England’s best vineyard experience

High Clandon Estate Vineyard

It is hard to think of a better day out than visiting High Clandon Estate Vineyard in the Surrey Hills.  The award-winning boutique vineyard produces sparkling English wines from a trio of champagne grapes that mature at least five years.


The charming couple, Sibylla and Bruce Tindale, is knowledgeable and passionate about wine and openly welcome guests to enjoy the wonders of their wildflower meadow, truffle orchard and glass barn. It is no wonder the International Wine Challenge and VisitEngland named High Clandon ‘England’s best vineyard experience’.

This year’s 'Art in the Vineyard' event takes place July 19th until August 2nd (11 am - 4 pm daily) and features artwork by 150 Surrey artists and the launch of their Endymion Cuvée 2015 vintage. A voluntary donation of £5 per person is requested and a percentage of every purchase of art or wine supports a children’s charity, Cherry Trees.

With plenty of fresh, wide open spaces and beautiful views, it is a perfect place to come out of covid hibernation. Cheers to summer in the vineyard!
www.highclandon.co.uk+44 1483 225660
East Clandon, Surrey, GU47RP

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Wimbledon plays on

Tune in June 29—July 12

Over its 125-year history, Wimbledon has only been cancelled two other times, World Wars I and II. Despite the cancellation due to coronavirus, the All England Club (AETC) launched Wimbledon Recreated campaign in advance of it scheduled run from June 29th — July 12th. The promotional video montage narrated by BBC commentator Andrew Cotter includes footage of Novak Djokovic, Simona Halep, Serena Williams and other special guests reliving favorite traditions of the oldest and most famous tennis tournament in the world.

While ‘The Greatest Championships’ will not be the same this year, the 50 hours of programming will certainly be unique. IBM has been working behind-the-scenes to assemble new digital content and the BBC will run daily shows with special guests and the best matches in Wimbledon’s history. In-studio guests will include legendary players Boris Becker, Tim Henman and John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova via video along with current players.


The public will also have a chance to play along — including quizzes, votes, a special version of Tetris on Facebook, opportunities to have trick shots reviewed and even asking for a Wish from Wimbledon to be granted.

To ensure that the Wimbledon spirit continues long after the programming ends, there are tips on how to create the Wimbledon look at home, including Wimbledon colored florals and lawn care tips.

Now all that awaits is a pint of Pimm’s and some strawberries with cream!
www.wimbledon.com

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Holiday by book

With over three months at home, most of us are probably caught up on Netflix, consumed digital content of closed museums and cancelled events — not to mention countless Zoom calls. If you need screen relief from too much tech time, but aren’t quite ready to travel — venture out to two of the ‘world’s most iconic bookstores’ in London:

Daunt Books — The two-story Edwardian style branch in Marylebone was originally established in 1910 and is considered one of the first custom-built bookshops in the world. James Daunt founded Daunt Books in 1990 and is known for specializing in travel books — all neatly organized geographically by country. Additionally, Daunt is an executive of Waterstones and more recently Barnes & Noble. If there is even a touch of the charm similar to the Marleboyne location, book lovers are in for a treat.
www.dauntbooks.co.uk+44 2072 242295
83-84 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW


Word On the Water Located canal side near King’s Cross railway station, a 1920s Dutch barge has been repurposed into a charming floating bookstore also known as The London Book Barge. Operating since 2011, they were able to cleverly open up as an outdoor market beginning June 1st by only selling selections from their exterior shelves and have continued their tradition of treating passer-bys with live music performances. One can only hope that other floating businesses may pop-up in the future.
www.wordonthewater.co.uk+44 7976 886982
York Way, Granary Square, London, N1C 4LW

While the two shops could not be more different, they have both mastered the art of getting people to travel for the experience of buying a book in person — which might be all we are comfortable with for a while!
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Chelsea Flower Show Virtual Views

Horticulture from home

Thanks to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and its 520,000+ members, the world’s most famous flower show opened online earlier this week. This is only the third time in the history of the Chelsea Flower Show that it had to be cancelled — the first two was World War I and World War II.

Virtual Chelsea runs through May 23rd and features talks by famous garden designers and experts, behind-the-scenes tours, activities for kids and more — streamed throughout the day along with its usual BBC broadcasts. Just some of the segments so far:

Ironically, this year’s show coincides with Mental Health Week and perhaps now more than ever people are realizing just how important gardens and green spaces are especially during lockdown. RHS is encouraging people to share images of their favorite flowers and green spaces. Even the members of Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have all shared their favorite flowers #mychelseagarden.

With the opening of local garden centres, there is no better time to stop and smell the roses — and perhaps even plant one too!

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Downton Abbey from Home

It is hard to imagine that it was just over a year and a half ago that Downton Abbey returned to the big screen after nearly a four-year hiatus. For fans, it was like catching up with old friends and a bit of an escape from the everyday.

Sadly, Highclere Castle which served as the main film location for the television series and movie has been closed since March 23rd due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, despite being closed to the public, the real-life residents of Highclere Castle, Lord and Lady Carnarvon are still graciously hosting fans from around the world.


‘At Home at Highclere Castle Fridays’
Airs on Viking TV at 11 am PST
The first episode featuring the historic library aired April 3rd can be watched here along with subsequent episodes. Best-selling author, Lady Carnarvon, takes viewers behind-the-scenes sharing details on items found in the room, highlighting the important role the castle has played over the years and fielding questions from the viewers.

