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The picturesque town of Haslemere sits in the southwestern corner of Surrey. From Celtic times, the area, surrounded by hills, heaths and woodlands attracted many to settle here. First documented in 1221, Haslemere means hazel trees beside the lake. The main settlement, known as Haste Hill, was established along the ancient Greensand Way. The community received a charter in 1394, allowing markets and the T-shaped main street design.

Though small, the medieval village became very prosperous from glass making, iron ore smelting, and tanning leather, in addition to agricultural products. Street names reflect these ancient trades.

By the 1700s, Haslemere industries also included basket and broom making, papermaking and spinning, along with weaving. The community also established an industry of making military uniform accessories. The brooms, manufactured from local birchwood, were regularly supplied to the royal family.

Famous former residents include poet laureate Lord Alfred Tennyson, who spent his latter years in Haslemere. Academy award wining composer Rachel Portman was born in Haslemere.

Activities and Attractions

Surrounded by hills and woodlands, Haslemere has numerous paths for cycling and walking. There are five paths in particular around Haslemere frequently used for mountain biking. Journeying around town, visitors may explore some of Haslmere's oldest buildings. Originally constructed sometime during the 14th century, St. Bartholomew's Church contains brasses, stained glass and memorials depicting the life of the community.

The Haslemere Museum houses collections that include archaeology, geology, human and natural history. Archaeological artefacts include ceremonial items, tools and weapons used by ancient British, Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures. The natural history collection includes animals and plants from all over the world. The facility also has exhibits that include fine art, social history and textiles.

Younger visitors might enjoy a trip to the Lower Roundhurst Farm. The facility has a selection of typical farm animals and a special children's area with cuddly guinea pigs and rabbits and baby animals. The site also has a butcher/farmer's market that sells organic beef, chicken, lamb and pork products. The cafe serves breakfast, teas, and the shop offers locally grown produce, cheeses and jams.

Places to Stay and Dining

Lodging in Haslemere includes luxurious county manor houses renovated into cosy hotels. Decor and furnishings of the rooms more closely resemble home environments than public facilities. Many have spacious flowering gardens. Some are equipped with pools and spas.

The Lythe Hill Restaurant offers fine dining British cuisine. Venue favourites include pot roast or free range chicken with fondant potatoes and roasted vegetables. The restaurant provides an elegant dining experience with a medieval atmosphere.

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