10 reasons to visit Chertsey
PUBLISHED: 12:45 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:32 07 April 2016
Set on the banks of the River Thames, Chertsey offers everything from boat trips and nature trails to artisan shops (not to mention a certain well-known theme park...)
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2016
Located about a mile east of the town, Chertsey Bridge sits astride the River Thames and carries the B375 (also known, unsurprisingly, as Bridge Road…). A seven-span arch bridge dating from the late 1700s, this Grade II listed structure is well worth a closer look, and there is a handy car park on the Middlesex side, just a few yards away, with free parking for an hour. A quick trot across Dumsey Meadow will take you to the water’s edge. Look out for weasels, herons and rabbits – and our challenge for this month? See if you can spot the coal tax post nearby.
Thames Path National Trail
If you’ve made it to the bridge, why not explore further and soak up the history of Britain’s best-known river? Running for 184 miles all the way from the Cotswolds to the sea, the Thames Path National Trail can be picked up almost anywhere and you can do as much or as little as you fancy. The route here will take you past Chertsey lock, the weir and the marina – and on to the centre of London if your walking boots are stout enough! See the website for more details.
St Peter’s Church
Windsor Street KT16 8AT: 01932 570155 / stpeterschertsey.org
Dating back to the 14th century, St Peter’s Church is a fascinating place to visit. Although the church was rebuilt in 1806, the original tower and chancel remain – look out for the beautiful ‘crown post’ roof. Also one of its bells (reputed to be among the oldest in Surrey) came originally from the old Chertsey Abbey. On another point of interest, the ‘curfew bell’ is rung every weekday night from Michaelmas to Lady Day (okay, we had to check too, so September 29 to March 25) to let the good folk of Chertsey know it is time to cover their fires and get to bed. Finally, be sure to look out for the striking stained glass windows dating from the Victorian era.
Thorpe Park Resort
Staines Road KT16 8PN: 0871 663 1673 / thorpepark.com
Some describe it as ‘fun, thrills and laughs’, while others may prefer to sit quietly and watch, but here at Thorpe Park they seem to revel in inventing new ways to scare the daylights out of you. The names of the rides say it all – Stealth, The Swarm, Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, Tidal Wave etc… And, in case these aren’t enough, those lovely people at the park have come up with the latest eye-popping screamer this spring – Derren Brown’s Ghost Train – a 13-minute immersive psychological ride designed to manipulate your mind and make you question reality. Personally, I prefer my slippers and a nice cup of tea…
The Cedars, 33 Windsor Street KT16 8AT: 01932 565764 / chertseymuseum.org
Serving the community for over 50 years, this gem of a museum has loads going on. Running until Saturday April 9, the Magna Carta 800 Embroidery exhibition is a chance to brush up on your local history. Created by Surrey resident Rhoda Nevins, the panels tell the story, in needlework, of the Barons and King John at Runnymede. Also this spring, there’s a retrospective of Kenneth Anns (1891–1962), Walter Sickert’s “unknown student”, who once called the building home. For the little ones, Museum Monkeys sessions await the under-fives and there’s an Archaeology Club for eight to 16-year-olds. There’s even a museum app for your smartphone where you can see old photos of exactly where you’re standing in the town.
23 Windsor Street KT16 8AY: 01932 560745 / hamiltons23.com
Time for a bite to eat now, and there’s plenty of options to choose from in this bustling, riverside town. Top of the list has to be Hamiltons, an upmarket brasserie and hotel not far from the museum. With a new menu boasting “fusion cuisine”, we were tempted by the Curry Night Buffet on Friday evenings when you get a starter and unlimited servings from the buffet. At the other end of town, there is The Crown (crownchertsey.co.uk), serving “British food with a modern twist”, and also Thyme at The Tavern (thymeatthetavern.co.uk), which was voted CAMRA North Surrey Pub of the Year 2012 and 2014.
The St Ann’s Hill Nature Trail
St Ann’s Hill Road KT16 9NL: visitsurrey.com/things-to-do/st-anns-hill-p1029301
Don’t hang up your walking boots quite yet – this is a lovely, easy walk starting at the car park off St Ann’s Hill Road and circling an old Iron Age fort and a flat grassy area known as The Dingle. There are a number of picnic areas and some fabulous viewpoints overlooking Lyne in one direction and Thorpe Park and Heathrow Airport in another. You can find a useful leaflet on the nature trail at the museum in Windsor Street, giving details of exactly what you can see on the walk, so leave yourself at least 45 minutes to complete the whole trail.
The Great Cockcrow Railway (GCR)
Hardwick Lane, Lyne KT16 0AD: 01932 565474 / cockcrow.co.uk
Billed as one of the country’s leading miniature railways, with 20 locomotives and a unique layout, this is a must for the dads. Operated in the same way as a full-size steam engine, the drivers stoke up the hot coals on the eighth-scale locos before setting off up Cockcrow Hill and back via the Jungle Line and a tunnel. There’s even a Station Buffet tea room with a range of hot and cold snacks, teas and coffee and freshly-baked cakes (the Lemon Drizzle comes recommended!). The attraction opens this year from Sunday May 1, and then every Sunday, from 2pm to 5pm.
Town Centre Shopping
We know Surrey Life readers enjoy their shopping so a couple of places to help you load your credit card… D’Eyncourt Antiques, at 21 Windsor Street, is a shop you just can’t walk past without peering into the window. There is something seductive about the odd bits and pieces on display – from beautiful velvet-lined boxes of teaspoons to bone-handled carving sets and fine china. On the other side of the street, at 6A Windsor Street, the No Naked Walls Gallery can liven up your home with original artwork by featured artists – we reckon that Sharon Wither’s Skyline Sri Lanka, at £1,995, would look good in the hall.
Chertsey Meads Marine
Mead Lane, The Meads, KT16 8LN: 01932 564699 / chertseymeadsmarine.co.uk
Back at the river again, Chertsey Meads Marine has a whole range of boats for hire – with a full day enabling you to get as far as Windsor Castle. Their popular 26-feet narrowboat, Muggins, is able to take up to 12 people, so you could get a few friends together and enjoy a day out with a difference. Even if it rains, the roll-up side screens and heating will keep you snug. Priced at £310 for eight hours sailing, you can find more details on their website above.
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