‘Virtual Cocktail Party at Highclere Castle’
Takes place every other Friday via Highclere Castle Gin Facebook Live 1 pm PST
The first party took place April 17th in the Library with Lord and Lady Carnarvon sipping period '20s and '30s cocktails (made with Highclere Castle Gin of course), discussing the history of the castle, filming of Downton Abbey and answering questions posted by fans. The event proved so popular, they hosted a second event on May 1st in the Drawing Room and will continue every other week.

Much like the Crawleys in Downton Abbey, spending time with the Carnarvons is like catching up with old friends and a welcome escape from the everyday.

No doubt when Highclere Castle opens again, we will all be cordially invited to visit having gotten to know them and the ‘Real Downton Abbey’ just a bit better!

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Surrey Walks

What to look for

With sunny skies and warmer temperatures, everyone is eager to spend time outdoors. While the best way to protect yourself from Covid-19 is to stay-at-home, exercising once a day is still encouraged. Luckily, Surrey has over 2,100 miles of footpaths to explore — here’s what to look for:


Bluebells Considered England’s favorite wildflower, bluebells typically begin blooming in April and peak in May creating violet-blue carpet on forest floors. The UK is home to nearly half of the ancient blue bluebell woodlands in the world. Checkout the Be careful when walking since it can take years for bluebells to recover from damage. Hopefully with less foot traffic, the displays will be even more stunning in the years to come.


Geocaches Number 49 out of 50 on National Trust's 'Things to do before your 11-3/4' is Geocaching. Before smartphones, you had to rely on a physical somewhat clunky GPS, but now all you need is to download an app and you are ready to go. Basically, you follow coordinates and clues to find a hidden box known as 'caches'. Inside you'll find a logbook and potentially trinkets left by others before you. Apparently, Geocaching is even popular among celebrities with Anthony Bourdain, Melissa Joan Hart and Hugh Jackman all playing along.
www.geocaching.com



Painted Rocks A non-tech treasure hunt involves reading clues on Surrey Rocks! Facebook group and hiding and seeking painted rocks. Once you find one, take a photo of where you found it and post it to the site – or you can hide it somewhere else and post a clue instead (a lot of people choose to keep their first rock and re-hide others they find). You can also decorate and hide rocks of your own for someone else to find. Beyond making someone’s day, you’ll also be able to see how far they have gone — since people will take them on holiday. Of course, once the travel ban is lifted!

Note : *Since it is unknown how long Covid 19 stays alive on different surfaces – it is probably best to not touch your finds for the time-being


Hope everyone finds a bit of joy outside!

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Open for Business

As the lockdown continues and trips from home are limited, here are a list of Surrey shops and restaurants that are still open for business:

Out of necessity
In case you are not having luck at your local supermarket, some farm shops may have what you are looking for . . .

Garson’s Farm Shop (Esher) — Over 65's and vulnerables can shop before the store opens to the pubic Monday – Saturday 8 am – 9 am and Sunday 10 – 11 am and have groceries delivered their cars (includes NHS and other key staff).
www.garsons.co.uk+44 1372 460181
Winterdown Road, West End, Esher KT10 8LS



Priory Farm (Nutfield) — Priory Farm Shop is offering free delivery on orders over £50 and within a 5-mile radius. Public opening hours are 9 am – 1 pm (keyworkers are able to shop until 5 pm).
www.prioryfarm.co.uk+44 1737 823304
Sandy Lane, South Nutfield, Redhill, Surrey RH1 4EJ


Squire’s Garden Centre (Multiple) — The Squire’s Food Hall - Frensham features locally sourced products and Food Shop - Badshot Lea has essential food items are the only locations open. Their Garden Centres are accepting orders of £50 or more with free delivery within 7-mile radius.
www.squiresgardencentres.co.uk




Break from the kitchen
If you need a break from the seemingly endless stacks of dishes, let someone else do the cooking . . .
Carlo's Trattoria (Guildford) — Considered Guildford’s Best Loved Italian, Carlos Trattoria has been around for over 30 years. They have a weekly set menu and individual dishes both chilled and frozen along with a selection of house wines with collection from their car park.
www.carlostrattoria.com+44 1483 224180
Shere Road, Newlands Corner, Guildford GU4 8SE


Meat the Greek (Guildford) — This small cafe serves delicious gyros, kebabs and souvlaki – add an order of homemade tzatziki sauce served with pita bread and fries with feta sauce – you have a meal. Order online for collection or delivery.
www.meatthegreek.co.uk+44 1483 458644
15 Chapel Street, Guildford GU1 3UL



Lift the spirits
While pubs and breweries are closed, how to make staying at home more bearable . . .
Denbies Wine Estate (Guildford) — Denbies is offering on-line wine sales with 20% discount on 6 bottles or more. Collection available Monday – Friday 10 am – 3 pm or by delivery.
www.denbies.co.uk+44 1306 876616
London Road, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6AA


Silent Pool Distillers (Albury) — Silent Pool has stay at home gin bundles, including Date Night and Summer Garden. They are offering free Silent Treatment hand sanitiser with gin orders, 20% discount for NHS and emergency services staff and free delivery for orders over £50 for everyone.
www.silentpooldistillers.com+44 1483 229136
Shere Road, Albury, Surrey GU5 9BW


*Note : Easter weekend opening hours and delivery may vary from the ones listed above.

Hopefully it will not be too long before these restaurants and shops open fully again!

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