Black celebrity beard styles. Surrey celebs share their favourite local restaurants, shops, views, and places to visit - Celebrity interviews entertainment, Surrey Life

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Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2016

Restaurant: La Scarpetta in Coulsdon. It’s a fantastic Italian run by Salvatore and his wife. It’s family-friendly and they also do great sea bass as well!

View: Box Hill. I bet everyone says that though! Actually, it is probably the view from my old house in Woodcress Road, Purley – you can see the old water tower at Netherne.

Shop: Lucinda’s clothing boutique in Purley where I get many of my clothes that you see on the show – and which I am wearing in the picture for the Surrey Life photo shoot too!

Place: Hobbledown Children’s Farm in Epsom – and in fact Bocketts Farm in Leatherhead too – where we love to take the kids for a day out.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2016

Essex on Surrey: "We used to love the Italian restaurant, Carlo’s (Trattoria) up in the hills. The views from around there are tremendous."

"I lived in Long Ditton for a while before moving to Guildford and became president of the cricket club there. I was always more of a footballer really though and lucky enough to play youth football for the team I still support, West Ham."

"I worked with the director Sir Peter Hall on his version of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer. It opened with a week in Leatherhead in 1993 and then embarked on a tour of Britain."

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2016

Pub/restaurant: “I don’t tend to eat out much these days – so my favourite place for dinner would have to be here at home in Richmond.”

Shop: “The independent children’s bookstore The Alligator’s Mouth in Richmond is a great little place. They will also have a stand at our special children’s event. Check out their website at

View: “I love to go with my family to the top of Richmond Hill with a picnic and look down over the river.”

Day out: “That would be sailing down the Thames in my friend’s boat.

Place to relax: “I seem to have less time to relax now, as I am always so busy working, but I always enjoy going for a stroll in Richmond Park. The greenery, water and open spaces are why I love it here in Richmond.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2016

Pub/restaurant: We love The Star at Malden Rushett – it’s dog- friendly, the staff are lovely and very relaxed, and the kids love the ribs there too!

Shop: I get my nails done at Polished on Ashtead High Street every few weeks. I love going in there, Jo and Lucy are great at what they do, and it’s always a fun hour getting the village gossip!

View: That has to be from Epsom Downs Racecourse because the sky is really big – it’s a great place to walk with my dog Jackson when I need head-space. I put my head- phones in, put on some Coldplay, and I’m happy.

Place: I recently discovered Polesden Lacey, at Great Bookham, whilst doing the Pink Ribbon Walk and it is beautiful there. I love the little antique shops in Dorking too.

Hot tip: My personal trainer, Ben, is amazing. He’s just set up on his own at Ben’s PT Barn at Bookham Lodge Stud near Cobham. You can find more details online, at, and he has a Facebook page too.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2016

Thing to do: “I like horse racing very much, so I enjoy visiting Lingfield Park Racecourse. Do I have a flutter?! David will tell you, I’ll bet on two flies walking up a wall! I had a horse that I shared with my driver Brian – Smokey Oakey – and he won the Lincoln and the Brigadier Gerard. He’s retired now and we gave him to Riding for the Disabled, just down the road, so we see him all the time.”

Places to visit: “Apart from the British Wildlife Centre, I love The Rose Theatre in Kingston, where I did A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Sir Peter Hall. I enjoyed it hugely – it is such a lovely theatre. I remember we saw it when it was just being built – and we did the gala night before it was finished. It’s sort of in-the-round – almost banana-shaped – and I adore that theatre. I also love The Archway Theatre in Horley. We went to the pantomime there and had the most lovely time. It’s a sweet little theatre – underneath the station – and they do things very nicely indeed.”

View to enjoy: “I love all the beautiful Surrey countryside – it’s a magical thing. Like everybody else, I do worry about our Green Belt though and don’t want to see it built on. I understand that people need houses, but I do often think when I go into London, how many of these buildings are actually lived in?”

Way to relax: “I really enjoy spending time in our garden here in the Surrey countryside – that’s just lovely. Working in London and then coming back and being able to stand and listen to the silence, it’s so relaxing...”

Published in Surrey Life magazine June 2016

Restaurant: Hildegard and I don’t eat out. We’re too busy feeding our animals!

Shops: Lightwater Pharmacy. It’s the most wonderful, happy place and the man who runs it is like St Francis of Assisi – he really cares for the community. Lightwater also has the best-run Post Office in the world. The staff are marvellous.

View: The highest point of Chobham Common. Looking across the common on a summer’s afternoon is beatific.

Place to relax: My cabin in the garden, where I’m surrounded by all my books on exploration. It’s where I meditate with Sir Kenneth Branagh – my only acting friend. I also adore my garden, which is alive with birds. The hedgehogs visit me outside my cabin window every evening.

Place to visit: It has to be Chobham Common again, where I go running and walking. It’s wild, with wonderful woods, hidden lakes and tremendous flora and fauna.

Published in Surrey Life magazine April 2016

Favourite venue: Croydon’s Fairfield Halls – there is no other hall as acoustically brilliant as that. It’s a wonderful venue, I’ve conducted there many times and also performed there with The King’s Singers. I also enjoyed conducting at Guildford Cathedral.

Favourite place for a pre-concert snack: I don’t eat out a huge amount when I’m in Surrey because I’m always so busy and very well looked after. However, if I’m in Dorking, I head for Café Rouge because I know what I’m going to get and I’ve always felt well looked after there.

Favourite thing about the county: Apart from its spectacular rolling hills and beautiful countryside, my favourite thing about Surrey has to be its abundance of churches and cathedrals. This is especially so, as these tend to be the buildings where I’m most likely to be involved in a concert performance.

Favourite pub: I have some friends who live in Forest Green and, whenever we’re over that way, we head for The Parrot Inn, a country pub in the Surrey Hills.

Published in Surrey Life magazine April 2016

Restaurant: We’ve been going to Café Rouge in Reigate forever as a family, so that holds nice memories.

Place to visit: My kid loves Priory Park – the playground there is amazing.

Place to relax: The Everyman Cinema at Reigate. So many friends worked there when we were growing up and it was always a great place to hang out.

Shop: I bought my first guitar at Eric Lindsey’s shop in West Street in Reigate.

Gig venue: While I’m really looking forward to G Live, we had many, many gigs at band nights at the Horley Baptist Church back in the day. Really, really fun nights!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2016

View: Box Hill has to be one of my favourite views in Surrey. When you walk up and admire that view, you can bet your life that our ancestors have been moved by the very same scene – and that’s an amazing feeling.

Walk: I have fond memories of walks around the stunningly beautiful Hurtwood Estate. The mix of woods and hills is amazing and I’ve enjoyed many a day out there.

Memory: Tracking foxes around the woodlands of Foxley Wood and Kenley Common. I never had to stray too far in search of adventure.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2016

View: I’ve always loved trains and have a friend who lets me know whenever one of the old steam engines is passing through the North Downs near my home. If I’m around, I love watching it from the fields. They still retain a magic and most people can’t fail to smile at them, which leads me to the conclusion that we’re all railway enthusiasts really!

