Ideas for holidays in Surrey
PUBLISHED: 16:14 01 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:47 02 July 2014
With the poor exchange rate on the pound, many people are planning to take their holiday in the UK this summer - and whatever you're looking for, Surrey is brimming with beautiful places to stay. ENJOLI LISTON reveals a few of the best
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2009
The Wine Weekend
Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking RH5 6AA: 01306 876777
For any wine connoisseur, spending a night or two in a vineyard is sure to be a dream come true. This comfortably renovated farmhouse is set in the heart of England's largest wine estate and comprises seven simply decorated double rooms, all with en-suites. Enjoy a full English breakfast overlooking 265 acres of luscious vines before taking a tour around the estate or a stroll to the nearby historic town of Dorking. Bikes are available to rent and Denbies has its own restaurant, The Gallery, with views across the vineyard. Prices: Double en-suite £100 on Friday and Saturdays, and £95 Sunday to Thursday.
The Eco-Chic Retreat
Asperion Hillside, Worplesdon GU3 3RF: 01483 232 051
From the breakfast to the complimentary soap, everything at this luxurious guest house follows the green mantra of ethical, sustainable and socially responsible hospitality. Wherever possible, the food served is organic, Fairtrade and ethically farmed, meaning you can enjoy true guilt-free indulgence, and they even specialise in eco-friendly weddings. "We combine green ethics with high-quality boutique accommodation, so you can be pampered and be ethical at the same time," says managing director Manny Sawhney, who has just been named Surrey Business Person of the Year. "All of our food is locally sourced and we promote local attractions, so guests get a true Surrey experience." Just down the road, you'll also find the Hillside's sister-hotel, the award-winning Asperion guest house in Guildford. Prices: Doubles start from £90 and include breakfast, wireless internet and free-trade chocolate.
The Pamper Break
Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel, Camberley GU15 2BG: 08448 799110
If your hen party is on the horizon, or you just fancy an extravagant girly get-together, this palatial Victorian manor is the perfect setting. After indulging in a luxurious massage and facial, you'll be spoilt for choice on where to relax for the rest of the day. Recline in the aromatic steam room, take a dip in the heated indoor pool or rest in the rock sauna? Ah, decisions, decisions. When you're truly refreshed, enjoy a glass of complimentary wine and tuck into a four-course dinner at the hotel's restaurant. And, if all that pampering hasn't worn you out, why not hit the bars and clubs just over the border in nearby Windsor for a bit of re-toxing? Prices: From £139 per person, based on one night's accommodation with two people sharing a twin room, including massage, facial, use of gym and spa facilities, and a four-course dinner with a glass of wine in the hotel's Linden Restaurant.
The Romantic Escape
The Talbot Inn, Ripley GU23 6BB: 01483 225188
'One of Britain's finest historic coaching inns', according to Visit Surrey, this 40-room hotel has recently been renovated beautifully to four-star standard. Relax in the bar next to an open fire before treating your partner to a three-course meal created by head chef, Ian Richards. Rooms in the new Mews and Stable Block are elegant and spacious, and while those in the coaching inn may be smaller they still retain original features and character. If it's a really special occasion, ask for the Trafalgar Room, which comes complete with four-poster bed. Wake up to a complimentary continental breakfast, before wandering arm in arm around the quaint village of Ripley or travel just a mile down the road to stroll through the stunning floral displays at RHS Wisley. Prices: Weekday double from £99, weekend double from £89.
The River Cruise
Farncombe Boat House, Godalming GU7 1NH: 01483 421306
Who needs dry land when you can captain your very own houseboat? According to Wendy Copeland of Farncombe Boat House, the River Wey is one of Surrey's best kept secrets, adding that "spending time on the River Wey really is the fastest way to slow down." Choose between six pretty vessels, the largest of which houses ten people, and cruise down the river taking in the picturesque meadows in bloom. Join the Thames at Weybridge to visit attractions like Hampton Court Palace or Runnymede Park and keep your eyes peeled for roe deer, mink and kingfishers on the riverbanks. Prices: From £610 for a short break on a two to four person berth narrow boat in summer season. All boats are dog-friendly.
