I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that the inspiration for our trip to England came from the movie The Holiday. It’s not that it’s a great movie by any means, because it’s decidedly mediocre. Basically your standard issue chick-flick/rom-com type movie with a touch of Jack Black’s insufferable brand of comedy…but that’s besides the point. About half of the movie is set in a small English village during the winter, and the quaint scenery, fireplaces, and pubs was exactly what we wanted our English vacation to look like. We started researching English towns and villages that met our criteria, most of which were in the Cotswolds, but then decided to just look up where the movie was filmed. It turns out that there were a few different filming locations, but the majority of the scenes in England were shot in a village in Surrey called Shere.
We ended up spending two nights in Shere at Rookery Nook B&B and could not have been happier with our selection. First of all, “Rookery Nook”, is just about the most English name imaginable, so it fit perfectly with our theme of doing very English things in the English countryside. Located in the center of the village, it was steps away from all of the shops and eating establishments in Shere. The house itself was built in the 1400’s so it is a truly medieval structure and most of the original character is extremely well-preserved. We had to duck our heads to get through most of the interior doorways. It’s amazing to think that this house was built around the same time Columbus “discovered” America and that it was inhabited during the reign of Henry VIII. As Bostonians, we like to think we have a lot of old, historic buildings, but this is a completely different standard of old.
The true calling card of a good B&B are the hosts. Chris and Jill were perfect hosts and were extremely friendly and hospitable throughout our two night stay at Rookery Nook. They were full of recommendations for activities in the area and the breakfasts both mornings were outstanding. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had better eggs.
Shere is a small village with a population of only about 1,000, but despite it’s size it’s fairly lively. The main street is lined with shops and there are a few good places to eat, including the White Horse where a scene from The Holiday was shot. It is basically everything you’d look for in an English village. Given it’s location in the Surrey hills, there are several trails for walking and horseback riding in and around the town with fantastic views of the hilly landscape and a few impressive old churches along the way. It is only about 30 miles from London and many people in the area commute into the city for work, but it feels like it’s worlds away from the hectic city lifestyle.
Our two nights at Rookery Nook were exactly what we were hoping for. If we ever find ourselves in Surrey again, we’d go back in a heartbeat.