Saturday, December 16, 2017

A day in Surrey AONB

There are loads of cute little places very near London where you can easily go for a day of picnic. This summer we went for a day to Surrey and visited a couple of places there - trek up Leith Hills, walk down the scenic village of Shere and stop in the Lavender fields. It felt like a very different day altogether, so close and yet so far from London life.

We started with a drive to Leith Hill from London. It was a short drive from the city and we were there in no time.  The roads were very busy with traffic at this time of the year, given it was summer. The drive took us through green areas of Surrey AONB (Area of Natural Beauty - I still find this name funny!) with roads covered by trees on both sides and dotted with small little villages with a mandatory church and lot of huge stone houses, some residential and some holiday homes!

London from Leith Hill
Our first stop was Leith hill. There were multiple parkings to choose from and then walk up the hill. And there were loads of round trails around too. We stopped at one of the closest stops, and walked up to the peak. It was a short walk of about 80 steps. And from the top, you can get a view of both London (London Eye and some Canary Whard buildings) and the English Channel on the other side! And maybe France too on a clear day 😊.

Tower on Leith Hill
There was a tower on top of the hill where you could go up and look around. And a cafe for the so many people around there on picnics. The view all around was of green English woods. You could even see the Leith House where Charles Darwin used to come and spend his summers. We spent some time sitting in the sun and eating some snacks.

Then we drove to a village nearby - Shere. I had been there before but this time we spent some time there exploring the village. We walked next to the village stream, the church, ate icecream and explored some of the interesting stuff being sold in the small shops. The stuff was different but not worth buying. Somehow prices outside London are also almost the same prices as London and never cheaper, wonder why!


Lavender Fields
Our last stop of the day in Surrey was the Lavender Farm in Banstea which was also close to Surrey. I have been there before, but it was fun to be there again. The purple lavender flowers extend till far, and you can buy a lot of lavender stuff from the shop. A nice place to go for the day. And as usual there were loads of crowds there, taking photoshoots in the purple fields. There is even a red telephone booth installed in the fields for exactly that purpose!

After some shopping there, we called it a day and came back to London. We did not have enough time, but there are loads of other such small places to visit in the area, some of which are Box Hill, Guildford and Newlands Corner - all close to Leith Hill. It was easy to come back quickly from there, and I have now noted Surrey for potential close day trips from London!

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