Tis the season for binge watching all of the classic Christmas movies… as well as some of the Christmas movies that aren’t actually that great but they show up on Netflix and there’s nothing else to watch so we watch them anyway. The Holiday (2006), starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black, is one of these movies. Although the film itself pretty much defines mediocracy (6.9/10 on IMDB and 47% on Rotten Tomatoes), it’s a feel-good holiday movie and the setting of the English portion of the movie is incredibly idyllic. So much so that it actually inspired our winter trip to England last year. We were watching the movie, thinking of where to go for a winter getaway, and the scenes in Kate Winslet’s quaint country cottage immediately shifted our focus from relaxing on a beach to relaxing by fireplaces in English pubs in small country villages. As it turns out, the cottage itself was built specifically for the movie, and no longer exists; the town, however, is very much a real place. It is a small village in Surrey called Shere and it is every but as charming as the movies makes it seem.
Shere is about a 1.5 hour drive south of London in the Guildford district of Surrey, and has a population of just over 1,000. As a small village, it isn’t exactly a bustling town, so don’t expect it to be a lively experience. You can however, visit the local pub called the White Horse where a few scenes from the movie were filmed. One of the tables in the corner of the pub is marked with a poster from the movie, indicating that this is where Jude Law was sitting during one of the scenes that was shot there.
Other than the White Horse, there are a few small shops and restaurants in the center of town, and an inn called Rookery Nook, which we would highly recommend for anyone who’s considering staying in town rather than just passing through. The inn itself was built in the 1400’s and the breakfast is one of the best we had during our weeklong visit to England. The surrounding area is also incredible beautiful, with several hiking and biking trails providing views of the lush rolling hills of Surrey.
One other note from the movie…The scene where Cameron Diaz is trying to drive on the narrow country lanes on the left side of the road is actually a perfect portrayal of what it’s like to drive in the English countryside as an American. Driving on the left is fine but the roads are insanely narrow and when a truck is coming in your direction it feels like you’re going to get run off the road. So in that regard, the movie did a nice job.