Holmbury St Mary: Surrey village life

PUBLISHED: 11:06 16 August 2012 | UPDATED: 15:19 26 June 2014

Holmbury St Mary: Surrey village life

Holmbury St Mary: Surrey village life

Get lost among Surrey's country lanes and find this little gem of a village, set in a picturesque valley, and perfect for those seeking to explore the Surrey Hills further

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2012

Photo: Martin Bamford


Village voice…
“Holmbury St Mary is a tiny jewel in the beautiful crown that is the Surrey Hills,” says Surrey Life beauty editor Adele Mitchell, who lives in the village. “It nestles between Holmbury and Leith Hill and is therefore very popular with mountain bikers, walkers and horse riders: busier at the weekend than any weekday.”

Did you know?
Located in the heart of the picturesque Surrey Hills conservation area, the private concert hall and arts venue Woodhouse Copse has established a reputation as an intimate and inspiring venue for a wide range of classical music over the past 12 years.

@ the village hall...
In 1925, the local landowner and philanthropist Reginald Bray donated the hall for the benefit of the village and, specifically, the Holmbury St Mary branch of the Women’s Institute. In fact, it was known as The WI Hall until 2008 when it became The Holmbury St Mary Village Hall. These days, the hall hosts everything from scouts to badminton to Zumba.

A date for your diary…
Set around a late Victorian house on Tanhurst Lane, the four-acre garden at Pratsham Grange opens for the National Garden Scheme on Saturday August 18 and Sunday August 19. Created over the last six years, the garden features herbaceous borders, ponds, a knot garden, rose beds and a kitchen garden, and also has excellent views of the Surrey Hills.

Grab a bite…
Nestled up a side road from the B2126, the King’s Head is a freehouse offering an ever-changing range of real ales, mostly from within a 50-mile radius of the pub. Popular with mountain bikers, they serve a great range of lunches and suppers. The village is also home to a second pub, The Royal Oak.

Did you know 2?
Part of University College London, Mullard is the UK’s largest university-based space science research group and is often home to Guildford Astronomical Society too. Found off Holmbury Road, Mullard has been creating and launching satellites since 1967.

Something to take home...
There are no shops to speak of in Holmbury St Mary, so instead why not relax on a sunny day watching the cricket, which takes place in a tranquil setting perched on the side of Holmbury Hill.

In the spotlight...

  • The English village in EM Forster’s A Room with a View is believed to be based upon Holmbury St Mary with several familiar landmarks in the book.

  • Holmbury St Mary became something of a millionaires’ retreat in the 19th century, with the heads of the Castle Shipping Line, Stephen’s Inks, Guinness, Brooke Bond Tea and the Doulton’s Lambeth and Wedgewood potteries all making a home there, as well as Edwin Waterhouse, founder and senior partner of accountancy firm Price-Waterhouse.

  • A stained glass window, designed by George Bernard Shaw in 1910 as a commemoration of the Fabian Society, was first unveiled by prime minister Clement Attlee at Beatrice Webb House in Holmbury St Mary, before it was stolen, eventually recovered and then presented to the London School of Economics.

  • The village found itself in the media spotlight last year when Hurtwood House student Zara Brownless beat 30,000 hopefuls to win the 2011 series of the BBC’s Young Apprentice.

Getting there...
Follow signs to Holmbury St Mary on the B2126, which is found off the A25 by Abinger Hammer.

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