A town guide to Weybridge
PUBLISHED: 17:06 06 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:09 07 August 2020
Andy Newbold Photography
With motorsport history, scenic riverside walks, café culture and classy pubs on the doorstep,Weybridge is a highly prized place to live. Here are a few of the reasons why it can be a great place to visit too
Found where the Thames meets the Wey, Weybridge is an enthralling mix of river life, cosmopolitan living and hidden heritage. In some ways, it is a town of many centres too. While Church Street/High Street is the main hub, there are also hot spots at Queen’s Road and Oatlands Village. While it is not a big town by any stretch, there is a hefty amount packed in as we will discover shortly.
It is, of course, famous for Brooklands, which is just minutes from the town centre. The birthplace of British motorsport and aviation is home to a fascinating time capsule of a museum, with remnants of the famous racetrack looping round the site, and Mercedes-Benz World and the luxurious Brooklands Hotel next door. You can even tour a Concorde at the museum, meaning with a little imagination you can pretend that living the jet set life is still the norm.
If you are searching for a slower pace, however, it is here in abundance too, with so many splendid riverside settings nearby. There is a great National Trust recommended walk, for instance, which follows the route of the last commercial barges on the Wey Navigations from Weybridge to New Haw Lock and back. It is a leisurely five-mile walk that takes you past Thames Lock, the Town Lock and Coxes Mill among other distinctly Instagramable sites.
Coxes Mill was the last commercially operated mill in Surrey, only closing in 1983, but is now home to a collection of apartments. It still makes for an impressive and evocative sight on the riverbank. River life is central to the town and, in fact, there is not one but at least three rowing clubs here, with Weybridge Rowing Club, Weybridge Ladies Amateur Rowing Club and Weyfarers Rowing Club getting people out and about and active on the water.
Weybridge is also, of course, home to one of the most exclusive gated estates in the country, St George’s Hill. As well as acting as a haven to the rich and famous, it boasts its own quintessentially English golf course and lawn tennis club. With excellent schools, shops and restaurants, it is unsurprisingly a popular place to live for longterm residents and newcomers, often from London or overseas, alike.
The town centre is a feast for the senses, with high quality food-led pubs such as The Queen’s Head, The Flintgate, The Minnow and The Waverley Inn, as well as international flavours including Italian restaurants Osso Buco, Cantina 41 and La Casa; tapas at El Meson de los Hermanos; Lebanese at Meejana; cracking curries at No 7 Temple, The Gaylord and The Great Gurkhas; and Korean and Japanese from Soya. As with so much at the moment, it is worth booking ahead before visiting. With Nikki’s Coffee House, Power’s, Aromas, Café Verdita, the list goes on, there are no shortage of very decent places to go for coffee, cake and some serious brunching and lunching either. There is also the exquisite patisserie and chocolaterie of Bachmanns to indulge in.
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For a brilliant family day with an added dose of local food and drink, you will find Crockford Bridge Farm about a 10-minute drive from Weybridge. It has been owned and farmed by the Smith family since the 1970s. There is a hugely popular pick your own, an excellent food store and delicatessen and even an ice cream parlour, serving fresh scoops produced by Richmond’s Gelateria Danieli often from Crockford fruit, there.
Another out of town escape is Clifton Nurseries. They are linked to London’s oldest garden centre, and home to everything you might need for stylish outdoor living (and gardening) as well as a fancy contemporary show garden. They are hoping to reopen their Quince Tree café - just in case you were somehow feeling short-changed by the town centre offerings.
In Leo Bancroft, Weybridge has one of the top hair salons in the county – you will often spot his better-known clientele singing the team’s praises on social media or in the glossy national magazines and TV shows. As you would expect from a cosmopolitan area, there are plenty of independent fashion to be had, with the likes of Piajeh (women’s and men’s stores), Rowena’s and Secrets Fashion Agency.
Art lovers will find inspiration at Wyecliffe Galleries while Curzon were recently awarded a licence for a new two-screen art house cinema in Weybridge Hall. While, if you are inspired by some of the more epic-scale houses and are now looking to stock up your dream cellar, The Vineking is one of Surrey’s top independent wine merchants.
High speed thrills and motor racing glamour; the chance to watch the world go by over coffee or glasses of wine; serious house envy combined with idyllic riverside beauty sports… welcome to Weybridge.
Oatlands Park Hotel is a privately owned country house, which became a hotel in 1856, and found just outside Weybridge town centre. It has a fascinating history and stands on the site of Oatlands Palace, the grand royal palace of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. King Henry is said to have built the palace for his new Queen, Anne of Cleves, to complement the nearby Hampton Court Palace where he preferred to stay. It was demolished in the mid-1600s during Oliver Cromwell’s short-lived reign, with the materials used to build the locks and bridges of the Wey Navigation Canal. New properties on the site came and went until today, where we find the four-star hotel. It is a serene place to enjoy a staycation away or an afternoon tea in the Mulberry restaurant.