Things to do in Betchworth - village life
- Credit: Pete Gardner
Famously featured in the classic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral, the historic village of Betchworth retains plenty of olde worlde charm...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2015
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Having spent 18 years in the village as an antique furniture restorer, Graham Williams knows a thing or two about life in Betchworth.
Speaking from his workshop, a few yards from St Michael’s Church where he is the verger, he says: “It’s a very peaceful village with a strong sense of community surrounding the shop, the school and the church. We have a fantastic Post Office run by a lady called Debby, who helps everyone, and the school and the nursery consistently get outstanding OFSTED reports.”
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As a committed member of the church, Graham also helps to organise many of the concerts held there.
“We had a new organ installed last year and so now we have organ recitals,” he adds. “Next month (May), there is a concert with Ian le Grice, the well known musician, who will be accompanied by Crispian Steele-Perkins, the internationally acclaimed classical trumpeter.”
Making the headlines…
The village often seems to attract producers looking for interesting locations for their films – St Michael’s Church was famously used for the opening scenes of Four Weddings and a Funeral back in 1994. Also, the nearby old quarry – originally used for extracting lime for cement but now filled in – was used as a backdrop in a number of Dr Who episodes in the 1970s, including Genesis of the Daleks.
Did you know?
Betchworth has its own castle – albeit just outside the village. The privately-owned ruin stands on Betchworth Golf Course, just off the A25 between Brockham and Dorking. It is, in fact, a fortified medieval stone house, parts of which date back to the 11th century. Started as an earthwork fortress by Robert Fitz Gilbert, it underwent various alterations over the centuries. Oh, and yes, there is the proverbial ghost – this one a black “dog of death” that prowls the ruins at night – so best have a look during the day…
Grabbing a bite…
There are two pubs for a proper sit-down meal or the Post Office shop for a bite to take out.
The Dolphin, which you’ll find in The Street (tel 01737 842288), is a 17th century pub opposite the old forge. Head chef Mike Cousins and his team offer a plentiful menu with a tempting range of options, including a Sharer Board of honey mustard chipolatas, venison sausage rolls, potted duck and more, and main courses such as Slow-roasted Rabbit Stew and Dingley Dell Pork Belly.
Up the road and round the bend, so to speak, is The Red Lion at Old Road in Buckland (tel 01737 843336). Cask Marque accredited for their beers, the pub also has a large menu of home-cooked food – all sourced locally where possible. The set lunch caught our eye – for £15.50, you could have the Nutty Brie Wedges followed by Baked Cod in Parsley Butter and a Bread and Brandy Brioche to finish you off nicely!
Dates for the diary...
As we mentioned above, the one to look out for is the fabulous concert to be held in St Michael’s Church on Saturday May 9 with organist Ian le Grice and trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins. At time of going to press, times and ticket prices were still to be announced, but the church website should be able to help at stmichaelsbetchworth.net.
One other quick note for you – on the fourth Wednesday of every month (so April 22) – there is an Afternoon Drop-In where you will be made very welcome with a cup of tea and a slice of cake! It all happens at The Hamilton Room in Church Street from 2pm to 4pm. Contact Margaret Miller on 01737 842098 for details.
Betchworth has a railway station and is well served by buses that run through the village. It’s a No. 32 bus you need, which is a lovely journey from Guildford through villages such as Shalford, Albury, Shere, Abinger and Westcott – you are dropped off by the Post Office.
If you’re in a car, there are plenty of places to park, so set the satnav to RH3 7DE and you’ll arrive in the village.
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