If your property search includes the southern reaches of Surrey, Haslemere may well be on your radar. Less than 12 miles south west of Guildford, Haslemere is the most southerly town in Surrey, and close to the Hampshire and East Sussex borders. Property buyers and buying agents will confirm it’s cosy, comfortable and homely.
There are two main shopping areas in Haslemere, the High Street and Wey Hill or Weyhill, and property finders will help establish which part of this very pleasant town will suit you. The town is surrounded by hills: Gibbet Hill to the north and Blackdown to the south, so property buyers who enjoy hiking are likely to find Haslemere very appealing.
Haslemere is east of the main A3, linking London and Portsmouth. The main roads into town are the A286 and A287, and it should take around 40 minutes to drive to Junction 10 of the M25. London Waterloo is just under an hour away by rail, with 4-5 trains per hour at peak times; Portsmouth is around 50 minutes away. In addition to rail links, regular buses run to several local towns including Aldershot, Basingstoke, Guildford and Liphook.
It’s always interesting to know the origin of place names in a property search, and Haslemere refers to hazel trees by a lake. Buying agents can point you to the spring in West Street which might have been the source of the mere. The earliest mention of the town was in 1221, and it has flourished through the centuries. In 1596, Elizabeth I issued a new town charter, and a charter fair still takes place every two years. The town became very fashionable in Victorian times: your buying agent can help you locate properties from this period.
The town has a proud musical history. Arnold Dolmetsch arrived in London in the 1880s, to study at the new Royal College of Music. The family moved to Haslemere early in World War One. After losing his antique treble recorder at Waterloo Station, Arnold began making musical instruments in an effort to replicate it. In 1919, he succeeded, creating what we would recognise as the first modern recorder. The family firm continues to make harps, recorders and viols.
Leisure and Events
Your property finder will confirm that the town has a good range of shops for your everyday – and not so everyday - needs. There are three major supermarkets plus numerous independent high street boutiques, florists, gift shops, and household and sports goods stores, with a bank, pub, shops, more restaurants and takeaways in Weyhill. Property buyers who enjoy country pursuits will enjoy the proximity of Goodwood and the Queen Elizabeth Country Park, but there’s plenty of entertainment in the town itself.
There are two cricket clubs, a non-league football club, and good leisure centre facilities, including a swimming pool, squash court, fitness suite and aerobics studio, and a crèche and children’s play area. There are two local theatre groups as well as an orchestra, brass band, and several active choirs and Haslemere Hall hosts cinema, concerts and theatre performances. The internationally renowned Dolmetsch Early Musical Festival is held annually.
There are four state primary schools, one state secondary school, and a small number of private secondary schools. Education in the wider sense is visibly important - the Educational Museum is housed in a High Street building which partly dates from the 16th century, with a Georgian façade and extensive grounds. One highlight is the permanent natural history collection, including an observation beehive. This very family- friendly museum is popular with many local and national personalities in the natural history field, with regular talks and lectures.
Local residents included Alfred Lord Tennyson, who lived just south of Haslemere and is commemorated in a stained glass window at St Bartholomew’s Church. Other historical associations include writers Arthur Conan Doyle and George Eliot.
Ask your property finder about eating places, modern and traditional. You’ll find Nepalese, Thai and British among the cuisines available in town, as well as charming tearooms and independent cafes.
There are country pubs with wonderfully evocative names including white horses, swans, and wheat sheaves, or you can drop in to the Farmers’ Market on the first Sunday of each month for locally grown, reared, caught, pickled or otherwise produced victuals.
Take a break from your Haslemere property search to check out an unusual exhibit in the town’s Educational Museum - a genuine Egyptian mummy, complete with visible toes.