Place: This is going to sound a little bad as a presenter on Classic FM, but I still haven’t gotten round to visiting Leith Hill Place, the National Trust owned former home of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams on Leith Hill. So that one is definitely on the 2016 hit list!

Restaurant: I remain a big fan of French restaurant La Barbe and Tony Tobin’s The Dining Room, both in Reigate town centre. They are great.

Pub: As well as The Dolphin, I’ve always been a fan of the Skimmington Castle (or The Skim as we call it) on Reigate Heath. In fact, I’ve probably been going there since I was old enough to drink… and possibly a little bit before then.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2016

Restaurant: I have a dairy allergy, which limits where I can eat out, but I find most Asian food is dairy-free. My favourite restaurant is Sir &, Madam in Jeffries Passage in Guildford, which serves Thai food. It’s delightful, and having been to Thailand myself, I can vouch for its authenticity.

Shop: Squires Kitchen Shop in Farnham, which sells cake decorating products. One of the upshots of my dairy allergy is that I’ve become a domestic goddess and do a lot of home baking because I can’t buy things off the shelf. I came across Squires while searching online for an unusual decorating product for my daughter’s fifth birthday cake. When I realised they were local, I raced to their shop and came out with far more than I’d intended! Shopping there is such fun.

View: We often walk through Guildford town centre, up Mount Road, past Mount Cemetery where Lewis Carroll is buried, and reach a saddle between two valleys. On one side of the ridge, you can see the whole of Guildford and, on the other, miles of beautiful Surrey countryside, which always makes my heart sing.

Place to relax: The Watts Chapel at Compton. I find it particularly therapeutic in winter when I sit inside, out of the wind, taking in the amazing wall decorations. There’s also a bench at the far end of the cemetery, overlooking a stud farm, where my daughter and I often watch galloping horses and occasionally deer. It’s incredibly peaceful.

Place to visit: I also love the neighbouring Watts Gallery, which has a little tea shop that serves delicious cakes. Last summer, I took my daughter to a fairy fair there, staged to coincide with an exhibition of the work of Victorian fairy painter, Richard Dadd. She loved making a fairy wand and little fairy house, and was very excited to meet King Oberon and Queen Titania, who were appearing in a play, because I’d been reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream to her.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2015

Restaurant: When I’m at home in Guildford (which is not very often these days), Friday night is always our ‘curry night’ at The Red Rose in Bellfields.

Shops: I’ve been up and down the High Street in Guildford since the age of five and now love clothes shops like Karen Millen. Every time I go back, there’s something new that’s opened, I only recently found out that we’ve a Zara and was very happy when the Armani Exchange shop arrived in the Friary as I love it. The town’s got everything.

Place to relax: It’s lovely just to have time at home and be able to do simple things like going into town to do shopping or to see my family, none of whom live too far away.

Place to visit: We have a dog, a cockapoo called Pablo, so I love going up on to Merrow Downs or to Newlands Corner, there’s so much greenery around, it’s beautiful. One of the things I miss most when I’m not at home is taking Pablo for a walk.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2015

Pubs: The Kingswood Arms has long been a favourite. We’ve also been to the newly-reopened Blue Ball in Walton on the Hill, and had a few great Sunday lunches there. We’re pretty blessed round here really and like pottering round various places. We just look for something relaxed that we can enjoy with friends. I’ve also been turned on to real ale lately, having been a lager man most of my life.

Restaurants: We like the little bistro-type places, anything too formal doesn’t really interest me unless it’s a special occasion. There’s the little Italian place in Walton on the Hill (Spaghetti Tree), which we really enjoy. There’s also some in Cheam, Epsom and Sutton that we like, although the names escape me at this point.

Place to relax: At the easel. I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like on my art, but when I can, I do really enjoy it. I’m not necessarily a fan of visiting galleries, but it’s a really special thing to be shown round by someone who is very knowledgeable about the subjects – it’s one of the things I really love about The One Show.

View: Well, when I didn’t have my eyes shut, it wasn’t half bad from the top of Guildford Cathedral. Although once is definitely enough, I think…

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2015

Restaurant: Working away so much, I eat out all the time, so when I’m home in Surrey, I often just get my pyjamas on and stay in! When I was growing up, we used to go to an Italian called La Scala in Cranleigh quite a lot as a family, which I remember very fondly. These days, the William Bray in Shere is really nice.

Place to relax: My dog, Nelly, is a stray found in Greece, and she’s a bit of everything: a collie, a whippet and a spaniel cross. We like to walk her in Blackheath and also on Barnett Hill and Chinthurst Hill. I love the Gunpowder Mills at Chilworth near Albury, you just can’t believe you’ve got all this wonderful scenery on your doorstep. I do think Surrey is a beautiful county.

View: I like the view from the top of Smithwood Common. From there, you can see all the way over to Haslemere and this hill, shaped a bit like a shoulder, which I think is Blackdown. You could, almost, be in Tuscany, it’s very quiet.

Place to visit: We really like to go to Winkworth Arboretum near Godalming. I remember when you used to be able to go swimming in the lake there. You can’t do that any more but it’s still a lovely place, especially at this time of year.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2015

“Then there was the time I found myself climbing up into a tree house with the Countess of Wessex, that was quite an exciting moment, I must say. That was at the wonderful Fanny’s Farm in Merstham."

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2015

Restaurant: Loch Fyne is a fish restaurant here in Farnham that we like a lot. There’s also Castle Street’s Brasserie Blanc, which is not only very stylish but also has live jazz on a Sunday.

Shop: I was sad to see the demise of some record shops, but there’s still one in West Street (101 Collectors’ Records) that we go to quite often. After thumbing through the vinyl, I usually come out with an armful.

View: We’re blessed with a lovely view from where we live, out south towards the neighbouring county of Hampshire.

Place to visit: It’s very easy to get to Guildford. And Farnham itself is such a beautiful old town, we like to just wander around on a Saturday morning. The Maltings is good for music and to listen to bands, but unfortunately I don’t get to go there as often as I’d like.

Place to relax: Living on the top of a hill, it means if you want to go cycling, while it’s lovely on the way out, it can be a bit tough on the way back! When she was alive, my mum used to live in the centre of Farnham and we’d sometimes walk into town. Although, and I’m being an angry resident here, the smaller the country road, the faster some people seem to drive along it.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2015

“The thing is, I’m so often away that, when I am here, I like to be at home really,” says the 89-year-old. “I don’t go for long walks nowadays, either, but I do still visit Richmond Park regularly, which I enjoy, or Kew Gardens perhaps, but I seldom eat out or anything like that. I tend to stay very close to home these days.”

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2015

Restaurant: We’re obsessed with our cooking, Emily and I, but we also love going out to a good Italian restaurant (or an Indian for that matter) and there’s a really good one in Horley. It’s called Il Sorriso, and it has very, very good food.

Pub: I like somewhere that’s got a bit of history. I lived in Dorking for a while and it’s a beautiful area with great local pubs like The King’s Arms.

View: It’s on my list to take my son Junior to Thorpe Park this summer because, until recently, I never thought in a million years that I would ever go on a rollercoaster again.

Place to visit: When I’m going out with the kids for the day, there are farms we visit not far from here, or there’s also a great park that until recently I didn’t know existed.

