Woking town guide 2015
PUBLISHED: 17:33 18 September 2015 | UPDATED: 12:24 21 September 2015
From literary history to state-of-the-art technology and world wildlife conservation, Woking is a town with plenty to explore – and now it’s making a play for your tastebuds too with plenty of foodie treats
Originally published in A Celebration of Surrey Life
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Did you know?
1 A dramatic sculpture by Michael Condron, the Woking Martian was unveiled in 1998 to mark the town’s connection with epic sci-fi novel, The War of the Worlds, by author HG Wells who lived in the town. The aliens first landed at nearby Horsell Common.
2 An award-winning arts centre, The Lightbox has just got better and better since it first opened in 2007. A hub of the community, it offers everything from a gallery, museum and shop to a café and venue hire. One of the highlights is the Ingram Collection of Modern British Art with a stunning collection of sculptures.
3 Billed as one of the greenest buildings in the UK, the Living Planet Centre (the home of the WWF-UK) offers an interactive exhibition that brings the wild to life right in the centre of Woking (admission free, with donations welcome).
4 Worth a wander down the road, the Shah Jahan Mosque was the first purpose-built mosque in the country. It was founded in 1889 by Dr Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner.
5 First recorded as a manor house in 1272, the atmospheric ruins of Woking Palace now occupy a tranquil area between the River Wey and Broadmead Wey Navigation. Used by Henry VII and Henry VIII as a hunting lodge, the palace had royal apartments, a kitchen and bowling alleys.
6 With records spanning from a parchment deed dating back to the reign of Henry II to the hair and teeth that a distant relative of Napoleon Bonaparte sent to a housekeeper at Claremont, the Surrey History Centre on Goldsworth Road is a fascinating destination.
7 Brookwood Cemetery first opened in 1854 and was at one time said to be the largest cemetery in the world. Today, it continues to be the largest cemetery in Western Europe and its beautiful grounds and memorials offer a reflective place to visit.
8 Nearly 40 years ago, three school friends from Woking undertook a journey that would see them go on to become one of Britain’s most respected bands – and also put their hometown on the map. That band was The Jam.
9 Having led the way in teaching professional cookery skills for more than 60 years, Woking’s Tante Marie Culinary Academy has just moved to state-of-the-art new premises in the town centre complete with their own restaurant, which is open to the public.
10 The state-of-the-art McLaren Technology Centre means that Formula 1 and supercar production are part of Woking’s fabric. It’s in the centre’s clinically white rooms that Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso head for some of the off-track testing of their cars.
A pocket guide:
Drink at: Cellar Magneval opened in November 2013 and was named newcomer of the year in the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2014.
Eat at: The Restaurant at Tante Marie, which is a shot in the arm for Woking.
Stay at: Small and intimate, De Vere Venues’ Gorse Hill stands as a fine example of elegant country mansion architecture.