10 reasons to love Sutton
PUBLISHED: 10:33 08 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:33 09 January 2019
Where city meets country, Sutton is a town surrounded by history and beautiful places to escape
When you think of this corner of north Surrey, where city meets county, the last thing you probably think about is farming. And yet, since 2010, a merry band of growers have been tending a seven-acre smallholding with views towards the skyline of central London here. Sutton Community Farm is a community-owned farm created to increase access to fresh, healthy, sustainable food and provide a shared space for people to cultivate skills, get exercise and make new friends. These days, you can even order fruit and veg boxes from them, and they deliver as far south as Redhill. Something for the Christmas dinner table, perhaps.
Woodmansterne Lane SM6 0SW
To step off the High Street and into Brasserie Vacherin, is to be swept off on your travels to Paris for a taste of the joie de vivre. Croque monsieur and coffee for brunch or Châteaubriand for that special occasion with a bottle of something bold and robust, it all sounds delectable to us. Chef Malcolm John has been bringing his own inimitable brand of French flair to the streets of Sutton for years now, and the restaurant remains worth a trip if you’re in the area. Alternatively, try Spaghetti Tree on Brighton Road for popular Italian or, for something a little different, The Fat Crab in North Cheam, which brings the coast to the suburbs.
12 High Street SM1 1HN
Regular Surrey Life readers will be well aware of the magic to be found within the walls of the category B prison, HMP High Down. Just a 10-minute drive outside of town, The Clink Restaurant offers a unique dining experience to the public, with dishes served and cooked by prisoners participating in The Clink Restaurants’ training scheme. The aim of the establishment is to educate and reduce reoffending levels. Open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea (which is served on the first Thursday of each month), the food is as good as you’ll find in any restaurant on the High Street.
HMP High Down, High Down Lane SM2 5PJ
Sutton’s oldest shop and, according to the Guinness Book of Records no less, the oldest bike shop in the world! Tom Pearson, a blacksmith from Cobham, set up the store way back in 1860. Originally fixing anything metal, he’d predict the boom in Lycra clad road warriors and mud splattered mountain bikers that was to become the norm on Surrey’s roads and hills. These days, you can book Pearson Cycles to build your dream machine, get your current bike fixed or just stock up on the latest trendy threads so you look the part on club rides. All the gear and all the ideas.
126 High Street SM1 1LU
An award-winning community pub found just 30 minutes’ walk out of the town centre, near Carshalton, The Hope holds a special place in the hearts of the area’s beer drinkers. In 2010, it was saved by a group of customers and it’s won the CAMRA Croydon & Sutton Pub of the Year title pretty much every year since, as well as picking up CAMRA Greater London Pub of the Year on numerous occasions. With seven hand pumps for real ale, it’s a must visit if you’re partial to a pint – and an excellent spot for an end of year catch-up with beer loving friends.
48 West Street SM5 2PR
Re-opened to the public this summer, following a two-year refurbishment and repair project, Whitehall Museum is as fascinating a piece of architecture as it is a beacon of local history. Found in the Cheam Village Conservation Area, it is a rare survivor of domestic architecture and in the top five per cent of significant buildings in the country. Its original timber structure was built around 1500, while its additions mark the passing of time and taste through the generations. Whitehall Historic House is open to the public 10am to 5pm, on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
1 Malden Road SM3 8QD
At the heart of modern Sutton, you’ll find retail developments, St Nicholas and Times Square. You’ll find most of the High Street brands you’d expect to find in a town this size here – so it’s spot on for a one-stop shop. Look out for independents like Warrenders Jewellers, Barnes & Fadden home furnishings and Sutton Music Centre too. Prefer to escape the rush to the tills? Well there’s always the state-of-the-art 10-screen Empire cinema, which can also be found at St Nicholas.
Once upon a time, Nonsuch Palace, which many hail as Henry VIII’s greatest architectural achievement, would have been found in Nonsuch Park, which is just a 10-minute drive from Sutton town centre. Imagine the tourism the spectacular monument, which was created to rival the French King’s Château de Chambord, would have brought to our county if it remained standing today! It’s said to have left Hampton Court Palace firmly in its impressive shadows. Nevertheless, Nonsuch Park and the Nonsuch Mansion you’ll find today are an idyllic and tranquil corner of the world. The latter is a much in-demand wedding venue.
Ewell Road SM3 8AP
While the lavender fields lie dormant again until their next cacophony of purple in the summer, there’s no leaving out the spectacular Mayfield Lavender from a list of things to do in the area. Found between Sutton and Banstead, you haven’t really done summer in Surrey correctly unless you’ve taken a selfie there!
1 Carshalton Road SM7 3JA
This artists’ community is based in old stables once part of the estate of the Earl of Derby (of the world-famous horse race in Epsom). Now occupied by a group of visual artists, whose practice includes painting, sculpture, stained glass, printmaking and puppetry, they hold open weekends every summer and take part in the Carshalton Artists Open Studios. The Sutton Countryside Walk and Oaks Park Nature Trail are also found in the park, while section 6 of the London Loop walking trail passes through.
The Old Stables, Croydon Lane SM7 3BA
• 10 things to see and do in Guildford - From its controversial cathedral and setted (not cobbled!) High Street to its independent shops and riverside location, Surrey’s county town ticks a lot of boxes