Ahhh. What a FABULOUS weekend.
I’ve decided that this is one of my favourite weekend getaways. We get to catch up with great friends, go for long country walks, eat delicious food, breathe the fresh country air, explore the Surrey Hills, try out new pubs and generally just relax.
It’s only an hour’s drive out of London and it’s like we’ve entered a completely different world. Just on the way into the district, C and I both remarked how we already felt the change of pace and the relaxed feeling hit us. It’s the perfect weekend retreat – leave on a Friday after work, back around lunch on Sunday and still have the afternoon in London, but left with the feeling that you’ve had a bit of a holiday.
This time we hung out with Kon and Clare, eating the delicious (as always) food they prepared on the Friday night, drinking wine and catching up. We spent Saturday doing a long walk from Shere to Chilworth through open countryside and a bit of the way through the pine forest and then spent the afternoon in a pub called the Percy Arms in Chilworth before heading back to watch the football from the comfort of their stunning cottage. Along the way I managed to find more horsey friends which I always seem to be able to do when we’re on our country getaways!
The Percy Arms is a more modern looking gastro pub than the country style pubs you usually see around the area, and had a bit of a South African spin on it from the African inspired decor all the way through to the South African dishes on the menu and a big selection of South African wines. However, we could see (and as you will be able to see from their website) they were still going for a bit of the ‘English Country’ vibe with the odd spattering of Tartan printed upholstery and the exposed wooden beams. We didn’t try the food but the many burgers we saw heading past us looked delicious.
After dinner back at the cottage we decided to venture out again just to Shere village to check out the beer they had on tap at The William Bray. The beer, Shere Drop, highly recommended by our friend, has recently won silver in the 2013 CAMRA Champion Beer awards. Being a beer man, C just couldn’t leave without trying a few of them. The William Bray pub itself is one of two in the village of Shere. Again, another big gastro style pub, owned by the former F1 driver and sometimes Stig of Top Gear fame, Julian Bailey.
Before heading off this morning we headed back into the village and stopped for breaky at The Dabbling Duck, a gorgeous little cafe / store that we fell in love with the first time we visited. We filled up on a delicious breakfast before stocking up on some baked goodies to take back home with us as a little treat and a reminder of our lovely weekend.
It’s amazing how few people we talk to back in London actually know about the Surrey Hills and how beautiful it is. They are definitely missing a trick because this amazing area is full of loads of different walks, lovely country villages, stunning little cottages, grand country mansions, gorgeous cafes and shops and amazing pubs. Right on their doorstep.
As C had to work at 12 we unfortunately had to leave a little earlier than we normally would have liked as we usually try to squeeze in another walk and a Sunday roast somewhere. But, as sad as we were to leave, we know we’ll be back and it was also quite nice in the end to come back to London and still have most of the day ahead of me. I feel like I’ve had a long weekend which is always a nice feeling as Monday morning draws near.