The beautiful village of Ripley has a storied history extending over several centuries, from its mediaeval priory and coaching inn, to a crucial role played in the growth of cricket, as well as being Eric Clapton’s birthplace. Set in the lovely Surrey countryside, it’s surrounded by sites well worth a visit and just a short drive from Guildford and Woking.
It is also the home of The Talbot , which has more than played its part in history. It is even said to have provided the stage for Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton’s love affair to blossom in 1798, and remains one of England’s finest coaching inns.
The 2007 winner of the Calor Surrey Village of the Year, Ripley reflects its long history. Full of picturesque historical buildings and a large village green, Ripley hosts a monthly Farmer’s Market, a Christmas Fair and a spectacular bonfire and fireworks event that includes a procession, a funfair and live music.
Sport is well catered for. The area is rich in golf courses, the closest being The Wisley, a 27-hole course whose members include Colin Montgomerie, while the 250-year-old Ripley Cricket Club plays regularly on the Green.
The countryside around Ripley offers some beautiful walking routes, especially along the tow-path of the17th-century River Wey Navigation. This offers superb views of the ruined Newark Priory on an island in the river, and the historic Walsham Lock and Weir is near the village.
Just a few miles up the road, you can find the world-famous Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley, 240 acres of the beautiful and the experimental, with the best garden bookshop in the country. If you need more, it’s only seven miles to the university city of Guildford, which offers museums, galleries and a truly elegant cathedral.
Ripley has quaint, unusual shops to explore. Besides the expected antique outlets, such as Sweerts De Landas and J. Hartley Antiques, you can bring out your musical side at Ripley Guitars, or purchase glassware at Jo Downs Handmade Glass, as well as browsing A. Luff & Sons garden centre.
If you’re looking for a more cosmopolitan shopping experience, Guildford and Woking are each ten minutes’ drive away.
Ripley offers a wide choice of restaurants for its size, from the Michelin-starred Drake’s Restaurant to the fine cooking of the Talbot coaching inn, Anchor, Seven Stars and the Ripley Curry Garden. For afternoon tea and cakes, Pinnock’s Coffee House and the Nest Home & Café are both excellent.
Pubs and Night-life
Ripley is well supplied with pubs, many of which also offer food. A number of them go back to the age of the coaching inn, and pubs like the Anchor and the Jolly Sailor have a traditional feel matching the village.
In keeping with Ripley’s character, you won’t find lively nightspots here if you are staying overnight. If you’re looking for trendy bars and nightclubs, though, you’ll find a wide selection just seven miles up the road in Guildford.