10 reasons to love Weybridge - the River Wey, motoring history and celebrity diners
- Credit: Archant
Enjoying an enthralling mix of river life, cosmopolitan living and hidden heritage, this month we visit wonderful Weybridge
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2017
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RIVER WEY NAVIGATION
Thames Street, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8NG.
Tel: 01483 561389. Web: nationaltrust.org.ukWhat better month of the year for long slow walks in our beautiful county – and Weybridge has some of the best to offer. There is an easy five-mile trail along the River Wey from Thames Street in to New Haw Lock, with some breathtaking scenery and one or two snippets of intrigue. The National Trust website has a detailed description and map if you search for it, but look out for the ghost of the New Haw Lock keeper’s cottage – the unfortunate wife of a previous keeper was drowned nearby and some say they can still see the long shapeless mist that drifts through the kitchen.
LONDON BUS MUSEUM
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Cobham Hall, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0QN
Tel: 01932 837994. Web: londonbusmuseum.comIf you are one of the many enthusiasts out there who love the sight of a classic red London bus then this is the place to indulge yourself. Billed as 150 years of bus history under one roof, this museum is packed with the glorious sight of double-deckers, trolleybuses, coaches and horse-drawn vehicles that make up our transport heritage. There is a walk-through timeline with up to 30 buses at any one moment on display with exhibits of chassis and restoration plans. One entry ticket covers admission to London Bus Museum and the famous Brooklands Museum.
Brooklands Drive, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0SL
Tel: 0370 400 4000. Web: mercedes-benz.co.ukAs you’re already at the nearby museum, you just have to stop off here. More than just somewhere to order your new Merc, this has become a centre for all things automotive – the ultimate paradise for the petrolhead… Entry to the centre is free but there are loads of activities to indulge in from a “Little Learners” area for three to five-year-olds, who can drive a battery powered Mercedes, to the AMG Experience where you take the driving seat for a three-hour, adrenalin-fuelled blast (with a specialist next to you, of course.). We’ve tried the ‘wet skid circle’ and no, it’s not easy!
32 Church Street, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8DX.
Tel: 01932 820247. Web: bachmanns.co.ukOk, so we’ve mentioned this one before, but we know you chocaholics out there just can’t get enough. Incredible chocolates are hand-made on the premises and there’s loads on display to browse over. Established in 1989 by Ernst Bachmann, a Swiss trained chocolatier, there are truffles, gateaux, celebration cakes and more. Not only chocolate, however – you can indulge in breads, pastries and croissants, all made on the spot by a dedicated team of pastry chefs. Time for a sweet treat indeed!
THE YORK COLUMN
Monument Green, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8BQ
Web: allaboutweybridge.co.ukAnother little snippet of history is this column on Monument Green. Erected in 1822 in memory of Frederica, Duchess of York, who spent most of her married life at Oatlands, Weybridge, it was originally part of a great rebuilding programme following the Great Fire of London and was placed in St Giles. When that area became infamous for “thieves and cut-throats” the column was eventually relocated here, minus the ‘dial stone’ that originally capped it. The stone can now be seen outside Weybridge library, a little further along the High Street.
RED BAR AND RESTAURANT
105 Queens Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 9UJ
Tel: 01932 850222. Web: red-restaurant.co.ukTribute shows, dining, expertly mixed cocktails – this place is a whole lot more these days than just somewhere to sit and eat a meal. Red Bar and Restaurant does things in style with an Italian ‘Dolce Vita’ menu and extensive list of cocktails – how about a ‘Flaming Lamborghini’ while you wait? Not an Italian supercar with engine problems, this is a heady mix of Kahula, Sambuca, Blue Curaco and Baileys that will probably leave you feeling you’re moving as fast as any car ever did around the old Brooklands track! By the way, if you’ve always fancied having a go at mixing a shot or two ask about the cocktail training classes.
Temple Market, Queens Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 9DL
Tel: 01932 849847. Web: 7temple.comYou never know who you might bump into while dining out in Weybridge and No.7 Temple has been attracting more A-listers than most in recent months, with visits from Tom Hardy and Meryl Streep. Offering a classy take on Indian fine dining, the stars are drawn in by Gunpowder Chicken (the clue is in the name – hot, hot, hot…!) and Railway Lamb Tikka, as served on first class train compartments in India. Any excuse to escape the many nearby film sets, hey?!
Oatlands Drive, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 9HB
Tel: 01932 847242. Web: oatlandsparkhotel.comAs we all know these days, it’s all about location, location, location and so it’s no surprise that Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp chose to pop in to Oatlands Park for a spot of tea and filming recently. This hotel’s magnificent grounds were originally the site of a grand Tudor palace, built by Henry VIII in 1538. Other monarchs, including Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I, also resided at Oatlands during their reign.
WEYBRIDGE LADIES AMATEUR ROWING CLUB
Thames Tow Path, Walton Lane, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8LU
Tel: 07778668019. Web: weybridgeladies.org.ukOnly moments away from Weybridge’s town centre and it all gets a little Wind in the Willows, although there’s certainly no messing around with boats – they take it very seriously! WLARC is open to women of all ages and experience – it’s a rowing club run by women for women and located on one of the best stretches of the Thames. With instruction, coaching and practical experience it’s the perfect club for people looking to get into the sport – be warned – they are a hardy bunch and train all weathers! Great fun and excitement though, and who knows, you could be bringing home a trophy one day?
THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST JAMES
Church Lane, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8DN
Tel: 01932 856399. Web: stjamesweybridge.org.ukWith the neighbouring Churchfield Meadows a hidden gem of a wildflower meadow, it’s well worth taking a few minutes to pop over to this lovely church next to the green – even if you just want it as part of your picnic view! Designed in the mid 1800’s by John Loughborough Pearson, architect of Truro Cathedral, St James, a Grade II listed building, replaced an earlier church thought to date back to the 11th century. There is an artist-in-residence throughout July, so check the website for times when you can catch Claire Reed at work. There is also a guided walk leaflet available inside the church and some wonderful stained glass windows to admire.
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NEXT MONTH: Cobham