Place to relax: Nothing beats being here at home in Surrey and just putting the fire on, I love doing that.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2015

Home: My husband Rankin and I moved to Carshalton because we had relatives here going back on both sides of the family to the 1920s. We thought it was a perfect area in which to bring children up and had a lovely, villagey feel. We moved to Scotland for two years in early 2002 and had to come back!

View: The Hog’s Back near Guildford is absolutely beautiful, also Box Hill is lovely. I can remember when I was living in London and working at the top of Archway Tower in the early 1980s, on a clear day, you could see the North Downs, the Surrey Downs and even the faint line of the South Downs too. I used to yearn to be out there. Whenever I see the Surrey Downs now, I think, “Yes, I got here!”

Shop: M&,S in Sutton! It is very accessible, just 10 minutes up the road and it is a very good shop. While I like Kingston too, it is a bit of a hike from here and the car park I used to use has closed.

Restaurant: Il Toscano, near Sutton Station. It is the most wonderful Italian restaurant. We measure all restaurants against it, it is so good and they know us well.

Place to visit: Hampton Court Palace! It draws me all the time. I think you could spend a lifetime studying the palace and you would never find out everything about it. It is just pure magic as far as its historical appeal is concerned.

Relaxing spot: Home! Where else? Rankin and I watch a couple of hours of DVDs or catch up on television dramas or films after I stop work at 9pm. I often go back on the computer late at night and I’m enjoying going through the BBC’s online collection of Your Paintings at the moment.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2015

Restaurant: Every once in a while, I go to Le Raj by the Drift Bridge and, when I do, I always think to myself, ‘It’s very nice here’. Apparently, they make such good curries that some- one once ordered one from overseas and it had its own seat on Concorde, although that might be a complete myth made up to make mugs like me go and eat there. I also like a place in Banstead High Street called Edibles. It’s been around for almost 30 years and they do good beans on toast.

Shop: My first ‘proper job’ was working in Allders of Croydon. I remember driving over there for the first time aged 18 and thinking, ‘How did I miss this place?’ It’s like Dallas! I had no idea these huge buildings were so close to where I was living. I still have a soft spot for Croydon.

View: If you come over Howell Hill, heading towards Cheam Village, I was born on Northey Avenue and we used to back on to these fields. There’s a Surrey Wildlife Trust nature reserve round there too, and it’s one of the few places where you can see the powder blue butterfly.

Place to relax: When I walk from Banstead to Cheam to see my mum and dad, I go that way and might end up talking to the odd cow, before relaxing with a friend over a burger at the American Way in Cheam Broadway.

Place to visit: Nonsuch Park, between Cheam and Ewell Village, is very nice. Also, in the summer, it’s not far to take a picnic up to Hampton Court Palace, where you can hire a rowing boat for a relaxing trip down the Thames.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2015

Pub: I love pubs. They’re where I go to relax and get my head together. You go through transitions and don’t do it so much when you have children, or certainly go to different pubs! My favourite was The White Horse at Hascombe, which was a short walk from our home. Back over this side of the county, and I’m actually not so sure. My nearest pub is the Fox and Hounds on Burstow Hill but that seems to change ownership pretty regularly – and the standards with it. The Red Barn near Lingfield is really nice with the family.

Restaurant: I tend to think that the best restaurants in this area are in Reigate. With all due respect to Tony Tobin at The Dining Room, I do tend to prefer the more relaxed style of La Barbe – it’s good French eating.

Place to relax: On the bike. You can’t cover enough ground on foot. I’m firmly of the off-road persuasion though, rather than a road cyclist. We’re lucky to have bridleways springing off in all directions from our farmhouse, which is part of a former hunting estate near Godstone. Considering how densely populated Surrey is, I still find that amazing.

Place to visit: I have to admit that while I have visited and admire many of the National Trust places, I’m not really a massive fan of that sort of thing in my spare time. One of the things I did for YMCA DownsLink was cycle the Downs Link via the old train lines from Guildford to Shoreham. That was something I hadn’t even realised was possible. I was met on the border, in my Lycra, by the High Sheriff of West Sussex.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2015

Restaurant: I still like the Gurkha Kitchen in Oxted. There’s also Bryce’s Old School House in Ockley, which is terrific. We’re getting better. Eating out is not as rubbish as it used to be. I remember there always used to be soup, pâté and orange juice as starter options. Glamorous stuff.

Place to visit: The cinema in Oxted. We’ve been going for many years and recently blubbed our way through The Theory of Everything, which was fantastic. I have no idea how Eddie Redmayne managed it. It must have been gruelling. We tend towards the soppy. I’ve never done any film music but it would be very interesting.

Place to relax: We’ve got a wood up by the house and I’ve built a treehouse there for the grandchildren – and myself! They think it’s magic and I love it. This year’s project is a yurt – and I’ve got plenty of wood left from this barn conversion to create that with.

View: This year, we’re doing the three peaks challenge with the Orpheus Centre. Surrey’s got some great hills. Megalomaniacs like being on top of the world viewing down, don’t they? “Ooh, I could convert that!” or “I could build a house there!” My wife has to remind me to concentrate on the roads rather than barn conversions when we drive around.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2015

Restaurant: The Grumpy Mole on Brockham Green, where I occasionally dine with friends. I’m a vegetarian and I know I’m guaranteed to get a lovely meat-free meal there. I also like the fact that they don’t jam you up against the next table.

Shop: Village Greens Farm Shop in Ockley, which sells wonderful local produce. They also stock Wild Thing Wine, which the Born Free Foundation benefits from, as well as Born Free coffee, a blend from five countries where we have projects. The owners are such lovely people.

View: From my house in the Surrey Hills across the beautiful North Downs.

Place to relax: My conservatory, where I can look out into my garden during the winter and still feel like I’m outside.

Place to visit: Leith Hill Tower. The view is to die for – you can see seven counties – and there’s a lovely tea shop. The hill also boasts the highest cricket pitch in England, where I watch one of my sons – and sometimes a grandson – play cricket every summer.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2015

Restaurant: The Siam Food Gallery in Esher, a Thai restaurant on the high street. The food is fabulous and there’s a really lovely atmosphere. We often meet friends for drinks opposite in a lovely bar called Layla, before crossing to the restaurant.

Shop: Good old Bentalls in Kingston. It’s such a classy store and stocks everything you could possibly want. It’s also perfect for new mothers like me because it has mother and baby parking, lifts for buggies and a great selection of baby clothing.

View: The one I miss from my old flat. When I lived on the river, I could see Kingston Bridge lit up blue at night. It’s such a beautiful view and I miss it terribly.

Place to relax: The family room in our new home. It’s large and open-plan, with a kitchen, dining and relaxation area. All my favourite things happen there. It’s a very social space and lovely to come home to after a year of building work.

Place to visit: Hampton Court Palace. Peter and I often walk through the grounds or sit in the gardens before enjoying lunch in a nearby restaurant or café. Then we round it off with a ferry ride back to Kingston.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2014

Restaurants: I love Matsuba on Red Lion Street in Richmond, which offers a mix of Japanese and Korean cuisine, and Frere Jacques, a wonderful French brasserie on the river in Kingston where we celebrated the Rose Theatre’s first birthday. I mostly cook at home. Steak and chips and spaghetti bolognese are the kids’ favourites.

