Surrey’s celebs share their perfect day out in the county
- Credit: Archant
While this year’s Surrey Day on May 2 will be a virtual one, we look forward to when we are able once again to get out and about and celebrate all the county has to offer. We asked some of Surrey’s famous faces from past and present how they might spend their perfect day here | Compiled by: Rebecca Younger, Angela Sara West and Bernard Bale
Chef Aldo Zilli
“I love life in Surrey! I live in the Surrey Hills [in Bletchingly] and invested in a pro Pinarello bike so I can tackle the ups and downs of the hills. I also head to woodlands with my 14 and 11 year old-kids and my dog, exploring life in the wilds, cutting wood and lighting fires. Moving from a small place in Chelsea to having 10 times the space is amazing - I highly recommend it!”
Actor Bill Nighy
“I’d head to Caterham Valley, which has everything. Then in the evening I might go to the cinema although never to see one of my own films. I am not a pub person, although I know there are some nice haunts in the area. I gave up drinking some years ago. If it is a fine evening I might just sit out somewhere alongside the [River] Wandle and take a good book. I cannot think of anything or anywhere more peaceful.”
Actor Brian Blessed
“Just waking up is perfection but going outside on a summer’s day and breathing in the Surrey air is the best start to any day. The animals come first of course and when they are all happy I like to go into Windlesham because the people are lovely and the shops are excellent. Probably I’d then head for Chobham Common and especially to the highest point. It is not a mountain but it is none-the-less spectacular.”
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Dancer, fitness instructor and chef, Flavia & Jimmy Mistry-Casace
“Our perfect Surrey day would probably be a long walk in Whitmoor and Rickford Commons with our two dogs Pablo and Zak. It’s about 410 acres and has a variety of heathland habitats, areas of woodland, meadow and streams. Pablo & Zak love it, we then enjoy a well deserved pit stop at the Jolly Farmer.”
Actress Emma Barton
“I came to this county to study Musical Theatre at the Guildford School Of Acting. I live in the Surrey Hills, and luckily for me, walking is a hobby of mine with my beautiful Parsons Russell Terrier ‘Poppy Dog’. My perfect Surrey day would be a walk from Hambledon church through the beautiful fields and then stop for a cup of tea and a sausage roll at Hambledon Village Shop.
“This is owned and brilliantly run by the local villagers, who all volunteer and provide us with a lovely little café (which, in addition to the homemade sausage rolls, also serves delicious cakes), shop and post office which overlooks the cricket green. A perfect little spot to relax and take in the countryside before heading back and saying ‘hello’ to the beautiful horses in the neighbouring fields.”
HM Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneaux
“Whether you are a resident or a visitor to Surrey, the county has much to offer. Whether it is the stunning scenery and the Surrey Hills, together with its dense woodland or the opportunity if walking along the many miles of footpaths, exploring villages and their pubs, visiting gardens and parks of world renown, art galleries, places of historic interest, the list is indeed endless. With a population of 1.2 million and being within easy reach of London and the coast, we who live here are indeed very fortunate.”
Fitness expert Joe Wicks
“I’d jump on my bike in the morning and go on a ride up to Box Hill, where I’d do a couple of climbs followed by a coffee. Then home to pick up my wife and kids for a lovely bit of lunch somewhere like No.1a Duke Street [Richmond].
“We’d then sit on Richmond Green with an ice cream from Gelateria Danieli. From there, we’d go for a lovely walk along the river up to Richmond Park, where we’d have walk and a picnic in the park before making our way home. In the evening, we’d just chill out and get an early night, I reckon!”
Actress and presenter Julie Peasgood
“My perfect day in Surrey would be to walk along the towpath from my home in Richmond to Teddington, and then head up the pretty High Street and stop for coffee, lunch or some shopping. I’d then catch a river boat to Hampton and spend the afternoon visiting Hampton Court Palace, which I love. Supper would be at The Dysart in Ham, recently awarded its first Michelin Star - and a worthy recipient!”
