Day 2. Exploring Godalming, Surrey

We’d both slept like logs in our cosy room at The Percy Arms in Chilworth and after enjoying a delicious cooked breakfast sat in the bay window of the charming country inn we drove into nearby Godalming.  The small town benefits from several town centre car parks and we easily found a space in the Crown Court pay and display conveniently located between the high street and the riverside (£3.60 for three hours).

Breakfast at The Percy Arms
Traditional breakfast at Percy Arms and I was lucky to get a double yolk egg

The picturesque town lies four miles from Guildford and stands on the banks of the River Wey.  In the 16th century Godalming was famed for its booming wool industry but when this went into decline the town managed to reinvent itself and become known for making stockings.  Lying just across the river is the world famous Charterhouse School which was founded in London in 1622 before moving to its present site in Godalming in 1872.

Tudor framed houses in Godalming
Tudor framed houses in Godalming

We began our walk around the town along its delightful high street lined with numerous timber framed buildings.  The high street was once part of the main road between London and Portsmouth and its quaint pubs were former coaching inns where travellers would stop to eat and rest overnight.

The Pepper Pot, Godalming
The Pepper Pot at the top of the High Street

At the top of the street stands the Pepper Pot, an unusual structure that has come to symbolise the town.  It takes this name because its cupola is said to resemble a Georgian pepper pot.  The building was the former town hall replacing an earlier timber framed building on the same site which was the market house.  The Pepper pot incorporates its original bell which chimes on the hour.  On market days (Tuesday and Saturday) the undercroft is still utilised as a small market which was taking place at the time of our visit.

Godalming Museum
Godalming Museum

Slightly further down the road we came across Godalming Museum (admission free).  Its interesting galleries tell the story of the town’s links to the ill fated Titanic and the fascinating fact that in 1851 Godalming was the first place in the world to have public electric street lighting.  The lamps were lit by a Siemens alternator driven by a water wheel.  Despite many townsfolk believing this to be a risky experiment, the street lighting gained widespread interest with larger installations soon following in both Norwich and Chesterfield.

Shops along Godalming's high street
Shops along Godalming’s high street

It was pleasing to find so many small family run shops still operating in the town including a butchers, fishmonger and greengrocers.  There’s also a good mix of high street favourites, small independents, pubs, restaurants and cafes making for a very attractive place to spend a few hours.

Godalming High Street
A view along Godalming’s high street

After exploring the town we followed signs to the riverside for a short walk along the meandering banks of the River Wey.  The Phillips Memorial Park overlooks the waterside with a Victorian bandstand and cloister.  The park was named after John George Phillips who was Chief Wireless Telegraphist on the infamous RMS Titanic which sank on its maiden voyage when it hit an iceberg in 1912.

The Phillips Memorial Cloister, Godalming
The Phillips Memorial Cloister

Phillips who was from Godalming, steadfastly remained at his post sending out distress messages in Morse code whilst the ship sank.  The people of Godalming remember him in several ways with a memorial cloister being constructed the following year through public donations to commemorate his selfless act and later a town centre pub was named in his honour.

Riverside Walk, Godalming
The Riverside Walk

After popping into a cosy cafe along the High Street for a spot of lunch, we returned to the car to drive the short distance to the village of Milford to visit Secretts, a local farm shop.  This award winning store on Chapel Lane is a must for all foodies with its wide range of gourmet food offerings.

Secrett's Farm Shop, MIlford
Secrett’s Farm Shop, Milford

Set on a 150 acre farm, the business was established in 1938 and produces a wide range of heritage fruit and vegetables.  There’s ample free parking, with the grounds having a duck pond and seasonal pick-your-own fruit and veg starting in April with the asparagus season, followed by rhubarb and soft fruit such as strawberries and raspberries.

Secrett's Farm Shop near Godalming
Home grown produce at Secrett’s Farm Shop

The traditionally styled farm shop contains a vast range of products displayed in an appealing manner with a huge selection of cheese, meat, fruit and vegetables.  There’s a cafe on site and with the grounds having picnic tables it would be a lovely place to visit on a warm summer’s day to pick up some goodies from the shop and then enjoy them outdoors.

Greyfriars VIneyard, Puttenham, Surrey
Greyfriars Vineyard at Puttenham

Moving on from there, we then set our SatNav for Puttenham so that we could visit an English vineyard for the first time.  Greyfriars Vineyard is located on the outskirts of Guildford on the sunny, gently sloping south facing slopes of the Hog’s Back.  The Cellar Door wine shop is open year round whilst tours of the vineyard take place from April through to autumn.  At other times visitors are welcome to collect laminated maps from the shop and follow a self-guided tour leading around the estate.

The Old Plot, Greyfriars Vineyard
The Old Plot at Greyfriars Vineyard

Despite it being mid-winter with little to see on the vines, one of the team members Aaron welcomed us to the vineyard and showed us around.  He suggested we pop on our boots as it could be quite muddy in places so we returned to the car for them then followed him on a tour of the vines.  We were taken to view the Old Plot first, so named because this is where the original hobby vineyard was planted in 1989 by the original owners Bill and Phil who were both vets.

