Thursday, 17 October 2013

Shere, "the village that stood still"

Think of your favorite film ... now think of where it was set. 
The Holiday is mine ... and Shere is where it was filmed. 

This picturesque English village is one not to be missed. With its adorable thatched cottages, tudor style pub, friendly museum keepers, ancient church and lovely tea room ... (I could go on forever). I've seen it described as "the village that stood still" and "the village that never changed", both are quite appropriate, as I felt like I'd stepped back in time. 

I've wanted to visit this lovely corner of the world ever since I watched The Holiday for the first time, a day I will never forget - Andrew had just left Washington after visiting for a few weeks. I was very upset. After speaking to him after he'd arrived in England, he recommended that I watch the Holiday and "think about how nice it will be to visit England someday soon". That night, I sat up in bed and dreamt of visiting the village that Cameron Diaz calls "idyllic" in the film. 

Upon arrival, we had a great time meeting some of the locals and hearing their stories about how the seemingly quiet village has almost always been used as a backdrop for films and television. After visiting a very welcoming museum and grabbing a very fancy hot chocolate and some cakes from the Dabbling Duck, we set off to find the site of "Rosehill Cottage". It felt so strange to be standing where the magnificent little cottage from the film once stood. (originally made of fiberglass, it has since been taken down). 

After wandering and doing a bit of shopping in the Shere Shop (the cutest gift shop ever) we ended our wonderful day at the White Horse with a Kopparberg, lasagna, salmon salad and an Irish Creme. 

It was the day my dreams became memories.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Painshill Park, Cobham

Last weekend Andrew and I did a fair amount of exploring in Surrey. For a few years now, I've been dying to visit the Surrey hills, as they are the setting of my most favorite film, The Holiday (post to follow). After an hour drive on the M25, and before making our way to Shere, a small village in Guildford, we visited Painshill Park. I chose it as a sort of "day starter". We packed a lunch and visited each fairytale landmark on the incredible 18th century landscape grounds. I was amazed by the pristine follies and bridges, the unique crystal grotto and Rapunzel-like gothic tower. The forest was ever so enchanting and filled with wildlife. It was a refreshing start to a great day.