The Rural Escape
Emley Farm House, Bowlhead Green, GU8 6NW: 0844 8002070
One of the newest holiday cottages in the National Trust's portfolio, this 19th century grade II listed farmstead has been very recently renovated. The house can accommodate ten in its five bedrooms and features a traditional country kitchen at the heart of the building. The Victorian décor includes antique furnishing such as slate-back chairs, oak dressers and mahogany dressing table, giving the interior a luxurious atmosphere. If you're a devoted fan of national heritage, why not check out the nearby National Trust sites of the Devil's Punch Bowl and Hindhead Common for some great days out in the Surrey countryside. Prices: From £809 for one week's rental of the whole cottage.
The Holiday at Home
At Home Holidays: 01342 843727
If you'd rather stay right where you are and enjoy a relaxing week in your own house, then At Home Holidays could just have the answer - someone to come and do all the chores for you. "I set up the company because as a busy mum I found that all the holiday options we explored involved work for me!" says Outwood resident Camilla Mair, owner of At Home Holidays. "If we rented a house or villa, it was still up to me to buy the food, cook and run round after the family just as I do at home - a busman's holiday you could say. My perfect solution was for someone to come into my home and do all the hard work for me, so I could concentrate on enjoying time with my husband and children." Camilla's packages include home cooked meals, cleaning, babysitting and help with planning fun days out provided by your own At Home host. Additional extras like dog-walking, dinner party catering, beauty treatments and picnic lunches can be arranged, too. Prices: From £395 for a long weekend based on a family of four and including breakfast, children's tea and three-course dinner (excluding wine).
The Family Fun Trip
Holmbury Farm, Holmbury St Mary, Dorking RH5 6NB: 01306 621443
If your little tearaways love a trip to the zoo, why not return to the wild with a short stay on a working farm? With a special family-friendly room, Holmbury Farm is set in 80 acres of farmland and woodland - so kids will have a tough time getting bored. Take bikes to explore the Surrey Hills, fishing rods to try your luck in the nearby lake and tennis rackets to enjoy a game at the farm's courts. Owner Virginia Lloyd says her guests love "the beautiful walks and splendid views" from the farm, and that some lucky visitors may be able to help bottle feed a lamb. But if staying on a farm isn't hands on enough, take a half-hour car journey to Godstone Farm and Play Barn to cuddle ducklings, chicks and climb into pens with lambs and piglets (yes, adults can play, too!). And if the countryside still doesn't wear them out, it's a 20-minute trip to Chessington World of Adventures. That ought to do it. Prices: From £32.50 per night.
The Film-lovers' Foray
Lockhurst Hatch Farm, Shere GU5 9JN: 01483 202689
Set in its own little valley in the middle of the Surrey Hills, this idyllic 16th century cottage is the perfect base to explore some of Surrey's famous film locations. Take a scenic bike ride into the picturesque village of Shere, where The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz was set and a scene from Bridget Jones's Diary was shot. Nearby, you'll also find the stunning National Trust property Clandon Park, where part of The Duchess starring Keira Knightley was filmed. "We get some wonderful comments from guests - they almost always say how comfy the bed is and they enjoy the complimentary breakfast," says owner Peter Gellatly. "Unfortunately, none of the film stars have stayed at the cottage, but we did provide the unlikely setting for a horror film last summer!" Prices: Doubles from £65 and family rooms from £75.
The Star Treatment
Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa, Bagshot GU19 5EU: 01276 471774
If it's luxury you're after, then look no further. Stars such as Justin Timberlake and Daniel Craig have stayed in the individually styled rooms of this stunning country mansion hotel. Set in 123 acres of woodland, parkland and gardens, Pennyhill Park boasts its own nine-hole golf course, tennis courts and world class rugby and football pitches. The award-winning spa offers a whole host of sumptuous treatments to restore mind, body and soul and the hotel's Latymer restaurant has just been awarded a Michelin star. Prices: From £295 per night in a traditional guest room, including use of spa facilities.