The second area to be covered by its own Local Black Book is Esher & Cobham, a leafy section of Surrey in the Borough of Elmbridge. Straddling the A3, it is a well connected area that offers activity and tranquility in equal measure. Both towns have a village feel but sleepy they are not, with sport, culture, history and education all well catered for.
ESHER's incredible blend of town and country living, proximity to London, excellent schools and transport links make it an attractive spot to call home. A cosmopolitan vibe, rich history, glorious properties and luscious countryside, along with a variety of sparkling independent businesses, make it a Surrey hotspot that evolves with current trends to attract visitors from all over.
Once a coaching town on the London to Portsmouth route, Esher gained affluence in the 16th century when Henry VIII announced it as a hunting ground. And royalty continued to visit, as Queen Victoria attended Claremont and St George's Church, the oldest public building in Esher. In 1877, to commemorate her fortieth year on the throne, she presented the town with a drinking fountain, which remains on the High Street.
Beatles legend George Harrison lived in Esher and, as a tribute, a blue plaque at his old home, Kinfauns, commemorates his time spent in the town. All the Beatles once recorded together at his Surrey house and Bee Gee Maurice Gibb also used to call Esher home. Sherlock Holmes writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used Esher as a setting for one of his books, and actress Lily James was born in the town.
There's plenty to do and see in this pretty town tucked in a leafy corner of Surrey. Here are some further details about what Esher has to offer:
You won't need to travel anywhere else to shop as Esher offers a vibrant mix of local and chain stores. There are some wonderful boutiques, hair salons, restaurants and cosy cafes for perfect pit stops.
Step back in time at the historic Bear Hotel on the High Street, which has been serving refreshments for locals and visitors for over 300 years.
Sample the sensational cooking of superstar chef José Pizarro at his pub, the Swan Inn. The pub offers Spanish classes yet retains its pub feel.
Direct trains to London Waterloo from Esher station only take 30 minutes and there are also direct links to Woking, Walton-On-Thames, Wimbledon and Clapham Junction.
Buses from Esher include routes to Walton-on-Thames, Staines, Surbiton, Kingston and Roehampton.
There is parking available at the Civic Centre, Moore Place, Portsmouth Road, Berguette, Heather Place and customer parking at Waitrose.
Bask in history as you step into Claremont Landscape Garden, a National Trust estate which Queen Victoria used as a royal residence. The historic garden dates back to the early 1700s and the amphitheatre is the only one of its kind that remains in Europe.
Meander around Garcons, a garden centre that boasts one of the largest 'Pick Your Own' farms in the UK. You can opt for summer fruits, fresh vegetables or dazzling sunflowers. There's a restaurant to treat yourself and a farm shop that champions local produce.
Get lost in the unconventional modernist style villa, the Homewood, or explore the extraordinary gardens.
Practice skiing at the dry ski slope at Sandown, the closest outdoor ski slope to London, or reach for the stars and explore the rickety walkways and treetop bridges at the Skywalk Adventure, also at Sandown Sports.
For a nature hit, mosey around the black pond on a country walk at Esher Common, or take part in a walking route that includes many more ponds (and walking!).
There are two GP surgeries in central Esher, the Littleton Surgery and Esher Green Surgery. The Groves is close to Hinchley Wood and Capelfield Surgery is in the Claygate area.
In Esher, there are both NHS and private dental practices. The NHS list can be found here. Private practices include Fairoak, The Neem Tree and Meads Dental Practice.
The nearest hospital with A&E services is Surbiton Hospital, and there are outpatient services at Cobham Day Surgery Hospital, just three miles away.
Esher boasts many schooling options, whether you're seeking state or independent schools:
Pre-school, Infant and Primary schools:
Esher Church School
Claygate Primary School
Hinchley Wood Primary School
Cranmere Primary and Nursery
Rowan Prep School
Milbourne Lodge School
Claremont Fan Court School
Esher’s most famous sporting venue is Sandown Park racecourse, which hosts National Hunt and flat racing, as well as a number of live concerts throughout the year.
Esher Rugby is one of the top rugby clubs in Surrey, playing in the fourth division of the National League.
As well as a wide choice of gyms and sports clubs, the dry ski slope at Sandown Sports makes Esher a popular destination for winter sports fans.