Vines growing at Greyfriars Vineyard
Vines growing on the south facing slopes of the Surrey Hills

Now a little over 30 years old, its 1,500 Old Plot Chardonnay vines are used to produce Greyfriars Blanc de Blancs sparkling and Noor still wines.  Moving on, Aaron then showed us the newer vineyards on the other side of the main buildings.  He explained that these were added when Greyfriars was taken over by its current owner Mike Wagstaff, a geologist, and his wife Hilary who along with brother-in-law David Line set about expanding the vineyard.

Greyfriars Vineyard shop and tasting room, Puttenham, Surrey
Greyfriars Vineyard shop and tasting room, Puttenham, Surrey

Whilst we walked around, Aaron explained that the chalk geology of the North and South Downs is the same as that in Champagne, France making it ideal for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Alongside this, the climate of southern England is sufficiently warm and dry to produce high quality English sparkling and still wines.  The vineyard produces world class English sparking and still wines which have achieved recognition, scooping numerous awards with most recently its Pinot Noir Rosé Reserve taking gold at the 2021 International Wine Challenge.

Greyfriar's Vineyard tasting room, Puttenham, Surrey
The newly opened Greyfriar’s Vineyard tasting room

After concluding our tour of the vines we were then invited into the newly opened tasting room to sample some of the wines.  The tasting room has been stylishly designed with tables fashioned from oak barrels with a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling made out of Greyfriar’s tasting glasses.

Wine tasting at Greyfriars Vineyard
Wine tasting at Greyfriars Vineyard

We began by tasting a 2015 Blanc de Blancs which was refreshing with its crisp apple and lemon notes before moving onto the Noor still wine, a blend of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay with citrus and peach notes reminiscent of the surrounding Surrey Hills.  Both wines were very impressive comparing equally well if not better to ones we usually buy from France and Italy so it’s not surprising that English wine is fast gaining in popularity with an average of 15.5 million bottles produced annually.

Greyfriars Vineyard Tasting Room
Greyfriars Vineyard Tasting Room

Back at the hotel we relaxed in our cosy room awhile before enjoying dinner down in the elegant restaurant.  The Percy Arms is well renowned in Surrey for its grills and steaks so I decided to try one of their 10 oz rump steaks which arrived sizzling on the plate and was oh so tender.

My juicy steak at The Percy Arms, Chilworth
The juicy steak I had for dinner

Across the table my husband’s oven baked hake served on a potato cake with samphire was said to be equally delicious and our South African Shiraz hit the spot nicely too.  The end of a lovely day in the Surrey Hills.

 

If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like:

Reading – A Walk along the Thames

Newbury Canal Walk

 

If you use Pinterest please consider sharing and pinning the image below:

Godalming, Surrey

 

34 thoughts on “Day 2. Exploring Godalming, Surrey

  1. Both my sons went to sixth form college in Godalming, so I know the town very well. Secretts is a gem and a great place to meet friends for coffee. However, Greyfriars Vineyard is new to me. How could such a place, have escaped my notice?! I’ll definitely be booking in a future visit. Thank you for another informative post, exploring my neighbourhood, Marion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ThingsHelenLoves

    I love that English wine making is holding it’s own and winning awards. And so much more enjoyable when you’ve been to the vineyard it all stems from. It must have been a bold move back in the day, starting a vineyard in England!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It must have been a bold move Helen but it paid off as their English wine is of such a high quality. I’ve visited vineyards in France, Germany and California but never before n the U.K. and I was very impressed! Thanks for taking an interest, Marion

      Like

    1. It was a lovely day exploring this part of Surrey Hannah. Everything was lovely including the farm shop and the English vineyard – memorable as it was the first English one I’d ever visited. Hope you’ve had a good weekend and thanks for commenting.

      Like

  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful time in the Surrey Hills. It looks like a lovely place to wander around. Thats’s great to hear that there are so many small family run shops still operating in the town. What better way to end the day than by going for a wine tour and tasting!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had no idea that England produced wine! This is a first for me! But to wine taste local Chardonnay sounds like the dream, and it goes to show that wine can be produced in unexpected places in the world. Glad you had a good time in Surrey!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Godalming looks utterly charming! One thing that I love about small English towns and villages, Godalming being a case in point, are the unexpected bits of history that one finds when visiting. In this case the connection to the Titanic and the first electric street lights in the world are fascinating details.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nothing like a Full English (Irish/Scottish) to get your day off to a good start. Love the old half timbered buildings. They seem almost organic as they bend and curve over time. Fascinating about the winery. Whodathunkit, but then who would have thought there was a good wine industry in our Nova Scotia. Thanks for sharing Marion. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely little town, Marion. I love its Tudor timber-framed houses, picture-perfect streets lined with artisan shops and the abundance of beauty spots. I am glad to hear you had a great time exploring Surrey which looks like an exciting and diverse place to visit that’s full of surprises. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The Pepper Pot – what a great name! And I agree, to still see family-operated shops these days are really great (it means they survived a difficult 2 years). Oh, I love a farmstall – Secretts looks like a great place to visit. How unique is that chandelier in the wine tasting room and the labels on the wine bottles looks so elegant. And to end the day with a juicy steak on your plate – sounds perfect to me!
    Thanks for another great share Marion, have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was another great day exploring Surrey Corna. I fell in love with Godalming with its half timbered homes and array of small shops. Greyfriars Vineyard was fascinating too as it was the first time I’d visited an English vineyard and their wines were excellent. I also liked the design of their labels with grapes forming a G, simple but elegant. Hope you both have a great weekend and thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.