Retail magnate Theo Paphitis
“My perfect Surrey day is walking in the local countryside in the woods [near Weybridge] when the sun is shining, with my faithful dog Gladys. We are so lucky in Surrey to have so many beautiful spots to walk in, but I don’t want to reveal my favourites - or you’ll all be there!”
Sir Richard Stilgoe
“My best Surrey days are when I get the whole lot together – me, my wife, five children, five partners, 13 grandchildren. It doesn’t matter where we are. One of the best days is not actually in Surrey at all, because once a year we go and watch Surrey play against a bitter rival at the Oval – which used to be in Surrey when I was a boy, but isn’t any more.
“But the Oval is one of Surrey’s glories, and one of my second homes, and to be there when it’s happy and noisy and I am surrounded by the happy, noisy family I love makes me truly happy. I don’t even care who wins the game. As long as it’s Surrey!”
“I think you have to learn how to relax and one of the most relaxing places on the planet is to be alongside the Thames in the county in which I was born,” she said. “I think that the perfect day for me in Surrey would be to have a slow waking up on Sunday morning and then go for a walk. Probably to Walton because there is such a lovely view up and down the river from there and the marina always has such a lovely feeling.
“There would be a pub lunch to follow at one of the wonderful pub restaurants – perhaps the Anglers where you can eat right alongside the river. Then home for a relaxing afternoon before going out in the evening, maybe to the beautiful Richmond Theatre to see a play or a show. That’s the Surrey I like, especially since wherever you are in this county you never have to travel very far to find lovely spaces and really nice shops and restaurants. I must visit again very soon.”
Sir Kenneth Branagh
“When I am home I decide I am going to do nothing but then I have my mind changed by the dogs so off we go for a walk, perhaps to Chobham which they thoroughly enjoy. I like the area and I love the dogs so we are all happy. The choice of great places for lunch is amazing so we will go somewhere near and then the afternoon is free for just relaxing, watching some football – I am a Tottenham fan – or perhaps visiting friends who live nearby.
“Brian Blessed is a good pal and it is always a joy to spend time with him – especially since he also lives in Surrey and almost walking distance. I am not great at shopping but we have so many superb shopping areas in this county that there is rarely any real need to go anywhere else.”
TV investigative reporter and Guildford resident Mark Williams-Thomas
“My perfect day in Surrey would be to walk around Guildford rugby club, remembering the old times, and then a walk along the canal path into Godalming, stopping off at a coffee shop for a caramel latte and a chocolate brownie. I would then wander back and feed the ducks and swans on the Broadwater lake.”
Owner of Prestige Pawnbrokers in Weybridge and star of Channel 4’s Posh Pawn, James Constantinou
“My perfect day would be a stroll around Wisley Woods or a visit to the beautiful RHS Gardens followed by lunch at one of the dozens of waterside pubs. The Anchor, in Pyrford, springs to mind, but here in Surrey they are numerous. We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to spending quality time in this glorious county… It’s my home, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!”
Child star-turned-singer/songwriter/ Riva Taylor (aka Becky Tayor)
“The day would start with a morning walk at Polesden Lacey, followed by lunch in The Garden House at Beaverbrook in Leatherhead. A new favourite spot, I’ve spent many occasions there with friends and family for lunch, drinks and golf!
“I went to secondary school in Guildford, so I would spend the afternoon wandering around its cobbled streets and shops before heading back for dinner in a local pub. Somewhere like the Queen’s Head in Clandon, which has always been a favourite.”
Modern impressionist painter, Mickleham-based Sherree Valentine-Daines
“I’m so lucky that we live in such a beautiful part of the countryside here in Mickleham. At the moment, I have all my family living with us, including our two grandchildren, so our days consist of family time together. My perfect day is in the garden digging, planting and playing games in the evening after enjoying a family supper.
“Walks across the fields and the lanes nearby with our wonderful dog Celery make you appreciate what’s on our doorstep even more… like Boxhill, Ranmore and Leith Hill. I so enjoy walking the lovely Surrey Hills - all have wonderful view points, and I particularly enjoy the fact that I can get a cup of tea and cakes at each beauty spot! My parents are also local, and they love Newlands Corner, again a wonderful view point with a great café with very pleasant staff as well!”