Places to shop: I like Matches, Joseph and Space NK for clothes and Dickens &, Jones for make-up. I do my food shopping at M&,S and Waitrose, and receive a weekly organic vegetable delivery from Riverford Organics.

View: Richmond Hill down to the river. The Prince’s Trust dug up broken paths and reseeded indigenous grasses and wild flowers, and I cut the opening ribbon with Sir David Attenborough, who lives around the corner.

Place to chill: Richmond Park again. We used to keep horses there, but mine developed arthritis so we keep him out in the country. Now, we’ve got old-fashioned Pashley bicycles with baskets instead.

Places to visit: The Rose Theatre in Kingston is always top of my list. I also love Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, which serves a delicious seasonal menu at its cafe and teahouse. Ham House and garden in Ham, with its sumptuous 17th century interiors and restored formal gardens, is also a must.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2014

View: I really love a good view and enjoy walking around Pewley Down near Guildford or up Tennyson Lane at Blackdown.

To eat or drink: I like my food treated properly – no pre-packed stuff! Places like La Luna in Godalming and that one in Abinger Common (The Abinger Hatch), they’re great. I’ve also got to mention Chris Evans’ place in Chiddingfold (The Mulberry) too. He’ll sometimes play a tune he’s heard on my show and that’s fantastic. I’ve no idea where he finds the time to listen though! He’s a very engaging and pleasant character to be around.

Shop: There’s always some interesting music to pick up at Record Corner in Godalming.

Place to visit: The National Trust’s Hatchlands Park in East Clandon. I played there a couple of times with The Blues Band, but I’m not sure if they have gigs any more.

Place to relax: I was very sad when the Chiddingfold Club shut down but venues do come and go, and there’s always somewhere new to find. There’s a guy in the Farncombe area called Julian Lewry who puts together some really excellent artists. People should definitely check out his events.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2014

Restaurant: The White Horse in Hascombe, a 16th century coaching inn that we reach by walking across the hills from home. It’s one of Surrey’s many hidden treasures.

Shop: Albury Game Angling, a fishing shop in Albury run by Peter Cockwill. I spend a lot of time just staring at flies and fishing reels, and the staff are very knowledgeable.

View: Here in my studio at dawn. It gets the sun all day and looks down over an undisturbed valley.

Place to relax: On the steps of my shepherd’s hut at Wintershall Lake, where I like to fish.

Place to visit: The Watts Gallery at Compton. I particularly like the cast room. GF Watts’ allegorical work is very poetic and beautiful. They also serve very good tea in charming mismatched china.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2014

Restaurant: The Farnham Tandoori – that’s a great place to go! It’s quite well-known and has a great atmosphere. The whole place is very relaxed, and the food is superb.

Shop: When my brother and I were very young, there used to be a sports shop we’d go to in Farnham. It was called Holland’s, named after the owner, and was just around the corner from the house. We’d nip there and back without mum noticing. Being sports addicts, we were fascinated by the stuff on sale: tennis rackets, cricket bats, rugby balls etc. We’d just stare at them for a bit and leave! But I love all independent sports shops. There aren’t that many of them about these days, but we should look after and cherish them as they’re the heartbeat of real sport.

View: There was a great wasteland at the bottom of our road, Brambleton Avenue, in Farnham. I’m not sure it had a name, but we used to walk the dogs and kick balls around down there. We actually did something for our Fineside website recently where we went down there and kicked an Aussie Rules football around, it was like going back to our youth!

Place to relax: We used to play cricket down at Frensham, or take a rugby ball with our dad and just spend hours down there.

Place to visit: Obviously, we tended to frequent Farnham Rugby Club pretty often! But we also used to go to Farnham Sports Centre all the time too. We’d go in the morning and play short tennis or five-a-side football or maybe just go for a swim... or in fact anything really that we could do for three hours until we managed to exhaust ourselves!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2014

Restaurant: The Grange Bar and Restaurant in Wallington is a nice spot. I’m not big on going out because once I’ve done my training and a few media commitments it’s nice to relax at home, but The Grange is good for a drink or a meal.

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View: Getting up to Box Hill is magnificent. There’s always some great training for me out there, which I love, and if I do some hill sprints or stamina training on inclines, the reward at the top is incredible, with such amazing views from the North Downs.

Place to visit: I do like Beddington Park in Wallington. It’s local and I take the kids down there and race them around! There’s lots of space and some of the gardens are beautiful.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2014

Restaurant: The Keep in Castle Street, Guildford. They do good food and it’s a lovely atmosphere too.

Shop: The Watts Gallery gift shop in Compton is superb.

View: Across the fields from the top of the sanctuary. We’re near the Hog’s Back and you look down over the fields to the surrounding valleys. It’s gorgeous.

Place to relax: Again, it would have to be here at the Mane Chance Sanctuary.

Place to visit: Richmond Park. I love nature and I

can get lost in it. And the Isabella Plantation in spring with all the rhododendrons is lovely.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2014

Restaurant: Jai Ho, an Indian restaurant at the Coppingham Arms in Horley. I could eat buckets of their deep-fried cauliflower starter coated in chilli sauce!

Shop: Makro in Purley. They sell live lobsters and I’m a big lobster fan. They also sell every tool you’ll need to cook them.

View: The Devil’s Punchbowl near Hindhead. I worked in Guildford for a while and often passed this stunning natural amphitheatre.

Place to relax: The Valet, a traditional gentleman’s barbers in Addiscombe. Since growing my beard, I’ve had the most amazing facials there.

Place to visit: Reigate’s Priory Park, where I take my girls. We like to roam the forest and feed the ducks on the beautiful lake.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2014

Restaurant: I don’t go to restaurants, so I’ll say the Surrey dining tables of friends who invite us to dinner.

Shops: It has to be my lovely Milford shops – there’s Dave at the Meat and Fish Market, Mrs Gohil at the chemist and Secretts, a wonderful farmshop. I believe strongly in buying local.

View: The one that always gladdens my heart is from the top of Stag Hill when I travel up the A3, particularly at night. When I see that wonderful velvet sky and the stars, I know I’m nearly home.

Place to relax: My garden. I have a wee wood, which is full of bluebells in the spring.

Place to visit: Guildford Cathedral. More than 100,000 people are welcomed to the cathedral each year and it’s a valued community resource and landmark building.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2014

Restaurant: Sonny’s Kitchen just over the border in Barnes. The food is great and there’s a terrific atmosphere. I’ve had business meetings, family dinners, big get-togethers – everything in there.

Shops: I love the antique shops on Bridge Road in East Molesey. I drop in all the time when I go for a morning’s walk, even though I’ve often been the day before. I don’t know what I expect to have changed! I’m collecting portrait paintings at the moment. I have one of the Queen and another of Winston Churchill.

View: The winding River Thames from the Ornamental Gardens in Richmond. It’s one of those quintessential English views.

Place to visit: Again, the River Thames. I’ve owned several boats on the Thames and my favourite stretch is the approach to Hampton Court Bridge.

