Surrey themed stocking fillers - buying local Christmas presents
With Christmas fast approaching, here we take a look around the county for some inspirational gift ideas with a special Surrey twist! Certainly beats another pair of socks...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2014
Head for the hills
Covering a quarter of our county, the rolling countryside of the Surrey Hills is one of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes – and a stunning new book has recently been published about the area. Written and photographed by local author Beata Moore, this journey through our county’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty could be perfect for the Surrey-phile in your life. The book is priced at £16.99 (RRP) – but Surrey Life readers can benefit from a special discount of £2 plus free postage (making a saving of £4.99). To take advantage, call 01823 653777 and quote ‘Surrey Life reader offer’.
• For more about the Surrey Hills book
- 1 7 autumn walks in Kent to delight the senses
- 2 12 historic village churches in Cheshire
- 3 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 4 6 waterfall walks in Derbyshire and the Peak District
- 5 20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire
- 6 Meet Maggie, GBBO's 70-year-old contestant from Dorset
- 7 Try this pretty, circular coastal walk at the Chidham Peninsula
- 8 5 great walks in and around Kendal
- 9 9 of the best places for coffee across Cornwall
- 10 20 of the best restaurants in Essex
A supersonic surprise
While Concorde may no longer take to the skies, Brooklands continues to celebrate its part in the birth of this spectacular aircraft. Concorde G-BBDG, the first plane ever to carry 100 people at twice the speed of sound (1,350 mph), can be found at their Weybridge site – and today you can participate in their Deluxe Concorde Experience. Enjoy Champagne service, the opportunity to sit on the flight deck, a briefing in the Members’ Bar and a visit to the Concorde Simulator, as well as entrance to the excellent Brooklands Museum. Perfect for the plane-lover in your life, the price is £25 per person.
• Details at brooklandsconcorde.co.uk
Celebrating with Surrey wine
With our most established vineyard, Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, still flying high, and the likes of Godstone Vineyard, Albury Vineyard and Greyfriars Vineyard all making their name, Surrey wine lovers are spoiled for choice. For one of Surrey’s best-kept secrets, why not check out the vintage bruts of Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2014 finalist, High Clandon Estate? Cheers!
State of the art
Here at Surrey Life, we’ve proudly supported the Surrey Artists Open Studios initiative for a number of years – so it’s always nice to be able to promote their latest exciting development. As always this Christmas, a number of their artists will be opening their studios to the public but, this year, you’ll also be able to buy selected works online from surreyopenstudios.org.uk until Tuesday December 23. The perfect way to get a truly unique gift and support our county’s artists.
• For more information, see surreyopenstudios.org.uk
Normally at this time of the year, we suggest adopting an animal from one of our favourite Surrey attractions. And while that’s still a noble idea, this year the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield has something a little different for the children in your lives. Their characterful red squirrels have delighted ever since Dame Judi Dench officially opened their special enclosure a few years ago, but now the centre has created Pip the Squirrel in their image – and you can take this one home with you in the form of a brand-new DVD featuring six episodes of adventures. Featuring a mix of animation, real-life footage and songs, the DVD is priced at £8.99.
• For more details, see the website at pipthesquirrel.co.uk
A lot of bottle
Surrey’s brewing industry is thriving, with our county’s established brewers being joined by a host of microbreweries and pubs launching bespoke beers. Perhaps the most interesting new release, however, has been the Hog’s Back Brewery’s chocolate lager – a collaboration with Sussex chocolatier Montezuma’s. Already awarded gold at the International Beer Challenge 2014, we can think of plenty of people who’d be happy to find this under the tree!
Hollywood actor, distinguished director and now purveyor of perfumes... Is there no end to the talents of Richmond resident Richard E Grant? The self- proclaimed ‘perfumed ponce’ released his own unisex fragrance, Jack, earlier this year. At £95, it’s certainly a stocking filler for the more discerning folk in your lives.
• More details at jackperfume.co.uk
Memories of Surrey
Renowned for their stunning historic photography, the Frith Collection has produced a delightful book called Surrey County Memories, which is packed full of folklore, fascinating facts and pictures. They reveal a whole other side to Surrey you might never have seen before - or long to reminisce over. It's available for £14 and if you buy it from www.francisfrith.co.uk you can get it personalised for that special someone in your life.
A touch of glass
Okay, so your name in lights on a West End billboard or a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame may be some way off, but how about being celebrated in glass? Art-lovers in particular might enjoy supporting The Lightbox, the Woking gallery and museum that continues to make such a huge impact on our county’s art scene, with their new scheme. The names of the gallery’s original sponsors are already inscribed in the glass that runs from the main entrance and up the stairs, and this is your chance to join them. Space is limited and donations start from £50.
• Find out more by visiting their website at thelightbox.org.uk
Getrude Jekyll chinaware
Gertrude Jekyll was one of the nation's greatest gardeners and she lived at Munstead Wood near Godalming. The town's museum (01483 426 510) has an exclusive range of fine chinaware, decorated with the purple Iris Stylosa painted by Gertrude Jekyll.
Taking to the air
If you or a loved one have ever dreamt about piloting a plane, then take a spin over to Redhill Aerodrome. There, you’ll find Cubair flight training and the chance to take trial flying lessons as a taster for a full private pilot’s licence – and, for the more adventurous, there is even the opportunity to embark on an aerobatics training course! Half-hour flights start just short of £100, with further options available. Why not make a day of it, by grabbing lunch in the aptly-named (and hugely popular) Pilot’s Hub café at the airfield.
• For more information on the options available, visit the Cubair website at cubair.co.uk
The best of Surrey Life
Finally, we’d love you to join our journey around the county throughout 2015. Whether it’s for you or the Surrey-phile in your life, there are great savings to be had at subscriptionsave.co.uk. Get Surrey Life magazine delivered direct to your door every month (or take advantage of the digital version for your tablet device) and use the annual savings towards one of our other stocking filler suggestions!
• More at subscriptionsave.co.uk