The insider’s guide to Cobham
There's a charming air to the well-heeled town of Cobham - but there's more to this posh town than the glitz and glam of its famous residents.
Playfully known as the Beverley Hill’s of Britain, this charming town on the River Mole is no stranger to “best place to live” lists. And it’s little wonder. Harbouring a charming rural air and yet still within spitting distance of London, Cobham has excellent schools nearby, plenty of parkland and some stonkingly gorgeous houses.
For years it was known as the “gin and Jag” belt, thanks to its popularity with stockbroker types. Now though, it’s more likely to be compared to Bel Air. Chelsea FC’s training ground is nearby, and Cobham’s exclusive private estates are home to some of their players (plus wives and girlfriends) as well as a host of other celebs including the Hollywood hottie Antonio Banderas.
Parking is pretty easy in Cobham thanks to the big Hollyhedge Road pay-and-display carpark just off the High Street. You can also pay using the RingGo app.
WHERE TO EAT
You’re spoiled for choice for places to eat out in Cobham, with a good mix of independent pubs and restaurants, and quality chain restaurants like Fego and Carluccios in the centre of town, and Loch Fyne on the outer edge on the Portsmouth Road.
For somewhere a bit special, it has to be The Ivy Cobham Brasserie in the former home of another much loved restaurant La Capanna right on the River Mole.
If you’re looking to while away a few hours alfresco, I’d head to The Cricketers, a gorgeous 17th-century inn just out of Cobham on Downside Common. There you’ll find a lovely a lovely pub garden overlooking the green, and in cooler climes head indoors to the cosy bar or bright and airy brasserie offering quality gastopub grub with a Gallic twist. The Plough Inn, on Plough Lane, is another good choice offering up top notch gastropub grub, as is the Old Plough at Stoke D’Abernon.
For lighter bites, Brontes or The Juice Smith are popular choices, both in the centre of town, or the fairly new Mama’s Kitchen Cafe in the hothouse at The Medicine Garden.
WHERE TO STAY
For somewhere to stay, head to the Brooklands Hotel, a luxury four-star hotel and spa on the historic Brooklands motor racing circuit, just a 10 minute drive away, near Weybridge – a good choice if you’re looking to include some pampering in your stay.
Woodlands Park Hotel, a country house hotel that’s part of the Handpicked Hotels group is another option, at Stoke D´Abernon, just two miles from the centre of town. And another more affordable option is the Hilton Hotel, set on 27 woodland acres off the A245 just outside Cobham towards Byfleet.
My first choice for a walk in Cobham would be the stunning 18th century landscaped gardens at Painshill. The gardens – created by Charles Hamilton in the 1700s – are set in 158 acres, with winding paths that take you to all corners, around and over a serpentine lake, and alongside vineyard plantings that produce sparkling wines. There’s also a man-made crystal grotto, a ruined abbey, a gothic temple, a waterwheel and a Turkish tent that overlooks much of the gardens.
LET’S GO SHOPPING
It’s a quaint town filled with independent shops and boutiques including one of the few remaining independent bookshops in Surrey, Cobham Books. Muddy loves Pip and Gray, a gorgeous lifestyle store in Church Street set up by former interior designer Alicia Gray, selling unique gifts, stylish interiors or super stylish women’s clothing. And while you’re there, pop into Curtain Call – the curtain agency which is in the adjacent garden studio – where you’ll find a fabulous range of pre-loved curtains.
For slinkies and smalls, head to D’Braz a few doors along from Pip and Gray, and then take a wander back around the corner and along the High Street popping into lovely independent boutiques Questa Boutique, Riva and Suzanne. You’ll also find brands like Crew and Mint Velvet.
On Anyards Road, you’ll find the super stylish Number Six boutique with labels like Ottod’ame, Laura Orchant and Citizens of Humanity. And for the guys, Jeremy Hobbs menswear has plenty to offer.
For interiors browsing, Number 44 is worth a peek, and we’re also big fans of Cobham-based online retailer Surrey Style which offers a stunning range of sheepskin rugs. And if you’re shopping for a holiday, or even looking to book business travel, The Travel Professionals can help.
The Cobham Mill, is a pretty early 19th century mill on the outskirts of town on the River Mile. Grade II listed, it’s the only surviving fully working watermill in Surrey. The mill is open on the second Sunday of the month from April to October from 2pm to 5pm, and is free to visit.
WHAT’S FOR KIDS
If you kids loves dance, then Flipside Dance school offers classes at Cobham Village Hall in everything from ballet to hip-hop. There’s also Kiko Soccer, for pre-schools run at the hall.
Horsey types will love The Shetland Pony Club at Stoke D’Abernon which has riding for kids aged 2.5 and up. And Cobham is in a sweet spot for kids in terms of days out, with Chessington, Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park all a relatively easy drive.
School-wise you’re spoiled for choice with some amazing schools right on the doorstep. The ACS International School Cobham is just out of the town on a stunning 128 acre campus with some amazing facilities. Parkside School, a prep school and nursery for boys, is set on a lovely site on the outskirts of Cobham. Also nearby are Notre Dame prep and senior schools, Feltonfleet prep and Reed’s School.
A LITTLE BIT QUIRKY
If we’re talking quirk, it’s got to be The Medicine Garden, about a mile out of Cobham, a former walled Victorian garden turned small business community where you’ll find cafes, homewares stores, photography studios and possibly the coolest yoga studio, in The Konasana Dome, opened recently by TV presenter and celebrity yoga instructor Alexandra Legouix.
Whatever your fitness pleasure, Cobham has it covered. I feel like there are more fitness instructors and studios here than any other town in Surrey! Fans of pilates will love the boutique Core studio, on the High Street, which offers a range of reformer and mat pilates classes. Ride! studio, also on the High Street, boutique fitness hub offering a range of spinning, boxing, TRX, Hiit and yoga classes.
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