10 reasons to visit Weybridge
- Credit: Archant
From its fantastic motoring museum to fun on the riverbank and its very own tea salon, there’s more to Weybridge than first meets the eye. Here are our highlights…
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2016
1 Brooklands Museum
Brooklands Road KT13 0QN: 01932 857381 / brooklandsmuseum.com
The birthplace of British motorsport and aviation, Brooklands Museum is a must-visit for any self-respecting petrolhead. Parts of the original racetrack, built in 1907, are still visible today – and the huge range of exhibits includes everything from vintage cars to the county’s only publicly accessible Concorde. This month, there’s also Supercar Sunday on July 17 with Aston Martins, Rolls Royces, Porsches and Jaguars. Why not make a weekend of it by booking in a driving experience at the neighbouring Mercedes-Benz World and staying the night at Brooklands Hotel (the historic racetrack also runs through the reception), completing your visit with a dinner in their swanky 1907 restaurant or a cocktail in the 1920s-style bar.
2 The Parish Church of St James
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Church Lane KT13 8DN: 01932 856399 / stjamesweybridge.org.uk
This lovely church in the centre of the town was built in the middle of the 1800s to replace an older church thought to have existed since the 11th century. Designed by John Loughborough Pearson, architect of Truro Cathedral, St James has a splendid collection of stained-glass windows and memorials for the visitor to browse. A new venture this month is an artist in residence – Claire Reed will be working in the church and around the town on Mondays and Wednesdays until Sunday July 24, so pop in and have a chat!
3 Churchfield Meadow
Near Church Street KT13 8DN: weybridgesociety.org.uk
A real hidden gem this, tucked away near St James’ Church, a short walk along the footpath from Church Street takes you to a magical wild-flower meadow next to Churchfields Recreation Ground. Summer is the best time to visit so this month should be perfect. There is a trail across the meadow accessed through a gate where (hopefully), among the vibrant colours, you can also spot a few unusual butterflies and birds enjoying the place. It’s a lovely walk through the high grass, and keep your ears tuned and you’ll hear the grasshoppers too in this wildlife haven.
4 River Wey Navigation
Thames Street KT13 8NG: 01483 561389 / nationaltrust.org.uk (and follow the links) Now that you’ve got your walking boots on, we’re going to take you along a trail that follows the route of the last commercial barges on the Wey Navigation. Billed as an easy walk (we are very kind to our readers), and taking about three hours, you’ll cover around five miles of fascinating scenery starting in Thames Street (there’s a car park here so don’t worry)! On route, you’ll pass the Old Crown pub and follow the footpath to the Thames Lock. When you get to the New Haw Lock, by the way, see if you can spot the ghost of a lock-keeper’s wife who apparently haunts the cottage…
5 The Old Crown
83 Thames Street KT13 8LP: 01932 842844 / theoldcrownweybridge.co.uk
Once owned by The Duke of Newcastle, no less, you can finish your riverside walk here in this 17th century inn for lunch and a pint. The Old Crown has been in the same family for three generations and offers a wide range of food and drinks. Specialities include fresh fish (herb-crumbed haddock anyone?), home-made lasagnes and beef sandwiches. The pub is right next to the river – well, two rivers if you want to be precise as this is where The Wey meets the Thames – and if you are a nautical type you can even park (sorry, moor) your boat at the bottom of the garden.
6 Crockford Bridge Farm Shop
New Haw Road KT15 2BU: 01932 852630 / crockfordbridgefarm.co.uk
Believed to be the nearest farm to London, Crockford Bridge will keep you occupied for a few hours with their farm shop, garden centre and pick-your-own. The surest way to pick up the freshest produce, there are more than 20 different fruit and vegetables on a 75-acre site in which to wander. July should be the peak season for strawberries, as well as old favourites like gooseberries, redcurrants and raspberries, so get the jam-making equipment out and get picking. There’s loads more here, too, if you don’t fancy bending over to PYO – there’s also home-made honey, a range of “American goodies” direct from the USA and even an ice cream parlour (with 24 flavours!).
York Road KT13 9UU: 01932 988288 / joyridersfitness.com
Having been rambling on about pub food and jam-making, we at Surrey Life do take our responsibilities seriously and thought we should mention a great way to keep yourself trim. At JoyRiders, they provide a great alternative to getting on your bike and weaving about in the traffic to try and get fit. With a studio of state-of-the-art static bikes and a fully-interactive screen, you can pedal away under the guidance of a tutor without the worries of breathing in car fumes. There is even a beginners’ lesson in indoor cycling, including bike set-up and posture, with a maximum of three riders.
8 The York Column
Monument Green KT13 8BQ: allaboutweybridge.co.uk/aaw/monument_green_York_history
We bet many locals have wandered past this pillar on the green without realising the history behind it. Erected in 1822 in memory of Frederica, Duchess of York, who spent most of her married life at Oatlands in Weybridge, it was originally part of a great rebuilding programme following the Great Fire of London and was placed in St Giles. When this area became infamous for thieves and cut-throats, the column was eventually relocated here, minus its ‘Dial Stone’ that capped it. The stone itself can now be seen outside Weybridge Library a little further along the High Street.
9 Bachmanns Patisserie
32 Church Street KT13 8DX: 01932 820247 / bachmanns.co.uk
So who among our readers loves chocolate…? This little shop in Church Street is quite simply a celebration on a grand scale of all things chocolatey. Established in 1989 by Swiss-trained Ernst Bachmann, all the chocs here are handmade on the premises. Fresh cream truffles, candied fruit, dipping champagne, Maralumi and a huge chocolate lion anyone? Oh, yes, when Surrey Life dropped in to visit, Rory the chocolate lion was sitting on the counter saying simply… “Eat me…!” Made by Dan Ellis, Rory was for sale at £500 – but probably long gone by now. Not to worry, there are plenty more gorgeous chocs always available.
10 French Fancy’s Tea Salon
7-9 Church Street KT13 8DE: 01932 847562 / frenchfancysteasalon.co.uk
Tea is taken very seriously at French Fancy’s – as is food, jazz, cocktails and champagne. The concept behind this tea salon is to bring something different to the town with more than a passing nod to the ‘Roaring Twenties’ of glamour, sophistication and Art Deco. Offering breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, cocktails and more, this little gem has an astonishing range of brews – from Mayfair English Breakfast to Rose Congou Superior China Black (layered five times with rose petals of course…). And your tea arrives with a timer to give the perfect brew.
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