Place to relax: My garden. It’s the largest we’ve had and it looks good in all seasons. Mind you, I’m not a keen gardener because Dad ran a garden centre and I helped as a kid. If I never have to repot a plant again, it will be too soon.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2014

Restaurant: The Colony Restaurant in Weybridge. The Chinese food and the service are excellent.

Shop: Hoi Polloi in Claygate. It sells quirky things from birthday cards to women’s shoes.

View: The journey on the A25 over the Surrey Hills between Dorking and Guildford. It’s an awesome view.

Place to relax: Esher Common, where I like to go running.

Place to visit: The Oaklands Chaser, a friendly pub and restaurant in Weybridge, where I often go with friends.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2014

Restaurant: My local pub, The Cocoanut, in Mill Street, Kingston, which is run by a lovely Thai family. In the evening, it’s quite glamorous – with candlelight and waitress service. And you can have a delicious three-course meal very economically.

Shop: The Open Book in King Street, Richmond. It’s a small shop, but every time I read a review of a book that interests me, the owner, Helena Caletta, not only knows it, but stocks it. It’s magical.

View: From the top of Box Hill. I first struggled up its little chalk paths with my dad when I was five. Those days are now gone and a friend drives me there, but it’s still a thrill to reach the top.

Place to relax: Home Park in Kingston, sitting beside the Long Water where there are fountains and lots of lovely swans. In the summer, it’s delightful there.

Place to visit: The Watts Gallery in Compton. As well as regular exhibitions, they have an excellent café and bookshop, with fascinating books on the Victorians and their art.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2014

Shop: I think you’d best ask my wife about that one!

View: I grew up in Liverpool and, as well as spending time in LA also have a place in Monaco. They’re very dense places, so Surrey offers great freedom and space, and there’s no nicer view than an uninterrupted vista over the immaculate Surrey countryside. It’s a world away from the views I had as a kid, and a great escapism.

Place to visit: We have some wonderful villages here in Surrey. You can just tour around – they are all charming.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2014

Restaurant: Albert’s Table in South Croydon. The food is delicious and the service is excellent.

Shop: Coolings Garden Centre at Knockholt, Sevenoaks, near the Surrey/Kent border. It has a nice restaurant and we always buy our garden equipment there.

View: From Shirley Hills in Croydon. You can see right across South London.

Place to relax: My getaway cabin at the bottom of the garden, where I weight train.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2014

Restaurant: The Toby Cottage in Ripley, where I proposed to Rosie and we held our wedding breakfast four years ago. The food is great and they look after me.

Shops: Bentalls department store in Kingston. They sell quality clothing and designer labels. I also like Jeremy Hobbs in Cobham.

View: From one of the boxes at Sandown Park overlooking the winning line!

Place to relax: Our garden in the summer.

Place to visit: Elstead Lakes. Quaint little villages like Shackleford remind me of how it was a century ago.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2013

Restaurant: Bill’s in Richmond, near the Thames. I love their fish finger sandwiches.

Pub: The Anchor at Pyrford Lock in Wisley. We often go there for a pub lunch.

Shop: Coco’s Chocolaterie in West Byfleet, which sells mouth-watering Belgian chocolates.

View: From Newlands Corner near Guildford. The Downland views are breathtaking.

Place to visit: Painshill Park near Cobham, one of the finest remaining examples of an 18th century English landscape garden. It’s the perfect spot for a family picnic.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2013

Restaurant: The Red Lion in Horsell. Good pub grub and a great atmosphere.

Shop: Cornwell’s Celebration Cakes in Cranleigh. The man who runs the bakery is a lovely bloke and they sell the most wonderful cheese straws.

View: The Devil’s Punch Bowl near Hindhead. The views are stunning and it’s a beautiful secluded spot teeming with wildlife.

Place to relax: My bed! Sleep is so important when you have to get up at 4.30am.

Place to visit: Polesden Lacey, the National Trust house and garden near Dorking. The gardens offer something for every season and the house with its rich collection of art and furnishings provides a fascinating insight into the Edwardian era.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2013

Restaurant: Crostini, an Italian restaurant in Cheam. They don’t just serve your typical pizza and pasta, but really good traditional Italian dishes.

Shop: A new fashion boutique in Banstead called RBYG (named after the colours red, blue, yellow and green). I attended their launch party a year ago and really like their designer ranges.

View: From the top of Box Hill. After I’ve climbed to the top, which I do every day to get home after a training session, I love drinking in the stunning view and relishing my achievement.

Place to relax: Abinger Hammer. I ride through it on my training sessions and there’s a really pretty picnic area on the village green, where I’m often tempted to stop!

Places to visit: Shere is such a quaint and picturesque village, and Cranleigh has some lovely shops. I often stop for a cuppa in the local café.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2013

Restaurant: There are some great Chinese restaurants – such as Lux II in Virginia Water – and excellent Indian restaurants too. I like world food and we vary what we eat. There’s always been a good choice around here.

Shop: You’ll never get me raving about going shopping. Honestly, I do most of my shopping on Amazon!

View: Well, that’s an easy one – looking across Wentworth golf course from my balcony, of course! It’s just so beautiful.

Place to visit: Anywhere that offers outside space. I do like walking – there are some gorgeous parts along the River Wey to enjoy – and some stunning National Trust places to visit as well, such as Runnymede.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2013

Restaurant: We tend to invite friends and family round, to eat in.

Shop: I love gardening and there are some lovely flower shops and nurseries scattered around. I don’t have a favourite, but I love to be inspired by something I can replicate in my own garden.

View: From any window in my house, because it means I’m home, and I love being at home.

Place to visit: Norbury Park is very well kept and a nice place to walk around in the summer.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2013

Restaurant: The Dining Room in Reigate. My pal Tony Tobin is the proprietor and chef, the food is stunning and the ambience is warm and welcoming. It’s posh, but comfortably posh.

Shop: Lakeland, the cookware shop in Guildford. I could spend far too much on things I would never use, but I always love going there.

View: From the Star and Garter Hotel in Richmond. You can see the meadows and the River Thames winding through it – and I like to imagine all the history that has taken place there.

Place to relax: I’m very much a home bird really, so it would have to be there.

Place to visit: RHS Garden Wisley near Woking. The range of rare and unusual plants is fantastic and we’re privileged to have it so near us.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2013

Restaurant: The Crown Inn at Chiddingfold. I’ve been going there since 1978 – it’s near our studio so we’ve always popped in there during recording sessions.

Shop: Manns of Cranleigh. It’s this huge store in the middle of the high street that sells everything you can think of, and it’s the most wonderful out-of-kilter, out-of-time sort of place – a unique timewarp.

View: Probably up from the South Downs, behind Cranleigh, at the top of that hill. We like taking the dogs up there.

Place to relax: I have a friend who has this wonderful farm with a 60-acre lake in Cranleigh – he has a little boat that he takes up and down the lake.

Place to visit: Probably one of the golf courses – I particularly like Sunningdale because of the beautiful heathland there and the friendly people. It’s a top course but also very relaxed.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2013

Restaurant: Monaf’s, an Indian restaurant in Station Road, Hampton. Alan: I eat there regularly and they really look after me. If I park down the road, they even get the car for me. And did I mention their excellent wine list?

