Some of the best things to see and do in Oxted
- Credit: Archant
With beautiful countryside on its doorstep, appealing architecture and a stylish shopping and dining mix, Oxted is a great launchpad for exploring the best of east Surrey and the North Downs
Stretching out at the foot of the North Downs, among sprawling east Surrey countryside, the Tudor-style buildings that are prominent in Oxted give the town its own individual character.
Fundamentally, it's a town that's split in two by the railway, which came to the town in 1884, with shopping and dining to be mainly had on Station Road West and Station Road East.
As well as the fascinating architecture, there are several swanky salons and fashion boutiques that are likely to catch the attention of the keen-eyed fashionista. Opened in 2018, one of these, Jules ladies' fashion boutique, (run by actor Jamie Forman and his wife, Jules) has set out with the aim to create a little piece of the French Riviera in this quintessentially British town and with their Mediterranean-style courtyard and a little imagination on a blue-sky day they might just pull it off.
They're not alone and with the likes of Elements, Ravery's and Gloss Hair & Spa, Oxted will certainly have visiting ladies' summer style ready in no time. The town's Everyman Cinema is almost iconic, having appeared in so many photos over the years, and it is now comfortably strewn with sofas for you to enjoy the latest blockbusters with a good wine, fine bubbles or decadent milkshake. Perfect date night material.
Eating out? With Cattle & Cocktail bringing a touch of glamour to a steak dinner, Cucina ready to whisk you off to the Mediterranean with its Italian cuisine, Brisk Burgers on hand for a quick but quality fix and Gurkha Kitchen and Thai Pad to appeal to the more adventurous palate, there are plenty of options.
As with so many towns in Surrey at the moment, there's always the waft of regeneration in the air with several projects slowly taking shape, including the delayed transformation of the town's disused gasholder site into new apartments and landscaped gardens, which is now underway.
Outside the town centre, there are also beautiful boltholes to visit such as Old Oxted, which is where the original community began and has a charming time capsule quality to it with numerous pubs, and Limpsfield, which is a separate village entirely but seems so interwoven that it would be remiss not to mention it. The latter, in particular, is a lovely little place and a gateway to Limpsfield Common and its wonderful Peter Rabbit's Post Office trail (presuming vandals haven't put an end to it, which is sadly an ongoing problem).
Then there's the Titsey Estate which is one of the largest surviving historic estates in Surrey. Found in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Titsey's impressive manor house, beautiful gardens and pedigree cattle, are one of our county's true hidden gems and have been home to some of the nation's most powerful families over the generations.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are also intimate gardens, such as Chauffeur's Flat and Little Court House, which open through the National Garden Scheme at various times of the year and are well worth keeping an eye out for.
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Oxted is a gateway to so much more in the perhaps too often overlooked east side of our county.
Whether your interests are in exploring countryside walking routes, such as the North Downs Way or Greensand Way, entertaining the kids at the park or relaxing with a glass of wine, a bite, a movie and friends, it's a charming place to live or visit.
- Master Park - Home to local sports teams and the children's playground that is always a hive of activity, Master Park is a fantastic green space in the heart of town. It has views of the ancient St Mary's Church, which has a tower dating back to the 12th century, and the North Downs beyond. As well as sports, it's a key gathering ground for the local community for events such as Oxted Carnival and Oxted Beer Festival.
- The Barn - Opened in 1924, The Barn, on Bluehouse Lane, claims to be Surrey's oldest community theatre. It is largely constructed of timbers from a local 13th century sawmill and home to two local groups in particular, Oxted Operatic Society and The Oxted Players.
- Old Oxted - Only a 15-minute walk from the modern town centre, Old Oxted is a lovely little jaunt down memory lane. Despite being just off the A25, it's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it place with several pubs, including the 16th century The Crown Inn and its family-friendly garden, and some chocolate box cottages.
- Titsey Place - One of the largest surviving historic estates in Surrey, Titsey Place and Gardens dates to the 16th century. Open to the public from 15 May until the end of September 2019, it's home to a gorgeous walled garden, a quaint tea room, a fine historic manor house and the Titsey Herd, a collection of pedigree Sussex cattle that graze the surrounding land.
- North Downs Way - A long-distance footpath from Farnham to the Kent Coast at Dover, the North Downs Way is 156 miles long, including a loop via Canterbury at the eastern end, and tracks the path of the historic Pilgrim's Way. With the North Downs visible from many spots in Oxted, it would be a shame not to go and explore them, right?
24 hours in…
- Morning - Start the day with some serious brunching at Toast on Station Road East, which is a creative coffee house that lives and breathes for the occasion and offers delicious dishes until 3pm - while they also host occasional late-night supper club openings. They also happen to own the nearby The Deli, which is a great spot for fresh bread, British charcuterie and cheese and seasonal nibbles.
- Afternoon - This point seems an opportune moment to go and explore a few of the independent shops the town boasts, perhaps continuing the stroll either to community run The Bull at Limpsfield or The Crown Inn in Old Oxted for some light refreshment should it be required.
- Evening - Depending on screening times, this is the perfect excuse to check out the latest hits at the Everyman Cinema. Before or after your showing, book into Cattle & Cocktail or Cucina to make an evening of it. Oxted is strangely lacking in places to stay, but if you don't fancy making early travel arrangements perhaps you could book into Chez Vous in Woldingham, the North Downs Way Shepherd Huts for something a little different or The Godstone Hotel - all will require a taxi, but let's not spoil the night, hey?!
If you live in the area then the Oxted Pram Race is unlikely to be a secret to you (it's been going since 1977). Every year in June or July, madcap locals don their best fancy dress to run the two thirds of a mile from Master Park to The Bell in Old Oxted, with the adults usually downing drinks at the various pubs along the way. It doesn't get much more British really, does it?! And there is also a serious point to the shenanigans as the event raises a lot of money for local charities.
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