Haslemere town guide 2015
PUBLISHED: 11:15 04 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:41 04 September 2015
Head to the border town of Haslemere and it’s no real surprise that its fierce independence and beautiful ‘Little Switzerland’ countryside have inspired writers, artists and residents alike through the generations
Originally published in A Celebration of Surrey Life
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Did you know?
1 Set in stunning countryside, Haslemere is a town with a taste for independence. The attractive High Street boasts a wealth of independent shops and even operates its own rewards scheme, where shoppers gain points by buying at around 30 local businesses.
2 The oldest part of the town is centred around the High Street, where there are several buildings dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. These include Half Moon House, near the Town Hall; Tudor Cottage, next to the Georgian House Hotel; and the three-gabled Lloyds Pharmacy building.
3 Haslemere Educational Museum is much more than just a museum. Where else can you see a giant spider crab, a genuine Egyptian mummy (with his toes still visible!) and Arthur the Bear (the museum’s much-loved centrepiece)?
4 Not far from the museum, there is possibly England’s only green pillar box (unless you know better…). Surveyor and architect John Wornham Penfold, who lived in the town, designed the ‘Penfold Hexagonal Pillar Box’ as a competition entry in the mid-19th century.
5 The Swan Barn Farm Walk is a quick skip off the High Street. Starting at the old town well, it takes you through beautiful National Trust managed countryside.
6 Haslemere boasts one of England’s 68 tri-points – the location where three counties meet. So we have Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire all joining hands just up the road in the village of Hammer, bordering the River Wey.
7 Once described by Country Life as the ‘The hanging gardens of Haslemere’, The Manor House was one of the inaugural gardens of the National Gardens Scheme.
8 Regarded as the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry, Tennyson succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate in 1850, when he was appointed by Queen Victoria. He spent the last years of his life at Aldworth House, near Haslemere. During this time, he is said to have produced some of his best work.
9 Meanwhile, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote some of his Sherlock Holmes stories while living at Undershaw in nearby Hindhead.
10 Legend says that the Devil lived at the ‘Devil’s Jumps’, near Churt. He would torment Thor, God of Thunder, who lived at Thor’s Lie (Thursley), by jumping from hill to hill. Thor would try to strike the Devil with thunder and lightning and once the Devil retaliated by scooping up a handful of earth and hurling it at Thor. The depression that remained is the Devil’s Punch Bowl. Makes for a nice story to tell while you walk anyway…
A pocket guide:
Drink at: For a craft beer, the White Horse Hotel is the place to go. For a coffee, head to Hemingways.
Eat at: The restaurant at the Georgian House Hotel has recently been re-named The King’s Pantry as a salute to the hotel’s royal heritage.
Stay at: If you don’t fancy staying in the town centre, escape to the country at the nearby Lythe Hill Hotel and Spa.