10 things to see and do in West Byfleet
- Credit: Lucy Atkinson
Conveniently perched along the Basingstoke Canal and Wey Navigation, West Byfleet is surrounded by some of the area’s top tourist attractions and home to a growing food and drink empire...
When people talk about the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation, Brooklands, they tend to reference Weybridge rather than West Byfleet but they’re both in fact bang on its doorstep – along with the fabulous Brooklands Hotel, the infamously luxuriant St George’s Hill estate and the uber exclusive The Wisley golf club, among other highlights. They’ve done amazing work at Brooklands Museum in the past decade to ensure it is one of the most exciting tourist attractions in the area, whether you’re a Top Gear fanatic, Biggles aficionado or lover of all things vintage, futuristic or just downright fascinating.
Brooklands Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge KT13 0QN
Back in the heart of town, you’ll find a unique children’s role play world that will keep kids entertained for hours. With a variety of themed rooms, including a medical centre, supermarket, construction site, school and theatre, Little Street creates a play town that helps to fire children’s imaginations. We’ve heard of parents finding the lure of acting the train driver, conductor or passenger on the large train too much to resist! They are open seven days a week, with various slots available from 9.30am to 5pm.
Little Street, 42 Station Approach, West Byfleet KT14 6NE
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Perhaps, on first glance, an unlikely spot to be home to a growing foodie empire – but zoom out a touch on the map and all becomes clear. West Byfleet is equidistant to Woking and Weybridge, with both only a short 15 minute drive away. Owned by Ben Piette and Lornette Valentine, the highly-rated London House restaurant (you’ll find Surrey Life’s recent review at surreylife.co.uk) is now the meat in a rather delicious foodie sandwich. You’ll find their deli (The Pantry) and wine bar (Camouflage) on either side. We recommend their chef’s table, which is situated inside the kitchen itself.
London House, 30 Station Approach, West Byfleet KT14 6NF
Having recently celebrated their third birthday, Sweet Passion Cakes have undoubtedly been improving everyone in the village’s own celebrations ever since throwing open their doors. Step inside and you’re whisked off to Parisian streets by the deliciously decadent selection at this artisan patisserie. From a rainbow display of macarons to flaky layers of almond croissant, you’re sure to find a naughty little treat to improve your day. As an added bonus, on the first Sunday of every month, they offer elegant afternoon teas served on three tier cake stands. Sundays of dreams…
Sweet Passion Cakes, 59 Old Woking Road, West Byfleet KT14 6LF
A butcher’s shop for more than 100 years, James Lowe took over the premises in 2013 and they almost exclusively use The Rare Breed Meat Company. From Boston butts to brisket, burgers to British Angus steaks and sausages to spatchcock chicken, if you’re looking to fire up your barbecue this month then you can’t go wrong with a visit to their shop. Did you know that they also organise The Big Meat, a huge barbecue festival held at Pierrepont Farm near Farnham every August? Just in case you were doubting their credentials for any reason…
JL Butchers, 20 Station Approach, West Byfleet KT14 6NF
While some people see the game as a source of great frustration and a strange way to ruin a relaxing walk, there’s no doubting that golf and Surrey go together like a crisply hit driver onto a perfectly manicured green. In West Byfleet, the club that’s synonymous with the town is found less than a 10 minute walk from the train station. Established in 1906, West Byfleet Golf Club is a traditional members club and highly-rated among those who know their pitch from their putt. Of course, if you fancy a swing at some of the area’s more hyper exclusive golf clubs, like Queenwood, New Zealand and The Wisley, you better start networking like a Masters green jacket champion.
Sheerwater Road, West Byfleet KT14 6AA
With the Basingstoke Canal to the north and Wey Navigation to the east, West Byfleet isn’t all about roaring motor vehicles and top car marques at the local golf club. Life takes an altogether more relaxed pace along the river and Byfleet Boat House is a celebration of the Wind in the Willows ideal. Potter off one way in your canoe, dinghy, cruiser or narrowboat and you’ll find Guildford or head downstream to the River Thames. The original Byfleet Boat Club was built by philanthropist and socialite, Frederick Cornelius Stoop, who was an important figure in the Shell and Royal Dutch petroleum companies.
Byfleet Boat Club, 4 Old Parvis Road, West Byfleet KT14 6LE
If you fancy a picturesque walk in the English summer sun, then it’s possible to head out of West Byfleet along the River Wey Navigation, down passed the popular Anchor pub at Pyrford Lock, near RHS Wisley, onto the stunning Newark Priory ruins and into the beautiful village of Ripley. All in just over an hour at a decent pace – and without getting lost in the countryside, of course. The Wey Navigation, which opened in 1653, was one of the first navigable rivers in the country.
Flowing through Hampshire and Surrey, the Basingstoke Canal originally ran from Basingstoke to its junction with the River Wey Navigation, 37 miles away between West Byfleet and Byfleet. Today, 32 miles of the original navigation have been restored for boaters, walkers, canoeists, anglers and naturalists. It has 29 locks; all but one in Surrey. As an aside, The Basingstoke Canal Society was recently selected for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service thanks to their efforts to maintain and promote the waterway.
Little more than a 10 minute drive out of town, you’ll find the RHS’ flagship garden at Wisley and its always spectacular blooms. Opened last summer, the exotic garden should be perfect to visit around this time of the year and, while there’s always something special to see at Wisley, make sure to keep your diary free for the RHS Wisley Flower Show from Tuesday September 4 to Sunday September 9. Last year’s show was opened by the esteemed chef Raymond Blanc.
Wisley Lane, Wisley GU23 6QB