Shop: The Cheese and Wine Company – also in Station Road, Hampton. They serve an excellent range of traditional cheeses and wines carefully selected from independent producers.

View: The Devil’s Punch Bowl at Hindhead. Local legend has it that it was created by two warring giants. One, scooping out earth to throw at the other, created the landmark before missing the throw and creating the Isle of Wight.

Place to relax: Hampton and Balham Football Club. Alan: I’ve been president since 1967 and support them every week.

Place to visit: Hampton Court Palace. There’s so much to see – from Henry VIII’s crown of state and the Chapel Royal to the world famous maze.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2013

Restaurant: The Dining Room in Queen’s Road, Hersham. It serves really good British food and all the tables and chairs are mismatched, which gives the interior a lovely higgledy-piggledy feel.

Shop: Fat Face in Weybridge. Their clothes are really outdoorsy, which is perfect for the telly. I also like Squire’s garden centre in Hersham. I’ve really got into gardening – particularly vegetable gardening – and they sell good bird tables, nest boxes and garden bird feeders.

View: The view of Claremont lake and landscape garden from Claremont Fan Court School in Esher, where I went to school. It brings back happy memories of my childhood.

Place to relax: My mum’s garden in Hersham. Her cottage garden is small, but it’s very pretty and a real haven. It’s perfect for relaxing.

Place to visit: Kew Gardens in Richmond. It’s a brilliant place to see plants and wildlife.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2013

Restaurant: We lived in Hong Kong for six years and two of my children were born there, so we love Chinese food. The menu at The Good Earth in Esher is delicious, though we only go on special occasions because it’s quite expensive.

Shop: The Haslemere Cellar in West Street, Haslemere. I love wine and they stock a really good selection.

View: St Martha’s Hill between Guildford and Chilworth, where we go walking. The view from the church across the Surrey Hills is beautiful.

Place to relax: Brook Cricket Club between Milford and Haslemere, where my son and I play a lot – for my part, badly.

Place to visit: I love walking the Surrey Hills – particularly for the views from Box Hill across the western Weald.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2013

Restaurant: The Gurkha Kitchen in Oxted, which specialises in Nepalese cuisine. It’s an unlikely thing to find in Surrey, but it’s brilliant.

Shop: Knights Garden Centre in Godstone. We’ve been going there for years and the staff are very friendly. We buy plants and the Christmas tree there once a year. Sadly, I don’t have green fingers myself. I get on my JCB and usually run over plants.

View: The woods behind our house, particularly at the end of April when the bluebells are out. You can glimpse the Weald of Kent through the trees.

Place to relax: At home with my 11 grandchildren. My best days are when all the family get together – which makes 20 altogether. That’s when I’m at peace.

Place to visit: The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. We’re so lucky to have it.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2012

Restaurant: The Thai restaurant at The Victoria pub in Oxshott. It’s amazing – the best Thai food you’ll get anywhere.

Independent fashion shops: Club in Esher and cSee in Cobham. I like to mix and match my labels!

Place to visit: Bockett’s Farm, Fetcham, with my family. We can be ‘mum and dad’ there!

View: Painshill Park in Cobham

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2012

Restaurant: The Star Pub in Chessington. I go there with the kids and the dog. They’re always very welcoming and the food is great. It’s one of the few child-friendly places that doesn’t have bright lighting and plastic flooring!

Shop: Vernon Interiors in Cobham and Esher. I moved house recently so I’ve bought lamps, side tables and picture frames there. I also bought a little sign in their window, which made me laugh out loud. It says: ‘I’m not sure if life is passing me by or trying to run me over.’

View: From the middle of Epsom Downs Racecourse. For 360 degrees, all you can see is big sky and it’s my favourite place to walk the dog.

Place to relax: My house and back garden. I’ve had a veranda built – like the ones you see in the southern states of America – and I love relaxing there.

Place to visit: Box Hill. I like to go with the kids and we round it off with a visit to the Smith &, Western restaurant (we call it the cowboy restaurant) at the top. The authentic Wild West decor makes you feel as though you’ve just stepped off the ranch.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2012

Restaurant: The Pipasha Tandoori in Churt is a great little Indian restaurant.

Shop: The last place I’d go is a music shop, so I guess somewhere like House of Fraser. You can get anything there, right?

View: A walk up to St Catherine’s Hill near Guildford. There’s a ruined chapel up there that is pretty atmospheric.

Place to chill: Frensham Pond – I was a bit disappointed I missed the Hollywood filming there last year.

Place to visit: One of the National Trust places like Clandon Park, I guess.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2012

Restaurant: The Anchor in Ripley has long been a favourite of mine, but after a recent refurbishment, The Onslow pub in our village, West Clandon, is a great place to visit too. Between West Clandon and Ripley, there are some great places to eat out.

Shop: Predictably, you’ll often find me venturing into angling shops to pick up the latest bit of kit. There are a couple of good places in Guildford, and also the Camberley Angling Centre.

View: I love going walking at Newlands Corner in the Surrey Hills, and there are some excellent spots towards the North Downs, where we cycle frequently.

Place to chill: I’ve been away a lot recently with TV commitments, so just coming back home and chilling in the house is a relief. Of course, with the fishing lakes at Clandon there’s always an excuse to head out!

Place to visit: Clandon Park is somewhere we love to spend a day exploring. There’s so much to see in fantastic surroundings, and the relaxed atmosphere that you expect of a National Trust property.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2012

Restaurant: I think it would have to be Wagamama, the noodle restaurant on Guildford High Street. I love it because it’s very busy and I can blend into the crowd. The food is great too.

Shop: I really like Hobbs, the women’s clothing, accessories and footwear store, on Guildford High Street. It sells good quality clothes that last.

View: The panoramic view from the Hog’s Back on the North Downs. The countryside is absolutely breathtaking.

Place to chill: The Odeon cinema in Guildford. It’s a fantastic place to forget all your worries and be in the moment.

Place to visit: The Watts Gallery at Compton, which is devoted to the art of GF Watts, who is widely considered to be one of the best painters of the Victorian age. The gallery is great, but I especially love the tea shop, which serves delicious sandwiches, scones and flapjacks.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2012

Restaurant: Ye Olde Swan, a beautiful 13th century riverside inn at Thames Ditton. It’s a traditional pub with a delightful outside seating area, and in winter they light cosy, roaring fires. They do the best Sunday lunch and you’ll often see me there with my family.

Shops: It would have to be The Stitchery and Bradley &, Brown, in Thames Ditton, which, between them, sell a wonderful range of gifts and home ware – from cards and chocolates to mugs, jewellery and cushions.

Black celebrity beard styles

View: From my kitchen window, which overlooks our walled garden. I can often hear our neighbour’s children practising their violins and, for me, it represents security, homeliness and happiness.

Place to relax: The Lime Tree on Thames Ditton High Street. They do the best coffee, home-made cakes and pastries, as well as fabulous organic lunches. I like to sit outside with a magazine and relax.

