It’s was my parents first weekend at our flat in London and we wanted them to see some place really nice. Having visited London many times earlier they had done the usual touristy places and were not too upbeat on going into the crowded central line all the way to Central London. So hubby came up with an awesome idea, to explore Surrey.
So after an early breakfast we made our way by over ground rail to Dorking and walked across lovely tree lined roads to get to Denbies Vineyard.
The air was cool and crips, it was bright, sunny and the sky looked heavenly. Even my mother’s heavily arthritic and painfull knees didn’t see, to mind the trudge upto the main entrance as most other visitors whizzed past in their cars.
My dad was smiling and racing ahead with hubby while mother and me trailed somewhere behind admiring the mountains in the background.
The neatly lined,seemingly never ending rows of grape vines balanced on their equally fragile looking support structures seemed to create a horizon of sorts, there are only a handfull of employees who work in the vineyard which is the largest in England and they manage this enterprise beautifully I must say.
After a long lovely walk we saw the roadsign telling us that we had reached our destination, an exciting day out was about to begin , I couldn’t help but wonder if we would get any free wine for sampling ,after all , a long walk through a vineyard on a weekend and a very parched throat for company I am sure it wouldn’t hurt to gulp down some free wine .
Unfortunately no free wine or wine tasting was to come our way as we had reached after all the wine tours had been booked for the day, yes ,it is a really popular destination ,it was late summer ,autummn almost actually ,September 2011 it was,so feeling terribly dejected we were about to resign to our fate when we were informed by the smiling receptionist that there was a tour of the vineyard in the jeep that we could do , so I heaved a sigh of relief as I saw the smile back on my mothers face . Ater all I didn’t want to ruin their very first weekend with us.
We still had about an hour on hand before the tour was to begin so we decided to explore our surroundings.On the topmost floor is a rather beautiful restaurant to be explored when you want to loosen your purse strings and splurge .There was a small area where a potrait club was exhibiting some stunning paintings , I managed to get some postcard size prints of the originals and so did my mum.
Some of the artists were really good with themes ramging from countryside scenary to pets and wildlife.
Then we walked back down to an amazing gift shop which was crammed ceiling to floor with the most amazing gift items from post cards and the expected wine bottles to tea sets, cake stands ,home made jellies and preserves and many, many more extreemly tempting products ,I got myself a scented soap…sighhhh !
By then my husband managed to tear me and my mum away from the shop, my dad had started to grow this extreemly serious expression bordering on a mixture of impatience ,slight anger and a sarcastic smirk which seemed to say”baah women and shopping” , I took the hint and scampered out to check on our mode of transport for the tour and this is what I saw 🙂
Whilst we waited for the tour guide cum driver to arrive, I amused myself by taking some more pics , there were some brillant potted flowering plants and some lvelky banter of a large group of women apparently a “HEN PARTY” part of a day long Bachelorette party ,what fun !
Just when the small cowd beginning to get impatient that the lively ,energetic and extreemly well informed guide arrived and ensured we were all seated properly,rattled off some basic safety instructions and we took off on what was to be a tour with breathtakingly spectaluar views and laods of snippets of local history and ofcourse tons of information of how the grapes are grown, the types of grape varities grown, how popular the wine is and history about the owners of the land and the vineyard both past and present . I shall leave these details out as it would be a kill joy for those that want to go do the tour and mostly because since I had been there months ago most of it had been wiped off from the slate in my mind, strange though because even now if I close my eyes and imagine the tour guides voice I can sort of do most of the tours and see the same things as I have photographed in my mind’s ,it’s quite refreshing doing that especially on a dull winter evening . It’s early March and cant really call this Winter but heck it isn’t getting warmer yet is it now ?
This is the first picture I took while in the jeep train as I like to call it .What clear skies I say, beautiful !
Further ahead we came to a plateau like area where part of the massive old house inhabited by the original owners used to stand , some tiny portion has been resurected and is still in use , and by tiny I mean massive for us urabn folks living in matchbox houses , this is like 4 bog country houses put together but tiny in contrast to what used to be a grand residence of the yesteryears.
That’s our cheerfull guide holding some images of original plans of the structures back then , there was small quiz and I got a chocolate for getting some answers correct Yipeeeee !!!
After that tour we walked over to a rather quaint Kitchen Garden Centre in the premises.It has the most wonderfull things to add to ones garden and ofcourse a large amount of saplings,wind chimes,garden ornaments,pots and plants and an area selling cold sandwiches for famished souls as well,which can be consumed sitting at one of the wodden tree stump table and stools. It is a delight to stroll around the place and see the colourfull display of flora mixed with artistic and stylish garden ornaments.
By the time we were done with our stroll , it was time to adress the serious hunger pangs we all were having.
Surrey is beautiful there is so much to explore in the county, some off beat places, great places to trek or simply walk and ofcourse a vineyard to visit.