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Walton-on-Thames: where to eat, shop and visit

PUBLISHED: 17:04 18 May 2012 | UPDATED: 20:25 20 February 2013

Walton-on-Thames: where to eat, shop and visit

Walton-on-Thames: where to eat, shop and visit

With its fantastic riverside setting and great pubs, not to mention the excellent shopping on offer, Walton-on-Thames is the perfect place to head for when it gets to the weekend. Matthew Williams reveals the things we shouldn't miss

My Walton-on-Thames weekend...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2011


With its fantastic riverside setting and great pubs, not to mention the excellent shopping on offer, Walton-on-Thames is the perfect place to head for when it gets to the weekend. Matthew Williams reveals the things we shouldnt miss


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Lively Saturday


Captured on film
British cinema pioneer Cecil Hepworth established his own film company, Hepworth Studios, in Walton during 1896. The studios produced Alice in Wonderland in 1903, which at the time was the longest film that had been made in Britain, running at about 12 minutes.


Today, the last remaining building of the studios is now a community theatre, The Playhouse, which is currently undergoing refurbishment. The Everyman cinema on the High Street carries the modern cinematic baton these days, showing all the latest releases, while the Riverhouse Arts Centre is also worth a visit for music, theatre and art.


When Saturday comes
Dragons Den star Theo Paphitis has been a director of local football club, Walton & Hersham, since he started taking his children there when they were small. Meanwhile, the chairman of the club is the human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield QC. You can catch the team in action at their ground in Stompond Lane (to find out all the latest fixtures, pay a visit to their website: www.waltonandhershamfc.org.uk)


Shop until you drop
If football isnt your thing, then how about hitting the shops? The Heart shopping centre, which is a haven for shopaholics, also hosts a monthly farmers market on the first Saturday of every month. Away from the centre, the award-winning Naked Grocer on Bridge Street is a local institution; Love Me Do Brides on New Zealand Avenue will feature on the BBCs Dont Tell The Bride in November; and the nearby Hstens bed shop and Roche Bobois interiors shop are renowned for their luxury items. And thats just the start!


Lazy Sunday


On the river
While walks, rowing and picnicking by the river form the main reason to get outdoors in the town, Walton Marina also offers boat sales, berthing and river trips, including motorised boat journeys and hire of punts. Meanwhile, Walton Rowing Club, on Sunbury Lane, is one of the most successful in the area. On another point of interest, work on the new 32.3million Walton Bridge, which will link Walton and Shepperton, is set to start in January 2012.


Dine in style
Set in the beautiful 17th century Georgian mansion that forms the clubhouse at Burhill Golf Club, The Green restaurant is open to non-members these days, which means even if youre not a fan of the fairways, you can still check out this historic setting. The restaurant offers Mediterranean-inspired dishes. The mansion is also famous for being the birthplace of the bouncing bomb Sir Barnes Wallis invented the device while stationed at Burhill when the Ministry of Aircraft Production requisitioned the clubhouse during World War II.


Visit a king
A short drive away (or walk along the river, if youre feeling energetic) is Hampton Court Palace. Henry VIIIs spectacular favourite home is enough of an attraction in its own right but November also sees the launch of its famous annual ice rink, while ghost tours take place regularly.


Need to know


Where to eat: Try the new Italian restaurant Prima Fila (01932 228222) or its more established rival Carluccios (01932 246396) at The Heart. Where to drink: Ideally situated by the river, The Anglers pub (01932 223996), on Manor Road, offers customers a spacious bar and restaurant. Another popular pub, The Swan (01932 225964), also on Manor Road, was named after the ancient ceremony of swan-upping. Something to take home: Visit the farmers market on the first Saturday of the month to pick up some fresh produce. Somewhere to stay: The Carlton Mitre at Hampton Court (0208 979 9988), which is located a short drive away on the banks of the River Thames. Top tip: Visit St Marys Church, which dates back to the 12th century and stands at the highest point of the town on Church Street. Among the churchs most interesting features is a black marble slab commemorating the death, in 1681, of William Lilly. The astrologer gained notoriety, in 1666, for allegedly predicting the Great Fire of London some 14 years before it happened.


Getting there:
Walton-on-Thames is close to the M3 and M25. There are direct rail links to London Waterloo.


