A historic market town on the River Rother. The Norman lord Savaric Fitzcane built a fortified house atop St Anne's Hill, and the current town grew up around the castle fortifications. Around the year 1300, the manor was in the hands of the powerful de Bohun family, who built a new house by the riverside. This house became known as Cowdray House, from the word 'coudrier', or hazel thicket.

Cowdray House today is a magnificent Tudor manor set in parkland. Though gutted by fire in 1793, the house is a marvellous reminder of a bygone age and remains one of the most imposing Tudor houses in the country, with its walls still standing to full height.

Cowdray Park is well known for its annual polo matches, which take place from April to July.

There are a large number of historic buildings remaining in the oldest part of Midhurst, including the 16th century Market Hall, a timber-framed structure that now houses the Midhurst Grammar School. Even older is the Spread Eagle Inn, a pub dating to the 15th century.

The most famous resident of Midhurst was probably novelist HG Wells, who attended the grammar school, and later returned to teach there. Wells set his story The Invisible Man in Midhurst, and used the town as a setting for several of his short stories.