As the summer holidays officially started this week, it’s finally my time to catch up with all my friends who also work in education. Yesterday, I went to visit M in Upper Warlingham, where I was instantly smitten by how pretty everything was.
M had a lovely day out planned for us and we drove to Denbies Wine Estate, near Dorking. I discovered that this family-owned and run vineyard is the largest in England. Denbies is a gorgeous place to walk around and has public footpaths running through the estate, which is well worth a wander through.
We were lucky enough to be visiting on one of the days when Denbies had brought in the Henfold Birds of Prey and M and I were in awe of these beautiful creatures. The amber eyes of the owls were just stunning and seemed to stare at us with something akin to disdain. When they lazily stretched their wings out, I could imagine how impressive they’d be when hunting over the English countryside.
We had a light lunch in the restaurant at Denbies and M and I would both thoroughly recommend the smoked salmon bagels! There was a nice range of cakes to choose from as well, but we decided not to fill up too much because we were going to be walking up Box Hill. I also managed to restrain myself from buying anything in the lovely gift shop, so hard!
I hadn’t been to Box Hill since I was a lithe young teenager on a geography field trip at school, so I remembered the ascent to the top as being a thing of ease. How foolish. Twenty odd years later and a much more sedentary lifestyle meant that the “walk” up felt more like a proper hike.
However, once I’d huffed and puffed my way to the top (M bounded up – she does triathlons, ’nuff said – and barely broke a sweat…), it was completely worth it. The views were incredible and reminded me just how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful country.
Ok, I know it’s shallow, but I was also pleased to reach the top because M promised me there’d be an ice cream van and she treated me to a 99-er! At school, we have to show that we are teaching our children what British Values are. I couldn’t help but think that a hike up Box Hill, followed by an ice cream cone, with compulsory chocolate flake and strawberry sauce, would be just the ticket to teaching children what it means to be British. I know that I certainly felt proud to live here when I was looking over the beautiful Surrey Hills.