Saturday, 19 April 2014

Escape to... Surrey

Sometimes it's really lovely to escape London, as much as I love it. A breath of fresh air quite literally. We decided on Surrey, the Surrey Hills to be precise - an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or AONB. (They say you learn something new everyday). So we set the Sat Nav, aiming for Leith Hill, we drove to a car park nestled on the side of the hill taking a short walk up to the tower. There are lovely views of the surrounding countryside and apparently on a clear day you can see 13 counties, the Channel and the London skyline - incredible!

When you reach the tower you'll find a little hatch serving a very good range of refreshments, perfect for the many walkers and cyclists in the area. You can also climb the Tower for a small fee. This is run by the National Trust. I emptied my purse to find enough coins for a cup of tea. (Perhaps you'll come a little more organised with plenty of cash). We descended the hill by foot, and drove to our next stop.

Next up.. came the pub lunch, what would a walk in the countryside be without a pub lunch? You will find a lovely country pub The Stephan Langton on Friday Street, Abinger Common. 

I was so glad we stopped here the food sounded delicious and boasted several vegetarian dishes. I actually opted for a starter.. Chargrilled Halloumi served with Puy Lentils, rocket leaves and a red pesto dressing, as a side I had Ciabatta served with a green pesto dip. And oh my goodness what lovely food it was. The Boy went for a Burger which he said was one of the tastiest he's had in a long long time. We sat outside and watched the many ramblers arrive in hoards (we recognised people from at the top of the hill who had walked down, and suddenly felt incredibly lazy).

Outside the pub was this stall of birdboxes, and also a welly boot scraper. I love the honesty box style stalls that you find in the countryside.

Next we were on the road again.. We pottered along the country lanes, hoping not to come face to face with another vehicle as the roads lanes are so narrow. There are some truly adorable houses tucked away in the middle of nowhere. But I'm just not sure I could live so far out having lived in London for nearly 4 years. However it really does make you appreciate the English Countryside.
Where else would you come across things like this?

I spotted this beautiful stall at the side of the road. Unfortunately I'd spent all my cash at the Leith Hill Tower on a cup of tea, so couldn't buy any of these delights. It was so sweet - I just had to wander back to get a picture.

Next we at stumbled upon The Wotton Hatch, a lovely lovely pub. Surrounded by rolling hills, and yellow fields of rapeseed. If only I could have squeezed in another pub lunch!! I had a look at the menu (something I seemingly have to do these days) and the food sounded amazing.

It was here I looked at google maps (at last a bit of wifi), and discovered the village of Shere was just 8 minutes drive away. I have a friend who'd told me about her visit to Shere, 'the prettiest Village in Surrey', according to I have subsequently fallen in love with the village.
We parked in a free car park on the outskirts of the village, we then wandered along through the Churchyard coming out at the Square, the central area of Shere. Here you'll find the traditional Green Grocers (who knew they still existed)? Along with Shere Stores, bursting with beautiful gifts and home-ware. I had to make an exit before I bought the whole shop.

You'll spot beautiful features like this 'The Old Bakehouse', imagine living there.
Shere is just adorable with it's quaint cottages and cute little shops. There was also some ducks wandering around in the street, a local man stopped the traffic to let them pass.

Do you follow me on Instagram?

Also on the Square you'll find The White Horse Pub which had featured in films such as The Holiday. Shere itself seems quite familiar with the film industry. For this reason you'll find the village quite busy as there's quite a lot of tourists like us wandering around. It was at The White Horse that I discovered Rose Lemonade by Fentimans. We sat outside and enjoyed watching the world go by: the ducks waddling from the green, cyclists whizzing past and families meandering.

Next came the Dabbling Duck, which deserved it's own blogpost. I can only dream of owning a place like this. A typical English Tearoom - serving tea pigs tea, delicious cake by the generous slice. And beautiful shabby chic home-ware. 

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my little adventure outside of London. Keep your eyes peeled for more posts like this in the future, as I do love a good country pub lunch! 

Do you have a favourite country pub you could recommend?


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