CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Musician Michael Collins on his perfect Surrey weekend

PUBLISHED: 10:35 12 July 2013 | UPDATED: 10:39 12 July 2014

Michael Collins

Michael Collins

Copyright: Benjamin Ealovega 2011

As one of the finest clarinettists of his generation, soloist Michael Collins is in demand all over the world. So he looks forward to working closer to his home in Farnham whenever the chance arises

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2013




Life as a world class professional musician can be hectic. I am just back from a ten day tour of South Korea and will shortly be off again to Japan. With such a busy schedule, weekends off are precious to me. I try to relax and use my spare time to catch up with family and friends.

I moved to Farnham from Guildford about six years ago as I wanted my children to experience the freedom of growing up in the countryside. I love the tranquillity here and it is such a pleasure to come home to somewhere so peaceful after an overseas trip. However glam it may sound, so much international travel can take its toll, that’s for sure.

Having said that, I do sometimes miss the buzz of Guildford. It’s a vibrant place and if you live in the town, as I did, then everything is so convenient. The shopping, the restaurants, access to London, it is all so easy. One thing I don’t miss though is the walk home up Pewley Hill, which I used to do on a regular basis laden with shopping!

I am a real foodie and will get up early at the weekend to visit the farmers’ markets or head off to North Street, Guildford where there is a stall selling fabulous coffee. I stock up with a selection of my favourite beans and I always like to try something new, too. I have eaten in some fabulous restaurants all over the world and have tried most types of cuisine. I guess that is why I am a bit of a gourmet cook and if I am hosting a dinner party, as I often do on a Saturday night, then I will go to great lengths to source the right ingredients for a specific recipe.


A note to taste

There are some fine restaurants in the area. I take my children to The Mill at Elstead for a Sunday lunch; the river and ducks keep them entertained. I love Italian food and La Luna in Godalming is one of my favourites. They have a real passion for the quality of the food and it shows in everything they do; the seafood and pasta there is to die for. Raymond Blanc has just opened a restaurant in Farnham, which I’m delighted about!

After winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year aged 16 my career really took off and I am very lucky to remain successful at what I do. When not on stage, I am often rehearsing for the next event, as I am at the moment for my performance in May at the Holy Trinity Church, Guildford as part of the Surrey Hills Music Festival.

I have recently given in to ‘pester power’ and very soon we will take delivery of Smudge and Poppy, two adorable Jack Russell puppies. This will give me an excuse to get out in the fresh air a bit more. One of my favourite local walks is around Frensham Ponds, which on a frosty morning has a breathtaking beauty about it.

My son has just taken up a new interest – flying remote controlled airplanes. It is great to see him so enthusiastic about something and I must admit, dad is enjoying it too! We have great fun at the model flying club in Ripley indulging our new hobby together and to see him so happy just makes those rare free weekends that little bit more special for me.


More from Surrey Life

Yesterday, 10:52

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wed, 16:05

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tue, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tue, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tue, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search