What To Do In and Around West Horsley
Set within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and situated in the Borough of Guildford, the delightful village of West Horsley is flanked by 255 acres of ancient woodland at Sheepleas woods and nature reserve.
It was also, for a period, home to Beatrix Potter. While living with her uncle and aunt at Tyrrellswood cottage, she wrote some of her books and created many of her paintings.
Whether or not you are as artistic or creatively inspired, West Horsley is a wonderful place to live.
And in this blog post, we share some of the best things to see and do in the area.
Places of Interest
What do Henry VIII, Guy Fawkes and Bamber Gascoigne have in common?
They all have connections with West Horsley Place, a Grade I listed medieval manor house and estate. Run by a charitable trust, it hosts an abundance of events – from opera and classical music concerts to a nooks and crannies tour, art workshops and theatrical performances.
Other delights in the area include:
Hatchlands Park, where you will find over 400 acres of sweeping parkland sheltering a country house;
RHS Garden Wisley, the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society and one of the great gardens of the world;
The modern ruin and garden at Clandon Park;
And the beautiful Edwardian country retreat of Polesden Lacey, where the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother spent the first part of their honeymoon in 1923.
Family days out
If you or your children have ever fancied feeding some meerkats or cuddling a coati then Hobbledown is the place for you. Other popular activities include a zookeeper experience and handling birds of prey in Hobbledown’s Raptor Centre. With 50 acres of adventure, the park also offers zorbing, a high ropes course and an indoor playbarn.
Meanwhile, Chessington World of Adventures Resort has something for everyone in the family, with a zoo, rides & attractions, a sea life centre and much more.
And award-winning Stoke Park is Guildford’s largest and most popular park. There’s lots to do, from exploring the recently restored Japanese garden or sailing model boats on the boating pond to trying your hand at mini golf and having fun in the playground or paddling pool.
Stoke Park is also home to excellent sports facilities, including rugby, football, cricket, lacrosse, rounders, athletics, tennis and netball.
Effingham Golf Club is ranked by Golf World as England’s finest downland golf course and one of England’s top 100 courses.
In East Horsley, The Drift’s par 73 course was co-designed by three-time Open Champion Sir Henry Cotton. The club also has its own state-of-the-art driving range.
West Horsley village is served by a doctor’s surgery, a post office and a variety of local shops, including a pet shop and garden centre.
Crossroads Stores is a hub for local, artisan produce. Cheesemonger Jenni can help you with tasting notes for the shop’s selection of cheeses, wines, beers and spirits. You can buy fresh flowers, wreaths and a variety of sandwiches and baked goods daily, as well as fresh bread from the Hungry Guest bakery on Fridays and Saturdays.
In East Horsley, F. Conisbee & Son is the oldest family butchers in Surrey. Currently run by the ninth generation of the Conisbee family, all their meat comes from either their own farm or other local farms endorsed for the same high standards of farming husbandry.
Equestrian facilities at Woolgars Farm include livery stables, an outdoor school and a beautiful cross country course, with 30 jumps set over eight miles of horse-friendly hacking. The farm is also home to the Flying Goats’ Dairy – Surrey’s only licensed seller of raw goat milk.
If you are looking for real horsepower, though, Bell & Colvill is an official franchise dealer for Lotus, Morgan and Subaru, as well as being a Saab specialist and approved by McLaren for after sales.
Food and Drink
Enjoy fine dining at Michelin-starred The Clock House Restaurant, housed in a beautiful Georgina building right in the centre of nearby Ripley.
Also in Ripley is The Talbot, owned by Marco Pierre White. Serving lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, it is one of England’s finest coaching inns. Dating back to 1453, it was a frequent hitching post for Lord Nelson.
In West Horsley itself, you will find The King William IV – a traditional ale house since 1830, when local miller Edmund Collins knocked two Georgian cottages together. Taking advantage of a new law, he and his daughters brewed ale in the back of their converted cottages and sold it through the front windows of the pub.
For the oldest ale house in West Horsley, head over to The Barley Mow, which has been serving ale since at least 1568. A more recent but welcome addition is its extensive Thai dinner menu. There is also a tasty selection of Thai dishes available for lunch, alongside more traditional pub classics.
Over in East Horsley, The Duke of Wellington is a country gastro pub run by the Peach Foundation. Sitting just across the road from the former gatehouse to Horsley Towers, with its mock-medieval turrets, the pub owes its striking appearance to Lord Lovelace’s Victorian passion for decorative brickwork.
Local vineyards and distilleries
Family-run Albury Organic Vineyard grows traditional Champagne varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as well as some Seyval and Pinot Gris. In addition to its popular vineyard tour & tasting, it runs wine & cheese, Friday fizz, biriyani & bubbles, and artisan tasting experiences. Other events include music in the vineyard and bee-keeping demonstrations.
And a short walk from West Horsley Place is father-and-son-run Mews Gin Company, a small-batch artisan gin distiller that uses the vapour distillation method. The distillery partners with West Horsley Place to produce its damson and sloe gins.