Englefield Green: Surrey village life

With a host of treasures right on its doorstep, ranging from Windsor Great Park, the Savill Garden, the Guards Polo Club, the Air Forces Memorial and Royal Holloway University, Englefield Green certainly has plenty to recommend it. Matthew Williams reports…

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2012

Village voice…
“We are fortunate in having a beautiful, unspoilt green in the centre of the village,” says Joyce Taylor, chairman of the Englefield Green Village Residents’ Association. “The cricket pitch is still there together with a small playground for the younger children to enjoy. Every June, one of the biggest fairs in Surrey is held on the green, with all the traditional delights.”

Did you know?
The character of Englefield Green has changed over the years from a quiet, sleepy village into a rather more lively sort of a place, largely due to the presence of students from nearby Royal Holloway, University of London. Founded in 1879 by a Victorian philanthropist, Thomas Holloway, as a women-only college, it was officially opened by Queen Victoria in 1886. The design of the striking, red brick main building, known as Founders, was inspired by the Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley.

@ the village hall…
The Village Centre is celebrating its first, very successful year. The centre offers many activities, from the Café Rendezvous (which holds a Community Big Breakfast once a month) to Music with Mummy and Belly Dancing!

Making the headlines…
This year brings with it the promise of even more activity in the village, as Royal Holloway will be used as living quarters for the Olympic athletes taking part in some of the 2012 water sports being held just down the road at Dorney Lake in Windsor.

Grab a bite…
The village is home to plenty of good pubs including The Fox and Hounds Restaurant & Bar (01784 433098) on Bishopsgate Road, where Hugh Grant has previously been spotted; The Bailiwick (01784 477877) on Wick Road; and The Happy Man (01784 433265) on Harvest Road. There is also the Honeychurch Deli (01784 430439) on St Jude’s Road, which is run by sisters and long-term local residents, Plum and Paulet.

Did you know 2?
The nearby Air Forces Memorial sits on a hill overlooking an historic part of the Thames Valley where the Magna Carta, enshrining basic freedoms in English Law, was signed in 1215. The memorial commemorates by name over 20,000 World War Two airmen and women who have no known graves.

Something to take home…
One of Britain’s greatest ornamental gardens, the Savill Garden is well worth a visit. In their Savill Building shop, a wide range of giftware, stationery and books can be picked up, as well as plants from their extensive collection.

In the spotlight…

Howard’s End (1992) and Basic Instinct 2 (2006) were both filmed at Royal Holloway.

My Week with Marilyn (2011) was shot in part at Parkside House in the village, which is the house Marilyn Monroe rented during her stay in England in 1956 when she was filming The Prince and The Showgirl with Laurence Olivier.

Much of the Ian Dury biopic, Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll (2010), was based at the Runnymede Campus, which was formerly part of Brunel University.