Place to visit: Bushy Park, near Hampton Court Palace, which boasts woodland and water gardens, not to mention the spectacular 18th century Diana Fountain. It’s a great place to take the kids.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2012

Restaurant: Al Vicolo in the heart of Guildford – a fantastic Sardinian family restaurant and the best kept secret in Surrey (until now...). I’ve never tasted a more authentic risotto.

Shop: Most of our furnishings were bought at Bardoe and Appel in Tunsgate, Guildford. It stocks a stylish collection of rustic furniture and accessories for the home, specialising in a neutral palette reminiscent of the south of France.

View: The view from the top of St Martha’s Hill, near Guildford. We always stop at our favourite bench near the church to look out over Newlands Corner and other parts of the Surrey Hills. You can also see our village, which is nice.

Place to chill: Once a week, I meet up with four mates at my local pub for a few beers.

Place to visit: RHS Garden Wisley, the flagship of the Royal Horticultural Society, which boasts richly planted borders, luscious rose gardens and a state-of-the-art glasshouse showcasing its world-class plant collection. Our kids love it.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2012

Restaurant: Jo Clark’s cafe and coffee shop in Guildford. It has a good bar menu and serves mouthwatering sandwiches and salads, tea and cake. But what I love most is its live music evenings. I used to perform there with a friend while I was at the BRIT School.

Shop: Guitar Village in Farnham, which sells more than 1,000 instruments from electric and acoustic guitars to ukuleles and mandolins. It’s housed in a period building with rickety floors and there are 12 rooms to explore.

View: Newlands Corner on the North Downs Way near Guildford. It offers some of the best views of the Surrey hills, including expanses of chalk grassland and woodlands. It’s also great for tobogganing.

Place to chill: The lake near my old home in Redhill. It’s such a pretty spot and I love lying along the water’s edge, drinking in the view. It also brings back happy memories of growing up in the neighbourhood.

Place to visit: Painshill Park in Cobham. Every year, they stage a Santa’s grotto on an island in the middle of the lake, decorated with ferns, fairy lights and flicker candles. I took my little cousin there last Christmas and she loved it.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2012

Shop: Little Beau, on Cranleigh High Street. It’s where I buy all my son’s clothes – gorgeous little finds, so cute.

Restaurant: It’s not so much a restaurant as a pub but I love The Parrot at Forest Green – it’s a real hidden Surrey gem!

View: One of my favourites would be Cherkley Court. It’s so full of our history and the rolling estate is just stunning. We’ve got some wonderful photos of my great grandfather there with Winston Churchill.

Place to chill: My grandparents’ stud farm in Ewhurst. It’s lovely to go there and reminisce on the fun we used to have as children.

Place to visit: A walk along the Surrey Hills on a blustery spring Sunday will always do it for me.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2012

Restaurant: The Inn at Maybury on Maybury Hill, Woking. The food is incredible, the decor is amazing, it’s comfortable and very toasty in the winter when they light crackling log fires. It’s a five-star restaurant, but very reasonably priced.

Shop: Full of Surprises on Guildford Street in Chertsey, which sells party goods and novelties. It’s such a fun place and my kids love it. They sell the weirdest collection of stuff from little toys to novelty pens.

View: The view from the Surrey Hills looking down on the olde worlde village of Shere. You can drink in the whole of this picturesque village and it makes you realise that we still live in a green and pleasant land.

Place to chill: My studio at home. It’s my little man cave, full of recording equipment, gold discs and memorabilia from my career.

Place to visit: Hampton Court Palace, which has everything for a fun day out. The history of the place is awe-inspiring, our kids love the maze and we’ve visited the skating rink a lot this winter.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2012

Restaurant: Any comfortable place that doesn’t serve sushi!

Shop: All the wonderful gift shops in Wimbledon Village.

Place to visit: Wimbledon Common, although the whole of Surrey is lovely!

View: Some of the beautiful views from the Surrey Downs.

Pub: Any nice, warm country pub.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2012

Pubs: I have to admit, and hopefully readers can correct me, I think there’s a dearth of good pubs round here. The Three Horseshoes in Thursley is nice actually, but you do kind of walk through the door and bang into the bar!

Restaurants: I like Cambio at the Castle in Guildford. I’m a vegetarian and there really could be more in Surrey, it’s quite hard to find good places to get a pot of lentils round here. I’ve been veggie for a few years now because I started to come round to the thought that if I can’t kill something, which I couldn’t, then I shouldn’t really get anyone else to do it.

View: I used to mountain bike a lot around Blackdown and it’s absolutely the best way to see Surrey. A brilliant way to keep fit and discover new places. I didn’t really do the whole charging round the hills thing, it was more leisurely.

Place to visit: I’ve been to Brooklands Museum in Weybridge a few times, which is absolutely amazing. The aviation and motorsport industries were so closely linked and Brooklands is the perfect place to see that.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2012

Restaurant: The Victoria in West Temple, East Sheen, near Richmond Park. It’s run by my friend, the TV chef Paul Merrett. You get the best Sunday roasts in the world!

Shop: Robson’s Butcher’s in Hampton Hill for great cuts of meat and cheese and ham.

View: From the top of Richmond Hill – it’s perfect.

Place to visit: Hampton Court Palace because the gardens are so lovely to explore.

Pub: The White Cross in Richmond, which is on the river, and The Bell Inn at Hampton.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2011

Restaurant: A lovely Italian, That’s Amore, which is in Old Woking Road, West Byfleet.

Shop: Coco’s Chocolaterie in Station Approach, West Byfleet.

View: The Mount at Guildford, looking towards the Downs.

Place to visit: It would have to be RHS Garden Wisley, near Woking.

Pub: The Anchor at Pyrford Lock where we always have a really fabulous pub lunch.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2011

Pub/Restaurant: There’s always a good Sunday lunch at the Prince of Wales in Esher. We tend to go there most Sundays. There are a whole host of great eateries on the High Street – a couple of which do really great breakfasts, too.

Place to visit: Even though it may technically be Berkshire (although I think it’s right on the border), Sunningdale Golf Course. It’s a place of many, many happy memories for me. It’s where I broke 70 for the first time under the watchful eye of Ernie Els. A great day, so I love heading back there – it brings it all back.

View: View from the 18th hole at Sunningdale – pretty majestic.

Shop: Oh God, that’ll be Danielle’s department. She can talk to you about that one!

Place to relax: It’s definitely home for me.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2011

Restaurant: Dinner at home is more of a treat for me than dinner out, so my favourite restaurant would be Chez Moi minus the cooking, or a bloody steak bought from PJ Dale in East Molesey.

Shop: The Walton Road charity shops in West Molesey, where I often hunt for bargains. There are a whole cluster of them near Tesco and I rarely leave empty-handed. One of my favourite purchases was a set of 12 pretty flowery teacups and saucers, which we used at the office. Sadly, only four survive – the care that curators take in handling historic items doesn’t extend to our own crockery!

View: The sight that greets you from the leaded roof of Hampton Court’s east range, which looks down between the barley-sugar chimney stacks at the Thames and the Mole, and the gardens and the parks of Hampton Court and Bushy. It makes you realise what a peaceful oasis of trees, gardens and water we have here.