For a more laidback vibe, you can ponder abstract or still life as you wander around the Esher Art Agency gallery or put your feet up and relax with a good film at Everyman Esher.
We celebrate and support local businesses at The Surrey Circle and believe that their contribution adds to the allure of Esher. For more information, please visit our business hub.
COBHAM is well known for its beautiful countryside, grand properties on the London commuter belt and its brilliant network links to Heathrow, Gatwick, London and the M25. It forms part of the affluent Surrey golden triangle with Esher, Weybridge and neighbouring villages and is a perfect location for those who want to combine sophisticated countryside living with all the amenities of a large town. Cobham sits on the River Mole and offers various businesses, shops, restaurants and things to do.
Its rich history can be traced back to the Iron Age and Cobham was featured in the Domesday Book as Covenham, thought to mean 'a settlement in the curve of a river’. In 1846 the village only had 1617 residents, but when the railway was built in the 1880s, the population grew and the village expanded. There were originally three communities, Church Cobham, Street Cobham and Downside, which merged to create Cobham. Church Street was the main shopping area until the 20th century when the High Street developed.
It’s a popular area for professional footballers to settle, with Chelsea FC's training ground nearby, so keep an eye out for players in the local shops and hair salons. You'll find a strong community spirit here and a thriving selection of local businesses.
Here are some useful titbits to help you discover the wonders of Cobham:
The High Street offers a wonderful mix of local businesses and chains. It's a lovely place to potter around the shops, stop for coffee and cake and contemplate a lunch stop at one of the many independent options.
Practical village services include a Post Office, library and supermarkets, and the unusual include Theresa, the robot serving refreshments at the Tea Terrace!
You can visit the Coppa Club for a meal inside or experience dining in one or their roof terrace igloos.
Why not dive into the Cobham Bookshop to search for your next read as the shop stocks a vast selection of fiction, non-fiction and children's books.
Cobham is only 17 miles from London and equidistance from Gatwick and Heathrow airports. The M25 is close by and the A245 runs through and leads to Leatherhead or Byfleet.
The train station has 40 minute direct services to London Waterloo and trains also go to Guildford.
The Cobham Chatterbus has various village pick-up stops to Oxshott, Weybridge and Leatherhead, and other buses go to Epsom.
There is parking on Hollyhedge Road, Cedar Road and at Waitrose in the village centre.
Wander around the Medicine Garden, a gorgeous walled Victorian garden that dates back to 1845. There are local shops to explore, a café and even boot camps if you're feeling energetic. It's free to enter.
See if you can spot the London Eye from Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower on a clear day. Built in 1822, it was once used to pass messages between the London Admiralty and the Portsmouth naval dockyard.
Spend a day at Painshill, an 18th century landscape garden featuring the Serpentine Lake, Gothic Tower and Turkish tent. Soak up the scenery in this oasis and explore the 158 acre park. Don't miss the Crystal Grotto, which has crystal covered stalactites and bubbling water and feels like a step out of our world.
Walk from the High Street to Cobham Mill, a Grade II listed water mill on the River Mole. It's the only remaining working watermill in Surrey and was once part of a larger mill complex. You can visit for free on the second Sunday of the month and you can combine it with a walk along the river.
Both Cobham Health Centre and Cobham Day Surgery Hospital are located on Portsmouth Road in town.
There are various dentist options in and around Cobham, including Beech House Dental, and NHS and private practices, River Mole Dental and Crome Dental Clinic.
Epsom Hospital is five miles away and is the nearest hospital with A&E facilities. West Park Hospital, just under six miles away, also has A&E facilities.
There are several excellent schooling options whatever you're looking for in and around Cobham:
Pre-school, Infant and Primary schools:
Little Angels Stoke
St Andrew's Primary School
St Matthew's Infant School
Felton Fleet School
Cobham Free School
Notre Dame School
ACS International School
Sport features high on the list of local activities, with Chelsea FC's training ground nearby and four football clubs in the town. But there's much more to Cobham than football as the exclusive Silvermere Golf Complex is located in the area, and Cobham has a cricket club and thriving rugby club.
There is a rich tradition of classical music in Cobham, with the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in nearby Stoke D’Abernon and the Oxshott & Cobham Music Society producing classical performances from celebrated international stars.
At The Surrey Circle, we support local businesses and believe that their contribution adds to the charm and appeal of Cobham. To get to know them, please visit our business hub.