‘I went to a pretty little village 1 hour from London and it was like stepping into a fairy tale’ – Amber-Louise Large


London is vibrant, it’s big, it’s strong – and I love it, I love it, but sometimes I just want to escape to some peace and quiet.

Fortunately, the city is well connected to a number of beautiful towns and quiet villages, perfect for a day trip or a short stay. One such village is Shere in Surrey.

A quintessential English village, walking the streets of Shere feels like stepping into an Enid Blyton book or stepping into an idyllic fairy tale land. It’s easy to forget the hustle and bustle of Waterloo station which is only an hour away.

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Shere is nestled in the Vale of Tillingbourne

A train journey to Guildford will take around 30 minutes from Waterloo and cost a maximum of £10. From there, it is only a short bus ride (between 20 and 30 minutes) to Shere. If you want to get there even faster, it’s a 15 minute drive/taxi from Guildford station. That’s what I did.

On a sunny day, the village shone with pride and confidence in its own beauty. Every corner offered a new delight: stereotypical village stuff like tiny bookcases, duck streams, and even a craft fair in the village hall. In front of every Tudor house and cottage was an immaculate display of flowers.

St James’ Church featured in Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason

Daffodils and primroses nodded in the wind as if to say, “Yes, we agree, it’s beautiful here.” No wonder the village was chosen as a filming location for The Holiday and Bridget Jones. One of Shere’s pubs, The White Horse, was used for a romantic scene by Cameron Diaz and Jude Law in The Holiday and the exterior of the cottage belonging to Kate Winslet’s character was built near the village church .

The church, St James’s, is a Grade I listed building with original features dating from the 14th century. It was also used as a filming location for Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Near the end of the film, Bridget’s parents renew their vows in the quaint church that provides the perfect setting for a “happily ever after” scene.

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As well as pubs and churches, Shere is home to an abundance of independent shops, tea rooms and restaurants. I started my day at Shere with a visit to the lovely Dabbling Duck (unsurprisingly located next to a creek full of ducks) where I enjoyed breakfast surrounded by duck souvenirs, craft decorations for sale and smiling guests.

I quickly understood why everyone was smiling: the food was amazing. The £8.50 toasted banana bread I ordered was soft and chewy, topped with Greek yoghurt, blackberry compote, maple syrup and toasted pecans. If you’re less craving sweets, there are plenty of other options, including a large English (called the Duck Breakfast) for £11.

Le Canard Barboteur is open 7 days a week

After a hearty breakfast, I took advantage of Shere’s country trails for a walk. Following the River Tillingbourne, I watched the sun make its way through the treetops and the wet mud work its way through my converse shoes. I would recommend rubber boots.

Another highlight of the trip was seeing the old fire station which displayed weathered plaques reading “Best Kept Village Shere” for 1976 and 1980. The station dates back to 1885 and is a Grade II listed building. It is no longer a fire station but now serves public facilities.

Before leaving I had to visit the craft fair in the village hall. There was a real sense of community as local artists proudly displayed their work, often inspired by the beautiful landscapes surrounding the village. The charm of a village like Shere is enough to inspire anyone, after all, and it’s an ideal day.

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