Once described as the `fashionable capital of the beautiful Surrey Highlands’, Haslemere is an attractive market town perched where three counties meet (Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire). It is a gateway to some magnificent Surrey Hills countryside, which has helped to inspire many great artists and authors. Add this to the quirky cafés, country pubs and specialist shops and you’ve got something of the flavour of the place.
Our suggested day out allows you to walk around the historic market town with its timbered and tile-hung houses and cottages and enjoy a trip out to the surrounding countryside, much of which is land owned and managed by The National Trust: Black Down, the highest point in Sussex; Hindhead and Marley Commons; and the Devil’s Punch Bowl, the largest spring-formed feature in Britain.
Start your morning with a visit to Haslemere Educational Museum (Open Tuesday to Saturday 10.0am to 5pm). Founded over 100 years ago, the Museum is noted for its geology, archaeology and natural history exhibits. It also provides a useful library and information service and has a museum shop. Magnificent specimens from the animal kingdom, fossils, plants and insects, artefacts from Ancient Civilisations and Stone Age Britain, are exhibited with old favourites such as Arthur the Bear and an Egyptian Mummy. Exhibitions, lectures and workshops are run throughout the year. Admission is by donation.
Stay and make the most of your time here, as the grounds are perfect for a picnic after a visit to the Museum or to enjoy on a warm sunny day. The gardens overlook National Trust land and include ponds and a gazebo.
Opposite the Museum is Town House. General Oglethorpe, founder of the American colony of Georgia, once owned this house with its Queen Anne façade. He was also the Member of Parliament from 1722 – 1754.
Continuing around the town, you could walk from here to St Bartholomew’s Church which was rebuilt in 1870 on the site of a much older building dating back to at least the 13th century. The imposing interior includes a memorial window to Alfred Lord Tennyson, the poet laureate who lived on Black Down near Haslemere for nearly 30 years.
Other sights to see whilst walking around the town centre include the Penfold Post Box. This type of green letter box was in use in 1866 and was designed by local architect, John Penfold.
Opposite and south of the Town Hall, which was built in 1814 and originally had open arches on the ground floor for market stallholders, is Half Moon House. This is one of the town’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 15th century. Like many other houses in the town, it is built in typical vernacular style with tile-hung cladding to walls, a clay tile roof and tall brick chimneys.
Finally, Tudor House in Lower Street is a cottage built of local stone, formerly called Sheepskin House where skinning and curing of hides took place. Tanners Lane nearby is a reminder of the local tanning industry.
Why not finish your morning by exploring the range of independent shops the town centre has to offer before stopping for lunch in a café, pub or restaurant.
The afternoon could be spent enjoying the great outdoors and the walks detailed below are of varying lengths and can be enjoyed, either in part, or as a whole.
Swan Barn Walk, a short 30 – 60 minute walk, is accessible from Haslemere town centre, from the end of Well Lane off the High Street. Take a detour via the Old Town Well through field, farm and wood to see ancient, now restored orchards, ponds, streams and hedgerows full of wildlife. You can download further information about the walk by clicking here…
If you have arrived by train it is possible to enjoy the 8.3 mile Hills and Heather walk which starts and finishes at the train station and will take approximately four hours. Click here to order your walk pack which also includes 4 other walks in the local area.
Alternatively, many circular walks start in Haslemere, as does the Greensand Way, and the Sussex Border Path runs through Lynchmere and Camelsdale to the south of Haslemere. For cyclists there are a few locally recommended routes on the beautiful and winding country lanes in and around Haslemere and the many miles of bridleway offer some excellent horse riding and mountain biking click here to find out more…
A short drive away, is the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a large heather filled basin formed naturally by the action of many springs where the Hythe Beds of Greensand meet Atherfield Clay. This National Trust land is farmed and different breeds of cattle adapted to this countryside are seen meandering through the heathland click here to find out more…
Visit Haslemere – www.visithaslemere.com – website containing contact details for the Visitor Information Centre and for further information on all attractions, accommodation and events in Haslemere including Guided Town Walks, which are available on selected Sundays from May to September.
Ramster Gardens – First laid out in 1900, Ramster’s 25 acres are now a mature flowering shrub garden with many unusual and interesting specimens. At its best in spring and early summer with banks of brilliantly coloured rhododendrons and azaleas, streams and ponds and carpets of bluebells. You’ll find a tea room on site. Ramster, Chiddingfold, Surrey GU8 4SN Tel: 01428 654167
Grayshott Pottery – A unique visitor attraction housed in an old stone laundry nestling in beautiful wooded countryside. Here you will find ‘made on the premises’ pottery, a huge range of quality gifts from Dartington glass, cards, toys, toiletries and jewellery. Also, bargains can be found in the “seconds” shop or refreshements in the licensed Café Bistro. School Road, Grayshott, Hindhead, Surrey GU26 6LR Tel: 01428 604404
The Pride of the Valley Sculpture Park – Nearly 200 sculptures from classical to conceptual set in a wide variety of topographical situations featuring lawns, low-lying bog, coniferous and deciduous woodland, hillsides and valleys. Jumps Road, Churt, Surrey GU10 2LE. Tel: 01428 605453