Get in touch:
with what you most love about Walton-on-Thames and how youd spend your perfect weekend there at www.facebook.com/SurreyLife


NEXT MONTH: Guildford


Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2010


Visit Walton-on-Thames


Nestled on the banks of the Thames, its been all change in Walton in recent years with the introduction of The Heart shopping centre. GEORGIE NEWMAN sets off to discover why film and the river still play a central role in the town, too


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A brief history


BEST-KNOWN for its wonderful riverside setting, Walton-on-Thames has some lovely walks along the towpath, easily accessible to Hampton Court Palace, and some great little places to enjoy a drink or some food by the water.


One of the oldest buildings in the area, St Marys Church, dates back to the 12th century and stands at the highest point of the town on Church Street. Among the churchs most interesting features is a black marble slab commemorating the death, in 1681, of William Lilly. The astrologer gained notoriety, in 1666, for allegedly predicting the Great Fire of London, some 14 years before it happened.


The Clock Tower, on Bridge Street, now occupied by recruitment specialists Simon Holdings plc, remains the only reminder of the Mount Felix estate, which succumbed to fire in 1966. Dating back to 1840, the original mansion was built for the 5th Earl of Tankerville before later seeing service as a military hospital for soldiers from New Zealand during World War One.


More recently, Walton has seen large-scale development with the introduction of The Heart shopping centre and apartments.


Grab a bite


Ideally situated by the river, The Anglers pub (01932 223996), on Manor Road, offers customers a spacious bar and restaurant. The patio comes into its own in the summer and is superb as an outdoor eating area.


Another popular pub, The Swan (01932 225964), also on Manor Road, was named after the ancient ceremony of Swan Upping, whereby the birds on the Thames were divided between the Crown and the companies of the Dyers and Vinters.


The ever-popular Carluccios (01932 246396) provides a convenient alfresco setting at The Heart, while at the point where Bridge Street and Thames Street converge, Khao Sarn (01932 245005) offers the best Thai cuisine amid candles and a floral decorated setting. And a veritable fusion feast can be had at Glo (01932 222004), a swish hideout blending various cuisines.


Hidden treasures


British cinema pioneer Cecil Hepworth established his own film company, Hepworth Studios, in Walton in 1896. The studios produced Alice in Wonderland in 1903, which at the time was the longest film yet produced in Britain, running to about 12 minutes.


Such ambition eventually led to bankruptcy and the studio was taken over and renamed by Archibald Nettlefold in 1926. Nettlefold Studios produced over a hundred episodes of the ITV series The Adventures of Robin Hood through the 50s, along with one of the studios most famous films, the 1951 Scrooge, an adaptation of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol.


Later, it became known as The Picture Place, Waltons first cinema. Though the building remains intact, it has since acquired an extended frontage, and is now home to Superdrug. The Screen (0871 906 9060), at 85-89 High Street, now fulfills the areas cinema needs.


Out and about


The Thames remains integral to life in the town and Walton Rowing Club (01932 224 557), on Sunbury Lane, is one of the most successful in the area. Having struggled in recent years with a slightly ramshackle boathouse built by members in 1953 the club received a grant at the end of 2009 and is all set to move into a shiny new home.


Its all systems go with riverside developments; there are also plans for a new 30m road bridge, too, linking the town with Shepperton, that is expected to be completed by the summer of 2013.


While walks, rowing and picnicking by the river form the main reason to get outdoors in the town, Walton Marina also offers boat sales, berthing and river trips, including motorised boat journeys and hire of punts.


Shop till you drop


Since undergoing substantial redevelopment, Walton has been kitted out with a stylish new shopping centre, The Heart, as already mentioned. A substantial retail and residential complex, which combines top high street retail outlets with sophisticated venues for alfresco dining, it houses over 50 shops, from Accessorise and the Aveda lifestyle salon and spa to LK Bennett and H&M. Youll also find one of the most glamorous home furnishing shops in the county there, Roche Bobois (01932 251420).


Meanwhile, dont forget to sample the delights of the quaint Bridge Street, which runs off the main High Street. Down this lane, you can find, among others, The Taste of the Past (01932 241 084), an independent butcher; The Naked Grocer (01932 254 123), which sells the best in local produce; and fashion boutique Pink Ice (01932 232102).

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