As if heading up to Lyme Park wasn’t enough of a country experience during my ‘staycation’, the rest of my birthday weekend was spent down at our friends’ place in the Surrey Hills area. I’ve written about their lovely little cottage in the lovely little village of Shere before, and I could probably go on and on about how lovely it is again. But, this time we spent a little longer down there and took the opportunity to do some long country walks and check out some of the surrounding area.
Our friends have taken to their new area well and it was great to see them settled in and have the opportunity to explore with them. On our arrival we were presented with not only one, but two delicious looking birthday cakes which was such a lovely gesture and surprise. One was a Spanish orange and almond cake, and the other was chocolate roulade, and we rationalised that as we were about to set out on a long walk we would have to each have a slice of both of them to set us up for the walk. (Both were delicious).
One thing that’s really great about the UK is that a lot of the countryside is accessible to to the public – even through people’s properties. The country is filled with loads of public walkways that take you through private land, and although it’s a bit weird at first to think that you’re wandering around someone’s land, particularly when the tracks take you pretty close to their front door or driveway, but after a while you appreciate that it means you actually get to see much more and enjoy the countryside rather than just simply sticking to the national parks.
The Surrey Hills district is a little way south west of London, about an hour on the train depending on what part you want to go to. It’s amazing to think it’s only that far when it feels like a completely different world – lush, rolling green hills, sheep paddocks, rainforest-type areas, vegetable farms with little cottages and villages dotted around the place. It’s actually really relaxing down there and we had to admit on our way home that we were a little jealous of their new set up.
We spent the first day on a lovely long walk (around 8-9kms) through a number of tracks that took us through loads of said properties where, along with the beautiful surrounds we enjoyed the fresh country air, breathtaking views and long conversations. We met a number of surprisingly friendly cows who literally ran up to us from the other side of the paddock and who were keen for a pat. I’ve never really seen cows act like that before, as they’re usually pretty timid, but it occured to us that they probably thought we were going to feed them.
After we got home we were then treated to one of the most amazing BBQ spreads we’ve ever seen! We had grand plans to head out to the pub after dinner but we were all comfortingly full and quite happy to chill out in their lovely, warm, welcoming home.
The second day, after a huge breakfast, we decided to do a different and shorter walk which took us through more bush type areas and through a number of cute villages. We took our time and made sure to stop and check out a lot of the places and read up about the history of each area. Along the way we met two very friendly horses, which of course was a bit of a highlight for me (I could have stayed there patting them for hours). The villages are so sweet and they have amazing old Tudor (or Tudor style) cottages, and some of them have these really lovely orange/red tiles that make them look like their straight out of an old picture. The area is so quaint and so quintessentially English – well, that is of course, how I used to imagine England looked.
We finished our walk in the little village of Abinger (the oldest village in all of England, according to our sources, dating back to the mesolithic period). We stopped at the Abinger Hatch, one of the many destination pubs in the wider area, for a delicious Sunday roast and a couple of drinks. I highly recommend that you check it out if you’re ever in the area – the roasts were amazing and they had a lovely big outdoor area so you can enjoy the sun, and the inside is so old school and cozy looking.
If you’re into walking holidays, or even if you quite like chilling out in lovely country pubs, then I highly recommend you check out this area of the UK. It is stunning and so beautiful it makes you feel like you’re in a dream.
We had such a great time and it was just the type of chilled out break I needed. We were loathe to leave, but we returned to London feeling refreshed and unwound and completely and utterly jealous of our mates’ place! 🙂 (We’ll be going back a LOT).
(There were loads more photos but they are gone, along with our camera, which C managed to lose along the way! 😦 So we have to rely on our memories.)