Ripley: where to eat, shop and visit
PUBLISHED: 14:34 24 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:55 20 February 2013
There's a whole host of reasons to visit the delightful village of Ripley, but its top-notch eateries and beautiful surrounding countryside are particularly hard to beat. Matthew Williams brings us a few ideas for what to do on a weekend there...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2012
Theres a whole host of reasons to visit the delightful village of Ripley, but its top-notch eateries and beautiful surrounding countryside are particularly hard to beat. Matthew Williams brings us a few ideas for what to do on a weekend there...
Get on your bike
If the recent Olympic cycling events in Surrey have ignited your passion for the sport, then head over to the museum run by Send and Ripley History Society, just next to the village hall, for something that could well be of interest. Open every Saturday from 10am to 12.30pm, in September they are running an exhibition about the history of cycling in the area. A popular spot for cyclists, it all started because of the Portsmouth Road passing through the centre of Ripley, which gave the village some importance as a stopping-off place for those journeying from London to Portsmouth. Numerous inns lined the road to cater for the travellers, which then led to it becoming a focus for cyclists (fitting then that Mark Cavendish & co. tore along the same stretch).
Walk among statues
The owners of the stunning Dunsborough Park estate, Baron Dolf and Baroness Caroline Sweerts de Landas Wyborgh, welcome visitors at various times of the year, including for the Festival of Tulips in April and also through the National Gardens Scheme on selected days in spring, summer and early autumn. Today, six acres of formal gardens extend around the house in a series of garden rooms and vistas, which also act as showroom spaces for their superb collection of antique garden ornaments for sale. Also of special note are the Edwardian glasshouses, a palm house, long-grassed walks edged with hedges and a large water garden to be enjoyed.
Grab a bite to eat
With one of our countys most famous destination restaurants, the Michelin starred Drakes, and now Marco Pierre White, who has taken the helm of the historic Talbot coaching inn, Ripley is certainly well set for fine food. Plus, with places like Nest and the newly opened Pinnocks, there are plenty of options for a relaxing cuppa. In addition, Ripley Farmers Market was named rural farmers market of the year at the 2011 National Farm Retail Awards and with stallholders such as RHS Wisley selling apples and regular appearances from Michelin starred chef Steve Drake, its well worth a visit. It takes place on the village green on the second Saturday of every month, from 9am to 1pm.
See a glorious garden
Just ten minutes away from the village, youll find the RHSs flagship garden, Wisley. The garden captures the imagination with richly planted borders, luscious rose gardens and the state-of-the-art Glasshouse. The lake surrounding the Glasshouse also doubles up as a reservoir for periods of drought, holding over 1.3million gallons the equivalent of more than 54,000 water butts. Gifted to the RHS in 1903, Wisley has evolved over time into a world-class garden and is open all year round (for another reason to visit, see page 96).
Make a splash
The Wey Navigation is another unmissable attraction in the area. Look out for the lock-keepers cottage at Worsfold Gates, a survivor of a style that was once common along the waterway. Until 1956, there was a boathouse nearby, too, which hired out pleasure craft including skiffs, punts and canoes. It is here that youll also find the longest continuous and most ambitious cut of the Navigation over five miles not bad considering the workers only had shovels. Meanwhile, established in 1961, the Papercourt Sailing Club is one of the leading sailing clubs in the south east. The beautiful Papercourt Lake where it is based was transformed from two working quarries into an outstanding Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Take a sunny stroll
Also nearby, youll find Newark Priory, near Pyrford. Though its not accessible to the public sitting on private land that only adds to the mystique of what is surely one of the icons of Surrey. Founded at the end of the 12th century by Ruald de Clane and his wife Beatrice of Send and dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Thomas Beckett, it suffered with King Henry VIIIs dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. It can be viewed from the riverside towpath and makes for a great walking destination on a sunny day.
My Ripley Weekend
Need to know:
Where to eat: The Michelin starred Drakes (01483 224777). Also, keep an eye out for the Talbot (01483 225188), as under Marco Pierre White big things are expected. Where to drink: The Anchor (01483 211866), which made its reputation refreshing cyclists. Something to take home: Head to the Ceramics Caf (01483 224477) to make your own mug. Somewhere to stay: The Talbot, which is a historic coaching inn. Top tip: Grab your bike and see why so many have enjoyed cycling the area over the years.
Bypassed by the A3. At 10 minutes away, Woking Station is the closest.
Get in touch
With what you most love about Ripley and how youd spend your perfect weekend there, plus share your photos with us, at surrey.greatbritishlife.co.uk
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