Things to do in Virginia Water - village life
PUBLISHED: 13:17 09 June 2015 | UPDATED: 16:30 09 June 2015
Pete Gardner Photography
Famed for its beautiful lake and gardens, Virginia Water is the perfect place to while away a spring afternoon...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2015
Share your Virginia Water photography @ www.surreylife.co.uk/photos
Having worked in the office of the Harvestime Church in Virginia Water for 10 years, Clare Phillips knows the village well.
“There are people from all over who live here now and have got to know each other,” says Clare. “There is a real community feel here – it’s kind of interconnected – with a lot going on for such a small place.”
The Harvestime Church, in The Old Church Hall at the rear of Station Parade, is part of the Fountain of Wisdom Ministries Church known for its gospel singing.
“We have an outreach programme with the nearby Royal Holloway College,” continues Clare, “and every Sunday, there’s at least a hundred people here in the church all singing!
“There is also a fête every year in June in the village called Carnival Capers – and another good example of the community spirit is at Christmas time when all the residents come out and sing together around the Christmas tree.”
Did you know?
One of Surrey’s most affluent areas with some spectacular houses, particularly on the Wentworth estate, Virginia Water has more than a sprinkling of the rich and famous. Past and present residents include Sarah Ferguson, Sir Cliff Richard, Elton John and Sir Bruce Forsyth. General Augusto Pinochet was also kept under house arrest near here back in 1968 before his extradition. Wentworth House itself, originally built in the 1800s, is now the clubhouse for the prestigious Wentworth Golf Club. Requisitioned during the war for the military, vast tunnels were apparently built nearby as support for the Allied forces.
Grabbing a bite…
The village has several places to “grab a bite”, but among our favourites is the independent wine merchant, restaurant, bar, deli and fromagerie, The Wine Circle in Station Parade (tel: 01344 843 562).
Serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, the restaurant offers modern British cuisine with Mediterranean influences – such as the Duke of Berkshire Pork Loin, which arrives with black pudding purée, crispy squid and spring onion croquette potato (crikey!).
They also stock over 500 carefully selected wines from around the world and even run their own wine club with masterclasses and wine tastings.
Part of Windsor Great Park and known as The Royal Landscape, The Valley Gardens is a huge area of woodland, water and a valley. Over 250 acres await the visitor where you can either take a leisurely stroll for a few minutes or tackle the walk around the whole lake – over four miles (or 7km in new money…).
A must-see is the 100-foot high Canadian Totem Pole, carved from a single log of Western Cedar and given to the Queen in 1958 to mark the centenary of British Columbia.
Dates for your diary…
Keep an eye open for the Carnival Capers, the annual village fête, on the last Saturday in June – have a look at the village website for more details: vwca.org.uk (and follow the links). Also, the Community Library in Station Parade holds regular coffee mornings from 10.30am onwards and if you’re stuck for something to entertain the nippers they also have a regular Story Corner for three to seven-year-olds from 3.30pm.
Close to J12 of the M25 and J2 of the M3, Virginia Water is easily accessible by road. The village also has its own railway station serving London and Reading. For the bus, the Abellio numbers 566 and 567 travel on a round route from Staines, taking in Virginia Water via Egham, Thorpe and Stroude villages.
... we visit Lingfield