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Caterham: where to eat, shop and visit

PUBLISHED: 13:50 10 June 2013 | UPDATED: 13:50 10 June 2013

Caterham

Caterham

Archant

The residents of Caterham are busily gearing up for their annual festival, an event that shows off the town’s entertainment offering at its best, this month

Out & about...

There is plenty of choice in Caterham, whether you are a history buff or looking for a bit of nightlife. Pop into the East Surrey Museum on the corner of Station Avenue and Stafford Road and get chatting with one of the staff who are a mine of information and happy to point you in the direction of the town’s historical landmarks – how many people know that the last top-hatted policeman lived in Wapses Lodge in 1861, for example? Those with familes may wish to visit The Arc in Caterham on the Hill, an ambitious community project with a huge play space that has been keeping kids entertained since it reopened in 2010. The town also has its own theatre company, The Miller Centre Players, who are based, oddly enough, at The Miller Centre in Godstone Road. Their next show is The Clearing by Helen Edmunsen from Thursday May 30 to Saturday June 8. Call their box office on 01883 349850 for tickets. This year’s Caterham Festival, which runs from the end of May to the end of June, will feature more than 100 events from carnivals to concerts to cycling. Find out the latest at caterhamfestival.org.

Shop till you drop…

With two town centres, it is best to start at the top of the hill – otherwise, it’s a steep climb if you’re laden with bags! Phil Labram at Westway butchers (01883 345437) has been nominated for the UK Food Hero competition and is described as one of few remaining classic butchers. As a complete contrast, when you stroll down the hill, take a peek at Bob Grummitt (01883 348095) at 84 High Street. He runs a stringed instrument repair shop and can restore anything from a double bass to a banjo. In Caterham town itself there is the Church Walk Shopping Centre with free parking at Morrison’s supermarket next door. Chipped fingernails? Saggy sofa? No problem – turn left past the station and wander down Croydon Road where you will find just about everything from Galaxy Nails (01883 344116) to Surrey Foam (01883 349456).

Food & drink

There are at least eight pubs within a few miles of each other here, with the likes of The Old Surrey Hounds in the centre of the town offering evening meals. Little India (01883 330600) and Balti Express (01883 331161) both have free home delivery ,while the Bua Thai Cuisine (01883 345903) has recreated a traditional Thai look to the front of their restaurant at 52, Croydon Road. Meanwhile, La Fiaba del Mediterraneo (01883 337719) – the restaurant on the hill – offers lunches from noon, and then, apparently, turns into a classic Mediterranean restaurant at 6pm. That’s the evening sorted then!

In the spotlight…

• The cars may have gone but the name still produces a rush of adrenalin. Caterham Cars, producers of the Caterham Seven sports car were, until very recently, based in the town near the station.They have now moved to nearby Crawley but will be associated with the town for as long as the name exists.

• Widely regarded as the father of modern Caterham, William Soper (1837 to 1908) was a leading local figure, as was Charles Asprey, the jeweler, who donated the The Asprey Fountain to the town in 1890.

• Bill Nighy, the actor, was born in Caterham in 1949 and Angus Deayton spent his childhood here, even captaining the famous Caterham School’s U16 rugby team at one point…

• David Gold, businessman, joint chairman of West Ham United and owner of Gold Group International lives nearby and opens his gardens for the National Garden Scheme.

***

My Caterham weekend

“I love Caterham, as there is always something to do, whether it’s a visit to a park or the museum or great choice of sports and other entertainments,” says Andy Parr, chairman of the Caterham Festival.

“The weekend will start with a trip to the gym at de Stafford School and one of their exercise classes. I then get a chance to catch-up on some paperwork and organising the Caterham Festival or even a bit of DIY around the house. Saturday evening gives me a chance to have fun and there are plenty of events for that – comedy nights, dances, plays or parties. Sunday should be a day to rest but I like to keep busy. If I get time, I enjoy a walk up to Chaldon with its fantastic view north to London or to the south to Gatwick. In the evening, I listen to the radio whilst writing a newspaper column before a trip to the Royal Oak with friends to prepare ourselves for the week ahead.”

“It seems that every weekend has to include a trip to Waitrose (other, adequate, supermarkets are available) so we try to do that on a Friday evening followed by stunningly good fish and chips from Fresh Fry in Coulsdon Road,” says Caterham on the Hill parish councillor, John Orrick.

“On Saturday, once the local shopping is done from our fantastic choice of bakers and butchers on the Hill – and they are superb – there is time to enjoy the peace of Queens Park, watch some sport at Caterham Sports association in Park Avenue, or go to one of the many and varied events put on by the dozens of local organisations – from Craft Fairs at the Arc to Flower Shows by the Horticultural Society. And to end the day a trip to the Miller Centre to enjoy performances of West End quality. Sundays remain quieter but again the parks or local walks provide what is the key to life in Caterham, peace and quiet, good neighbours and a decent pint at one of the locals.”

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