sourced food and drink. Think hearty breakfasts, vibrant salad bowls, deli sandwiches and home baked cakes. Visitors can watch their food being freshly prepared through the open kitchen.

Park Manager, Tim Speller, said: “On arrival to the park our visitors are now greeted with a welcoming place to come and look inside and explore what's on offer, while elsewhere there is new signage to help walkers and cyclists plan their adventures. I am absolutely thrilled with how the visitor centre now looks. We are already seeing many more people popping in to use the new visitor centre and talk to staff. I hope to welcome many more new visitors over the coming months as we prepare for our Autumn and Christmas events.”

Find visitor information, what’s on and more on our website.

Park improvements

Overall, the park has undergone £2 million of improvements, over the last two years, under the County Council’s Country Parks transformation project. This is aimed at encouraging more visitors to come to this beautiful country park more often, and to stay longer, to help make sure it can be financially self-sustaining for future generations to enjoy.

They include a new assault course, which opened in December 2017. The free facility is part of the Armed Forces Covenant funded Forts and Fleets project, together with a new dog agility course, adventure play area and an outdoor community space with its own pizza oven. The community space allows large groups of people to come together and enjoy all the benefits that being outdoors can bring. It can be reserved by anyone in the community for a charge of £50 for a six-hour slot, which includes a basket of wood to cook with and cooking utensils. The space is in the heart of the forest, close to other attractions, allowing people to explore the areas while enjoying freshly cooked cuisine. To book email: qecp.enquiries@hants.gov.uk

Facts

Queen Elizabeth Country Park has been awarded Green Flag status, in recognition of the highest possible environmental standards and excellent visitor facilities.

The Green Flag Award® scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world. Queen Elizabeth Country Park is located near Petersfield and forms part of the South Downs National Park with extensive woodland and dramatic downland scenery over 1,400 acres.

Queen Elizabeth Country Park attracts more than 600,000 visitors a year.

Events

On Saturday 19 October, from 10am to 4pm, Queen Elizabeth Country Park will be holding a free day of family fun to celebrate the opening of the new visitor centre.

Expect live music, local produce, children’s nature and biking trails, face painting and the opportunity to get up close to birds of prey.

Visit the brand new Beechwood Kitchen, which will be serving great food and the best flat-whites this side of the South Downs.