10 reasons to visit Hindhead, Grayshott and the surrounding area

PUBLISHED: 11:39 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:40 28 February 2013

The Devil's Punch Bowl is just one of the many reasons to visit Hindhead (Photo: John Miller / NT)

The Devil's Punch Bowl is just one of the many reasons to visit Hindhead (Photo: John Miller / NT)

Renowned for its stunning beauty, the area surrounding Hindhead and Grayshott has a long literary history and remains a destination of choice for those looking to escape it all. Sarah Phillips discovers more

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Renowned for its stunning beauty, the area surrounding Hindhead and Grayshott has a long literary history and remains a destination of choice for those looking to escape it all. SARAH PHILLIPS discovers more

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Undershaw House

The former home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Undershaw House is where the writer lived with his wife Louise, between 1897 and 1907. Situated on the A3, Hindhead, this Victorian red-brick building is supposedly the setting of the intriguing Hound of the Baskervilles novel, part of Conan Doyle's famous Sherlock Holmes stories, written in 1902. Undershaw's atmospheric and dramatic views of the South Downs countryside provided inspiration for writers other than Conan Doyle, with Bram Stoker, writer of the legendary Dracula, being a visitor. Following a transitional period spent as a hotel, Undershaw has since fallen into disrepair, yet this mystical spot with its surrounding beautiful countryside still captures the imagination.
Undershaw House, Portsmouth Road, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6AH

The Devil's Punch Bowl

Described by the National Trust as an iconic view, the Devil's Punch Bowl is a natural landmark which is steeped in history. Local legends talk of this bowl-shaped valley being created by the Devil slamming his fist into the earth, making the characteristic crater shape, whilst others believe that the Devil was tormenting the God Thor by throwing fistfuls of earth at the ground. A more reasonable explanation is that small streams have gradually eroded the underlying soft rock, creating the largest spring-formed feature in Britain. Whatever the folklore, the Devil's Punch Bowl is a remarkable and beautiful area covered by heather, woodland and local wildlife, making it a spectacular view and day out.
The Devil's Punch Bowl & Café, London Road, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6AB

Gibbet Hill

Overlooking the Devil's Punch Bowl, at 272 metres high, Gibbet Hill is the second highest hill in Surrey. At the peak of the hill is a Celtic Cross, which dates from the 19th Century and supposedly was made to dispel the local's fears of spirits. It was an area of disrepute, with stories talking of highwaymen and robbers who were hung on a gibbet as a punishment for their crimes. The area had a reputation of having pagan and heathen origins, and it is described in Charles Dicken's Nicholas Nickleby. Sites of interest in the area include the nearby Hankley Common and South Downs, along with the towns of Guildford and Godalming. On a clear day, it is possible to see London's skyline, in particular the iconic Gherkin and Wembley Stadium.
Gibbet Hill, London Road, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6AB

The Hindhead Tunnel

Due for completion in 2011, the old congested A3, which runs from London to Portsmouth, is being replaced by a 1.1 mile long tunnel, which will run underneath the spectacular Devil's Punch Bowl. The tunnel will lead to the closure of the original A3 around the Devil's Punch Bowl, bringing environmental benefits to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it is hoped it will reduce congestion and become a major transport link in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Hindhead Golf Club

A prestigious and picturesque high-quality 18-hole golf course, Hindhead Golf Club is set in the dramatic landscape of the South Downs and Hindhead Common. Membership is offered to all ages, with coaching and a Golf Academy. Competitions are also held monthly, with larger annual competitions, such as the Juniors Open, accommodating all ages and abilities. Hindhead Golf Club is perfect for a relaxing and visually stunning afternoon of competitive yet friendly sportsmanship.
The Hindhead Golf Club, Churt Road, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6HX

The Gurkha Durbar

Nestled in the small nearby village of Grayshott is this fabulous Nepalese restaurant. With high ceilings and wooden flooring, there is a clean and understated glamour to the restaurant, with its sophisticated menu packed with fresh ingredients and exotic spices. Traditional dishes are explored, with a friendly and competent service to accompany them, which has built a positive local reputation. Look no further for a night of relaxing and informal fine dining.
The Gurkha Durbar Nepalese Restaurant, 30 Headley Road, Grayshott, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6DL: 01428 605855

The Pride of the Valley Sculpture Park

This fascinating sculpture park is situated in nearby Churt, next to the beautiful Hindhead Common and is set in 10 acres of arboretums and wildlife inhabited gardens. The Sculpture Park specialises in the sale of 20th Century, modern and contemporary sculpture, with around 150 sculptors exhibiting their work and over 200 artworks for sale. A must for art-lovers everywhere, it is an exhibit of innovative and interestingly composed local sculpture, and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Admission prices are £6 for adults and £3 for children and senior citizens, with under 5's being let in for free.
The Sculpture Park, Jumps Road, Churt, Farnham, Surrey GU10 2LE: 01428 605453

Grayshott Pottery

Grayshott Pottery in the nearby village was established in 1956, and is a gift shop and working factory specialising in fine stoneware and porcelain designs, with products ranging from catering to giftware, jewellery and classic toys for children. There is also an on-site Café Bistro, which sells a range of teas, from the ordinary to the exotic, coffees and cakes. Factory visits can also be arranged, and provide a fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes action at Grayshott Pottery. Grayshott Pottery is open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5.30pm, and Sunday and Bank Holidays, 10am to 4pm. Factory visits take place Monday to Friday from 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm.
Grayshott Pottery, School Road, Grayshott, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6LR: 01428 604 404

Frensham Common

A little further away is the wild heathland of Frensham Common, which is one of the largest expanses in the Weald, with 992 acres of heath and gorse bushes, woodland and ponds, specifically nicknamed the Great and Little Frensham Ponds which hosts a selection of wildlife, from insects to birds and reptiles. The Little Pond has become partly a bird sanctuary and has an abundance of wild flowers and meadows with many species of damselflies and dragonflies. There is also an accompanying visitor centre for the Great Pond, and facilities making it a perfect picnic spot for all ages.
Frensham Common, Pond Lane, Churt, Farnham, Surrey GU10 2JN

Grayshott Spa

Tucked away in the local countryside, and a short drive from Hindhead, Grayshott Spa is a leading destination for health, beauty and leisure. It's set in 47 acres of attractive gardens and woodland landscape adjoining the Hindhead Common and the Devil's Punchbowl. The area was a former favourite spot of the famous poet Alfred Tennyson, whilst the spa has a wide range of treatments and also includes swimming pools, exercise classes, yoga and a gymnasium with a fitness team led by a former Olympian. Healthy eating is promoted at the Dining Room with an a la carte menu in the evening, or a seasonal menu cooked in a wood-fired oven in the Conservatory Restaurant, with a selection of fine organic wines available. If looking for a day of relaxation and pampering, Grayshott Spa is certainly the destination to head to.
Grayshott Spa, Headley Road, Grayshott, near Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6JJ 01428 602 020

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