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10 reasons to love Cobham

PUBLISHED: 08:41 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:35 14 September 2017

Cobham illustration

Cobham illustration

Emily Westwell

It’s known for its famous residents and posh pads but there’s much more to this charming Surrey village on the banks of the River Mole than pure glitz and glam

1. Painshill Park

Portsmouth Road, Cobham. KT11 1JE. Tel: 01932 868113. Web: painshill.co.uk

An absolute ‘must’ on your list of things to do in Cobham is this incredible 18th century landscape garden, created by the Hon. Charles Hamilton. Restored in 1981 and granted Grade I listing as well as the rare Europa Nostra Medal for restoration, this garden of moods is described as a living work of art with changing romantic landscapes. You will need several hours to do this garden justice, but with a café and restaurant and a well-stocked shop you should have a grand day out. Next month (September 9) there is free entry to the garden on a Heritage Open Day.

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2. Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower

Old Lane, Ockham Common, Cobham. KT11 1ND. Tel: 01483 795440. Web: visitsurrey.com/things-to-do/chatley-heath-semaphore-tower-p61933

First of our little hidden secrets is this splendid tower, built in 1822 as part of a chain used to pass messages between the Admiralty in London and the naval dockyard in Portsmouth. Another one for the free Heritage Open Day visit – this time on September 10 between 10am and 3pm. Parking is a 15-minute stroll away, across the common at Boldemere off Old Lane, but the views from the roof of the tower are worth the effort. There are a couple of telescopes at the top, so if it’s a clear day you can see the London Eye in all its glory.

3. Cobham Mill

Mill Road, Cobham. KT11 3AL. Tel: 01932 867387. Web:cobhammill.org.uk

This lovely 19th century mill sits next to the River Mole just on the outskirts of the town. Not just a Grade II listed building but the only surviving fully working watermill in the county. Operated and maintained by a dedicated band of volunteers, who renovated a lot of the original machinery, the mill is now open for visitors free of charge on the second Sunday of each month from 2pm to 5pm. Pop in for a look round, and if you’re lucky there may even be some freshly-milled flour on sale for that special Cobham loaf…

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4. The Surrey Diggers

Cobham town centre. Web: diggerstrail.org.uk/cobham-centre/

Bit of a history lesson for you now with one of our challenges for you to find… The Surrey Diggers were a group of mainly Cobham residents who, in 1649, started a movement in support of their belief that “freedom from hunger and oppression could be won if the Earth were made Common Treasury for all”. A very worthy cause but it met with great hostility from the landed gentry and after several attempts at cultivating common land in and around the area they were finally defeated in their efforts. There is a little plaque and a trail to their memory on a wall in the town somewhere – over to you…

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5. The Medicine Garden

Downside Road, Cobham. KT11 3LU. Tel: 01932 589536. Web: themedicinegarden.com

Possibly unique in its evolution from derelict Victorian walled garden to a community organisation, The Medicine Garden has grown into a centre of excellence in what is described by the founder, Paul Studholme, as the theme of “Good Medicine” or the power of nature. A stroll around the garden itself has an interactive element, where you can write your own Medicine Wish Stick. With a thriving community of small businesses in the courtyard there are two cafes, The Art Shed, Small Steps, Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi to name just a few. Entry to the garden is free. Check the website for opening times.

6. Shetland Pony Club

The Ranch, Blue Bell Lane, Stoke D’Abernon, Cobham. KT11 3PU. Tel: 01372 844077. Web: shetlandponyclub.co.uk

One for the children here. Everybody loves a Shetland pony and you can almost hear the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when you see the pictures on the website… The Shetland Pony Club offers an introduction to kids as young as two and a half to the thrill of pony riding in private woods and meadows with no less than 17 of the tiny steeds waiting for you. This month, from August 7 to August 10 and other dates, you can even book a summer Pony Camp, where your horse-mad offspring can enjoy ‘pony-packed days of fun…’

7. Bruce’s Doggy Day Care

Cobham Road, Cobham. KT11 3QF. Tel: 0345 835 7000. Web: brucesdoggydaycare.co.uk

If you are a dog lover this is the one place where your faithful hound would be constantly pestering you for a visit. Surrey Life know Bruce’s Doggy Day Care well and can vouch for the astonishing way the dogs just have the time of their lives here. It’s a bit like an adventure park for them – each dog is carefully “interviewed” by the centre before becoming a member so you can be sure there will be no unpleasantries between the hounds – and they then have the run of several acres of enclosed fields to have fun. Dogs are collected by Bruce’s team of drivers in the morning and delivered home safe and sound later in the day. Walkies anyone?

8. St. Andrews Church

Church Street, Cobham. KT11 3EG. Tel: 01932 862109. Web: standrewscobham.org.uk

Cobham’s oldest building, the Church of St. Andrew has been a place of worship since the middle of the 12th century. The church becomes the centre of the town’s Heritage Day in September but is worth a visit at any time. There is a unique brass of the nativity and an unusual triangular headed double piscine in the south wall (if you’re not sure what this is then see if you can find it and send us a photo…!). While you are in Church Street, have a look at some of the fascinating buildings here – Church Stile House and next door Lime House in particular are fine examples of 17th century architecture.

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9. The Old Bear

Riverhill, Cobham. KT11 3DX. Tel: 01932 860360. Web: wildwoodrestaurants.co.uk/restaurant/cobham/

Time for lunch after all that walking around the town. The Old Bear, right next to the river is owned by Wildwood pizza and pasta grill and offers anything from a light bite and cocktails to a full-blown celebration party for that special event. We loved the wild boar and chorizo burger – with jalapeno chillies, fries and mayo – but there’s plenty to choose from with baked sea bass, sirloin steaks and even a crab spaghetti with coriander, white wine,chilli garlic and lime… Just enough room left for the walnut and pecan tart perhaps?

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10. The Cobham Bookshop

12A Anyards Road, Cobham. KT11 2JZ. Tel: 01932 862903. Web: cobhambooks.com

We always support the small independents here at Surrey Life and this lovely little shop in Anyards Road boasts a huge range of fiction, non-fiction, childrens’ books and bestsellers galore. Keep your eye on the website for special events here, including book signings by well-known authors. If you are interested in Cobham there is a splendid hardback retrospective of 30 years of photographs by local photographer Eric Strange called - oddly enough - Cobham’s Strange Photography. Pop in for a browse.

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