Place to relax: Claremont Gardens near Esher. At the moment I’m obsessed with Princess Charlotte, the daughter of George IV, who died in 1817, along with her child, at Claremont House after a 48-hour labour. She was only 21. I did some filming about her there recently.

Place to visit: Hampton Court Palace, of course!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2011

Place to visit: Hampton Court Palace. Autumn is best when all the leaves begin to turn.

View: From my balcony over the River Thames.

Restaurant: Browns in Jerome Place, Kingston. It’s classy, it serves great food and they have a pianist some evenings, which I just love.

Shop: Pie, and Pie 2 next door, at the Bentall Centre. I can pick up a cocktail dress, casual jeans or a pretty designer top. There is never too much of each item on the rack so it’s a bit exclusive. And if you go there and mention me you might get a discount!

Place to shop for food: The market in the town square. I like to support local producers and think we should all try to shop locally. I love fresh leafy salads and fresh vegetables from the market.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2011

Restaurant: I’m not sure it’s my favourite but the Thai Terrace in Guildford is amazing. It’s on the top of a car park, which I still find really surprising – you don’t really expect it. It’s very cool.

View: I’ve always enjoyed the view from the Hog’s Back and it’s a brilliant name to be able to drop into random conversation.

Shop: I attach so much nostalgia to the Blockbuster in Reigate. I’ve had so many good times because of it and I was a master of the ‘mega fine’. I had a film that had been taken off the list and brought it back two years later – the fine would have been about £5,000. I still don’t think I ever watched it. It was AI.

Place to visit: Fanny’s Farm Shop – we could get a charity gig going in the tree house. Well, me in the tree house with a speaker and everyone below. It could happen.

Place to relax: Definitely home for me.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2011

Pub: It would have been the Seven Stars in Leigh, but now I don’t touch the drink.

Restaurant: I’m still very sentimental about The Good Earth in Esher. It’s where all the crew used to go and I’ve always enjoyed it. Still do.

View: If you head up onto the hills around Hurtwood, it’s an amazing view and we are

the greenest place in a very green patchwork.

Place to Visit: The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford was fun. Kids need to find themselves before they become a musician, but these places can’t hurt. I was self-taught and enjoy that, but at some point you have to learn the technicalities.

Place to Chill: Here, with a good polo match and a great band playing in the evening. Quite timely that.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2011

Restaurant: The little cafe at Frensham Garden Centre, near Frensham Ponds, which serves the best quiche I’ve ever tasted. I will travel a long way for quiche. The runner-up would be the Watts Gallery tea rooms in Compton. The cake is divine.

Shop: Heal’s in Guildford. It still stands for fantastic design.

View: From the top of Guildford Castle. I can see my old house and all the lovely Baillie Scott Arts and Crafts houses I want to buy. I adore the period quality of Guildford High Street.

Place to visit: It would have to be RHS Wisley. My husband’s godfather, Christopher Brickell, was the director general of the RHS. The children love it – they can run and run and run. And I love looking at the design elements of plants.

Place to relax: Pewley Down, near Guildford, where my parents have an allotment. You can hear the birds without the traffic and there are also fantastic views.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2011

Shop: “This one! Budda ‘n’ Spice in Church Street, Cobham.”

Restaurant: “I always love The Chequers in Walton on the Hill. It’s about 15 or 20 minutes drive away, but it’s fantastic for Sunday lunches. I go there quite a bit. And Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is my favourite place to go and eat. I love the garden centre there too.”

View: “I love walking round the lake near where I live on the Wintershall Estate, near Bramley. It’s just a beautiful place. On the lake, there’s an old derelict boathouse. We always go walking round there.”

Place to Visit: “My house! I love being in it. It’s got huge high ceilings and great big fireplaces. Every day, I get in my car and drive to town, so any chance I can I love staying at home!”

Place to chill: “My bedroom. I just love relaxing there…”

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2011

Restaurant: “It would be The Plough at Effingham. The food’s always good. And La Casa in Weybridge. We don’t really have an upscale restaurant round here…”

Shop: “Dandini in Weybridge. I buy my wife flowers there every year.”

Place to go: “I like that horticultural place, Wisley.”

Place to chill: “I enjoy walking the dog on the fields round the back of our house.”

View: “Box Hill. We haven’t been there much, but it would be right up there.”

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2011

Restaurant: Fanny’s Farm Shop at Markedge Lane in Merstham. It has a tea room, tea garden and even resident chickens, pigs and sheep. It’s a bizarre jumble of a place, but it’s so weird I love it.

Place to shop: Knights of Reigate in Bell Street. It’s one of those old-fashioned department stores which sell everything from slippers to vast three-piece suites. It also has a wonderfully eclectic fabric area, where I’ve bought wildly extravagant material for my tail coats.

Place to chill: Home again.

Place to visit: The Leatherhead Theatre. It’s terrific. It’s very architecturally exciting and puts on great shows.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2011

Restaurant: Layla in Esher High Street. It’s Lebanese, with a great vibe. The food is always amazing and it has a really nice ambience.

Pub: The Canbury Arms in Kingston upon Thames. It serves great gastro pub food and the wines are fantastic. We know all the guys behind the bar and take all our friends there.

Shop: Bentalls department store in Kingston. You can get everything you want and they’ve got a new beauty section where we’ve had some facials and eyebrow shaping.

View: The highest point of Richmond Park, where you can see right across to Canary Wharf. It’s beautiful, especially at night.

Place to chill: Our new home. The plans for our new extension have just come through and we’re enjoying the house before all the turbulence starts again. We need to find good builders and source a good Surrey kitchen supplier, so send us your recommendations!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2011

Restaurant: The Grumpy Mole at Tadworth and The Dining Room in Reigate. The food and atmosphere are excellent at both.

Place to shop: The shopping centres in Kingston and Guildford are both great and cover all needs.

View: From the top of Box Hill – the rather steep climb is all worth it when you take in the breathtaking views across the Surrey countryside! You can see for miles.

Activity: Walking at Headley with my dog.

Place to visit: My mum and dad’s house in Cobham!

Published in Surrey Life magazine December 2010

Restaurant: Well, you’d expect me to say Red in Weybridge, wouldn’t you? I also like the Gaucho Grill in Richmond, where I went for my little brother’s birthday. They serve amazing steaks. Can I also mention my other brother’s fish and chip shop in Richmond? It’s called The Fishery Club.

Places to shop: River Island in Kingston. I also like Pie 5 at the Bentall Centre in Kingston. They sell lovely designer stuff, including £200 jeans. I have three pairs, which still look new even though they’re three years old.

View: The top of Box Hill. I used to go up there when I owned a motorbike. I’ve loved it ever since I first visited on a school trip.

Places to chill: Richmond Park or Bushy Park in the summer, with my own barbecue and a rug.

Place to visit: Claremont Landscape Garden in Esher, which borders my former school, Claremont Fan Court School. It’s owned by the National Trust and there’s a lot to see, including a lake, island, pavilion and grotto.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2010

Restaurant: Bryce’s restaurant in Ockley. They serve wonderful fresh fish and seafood.

Places to shop: Hazelbank Country Stores in Ewhurst, near Cranleigh. It’s our village shop and very convenient because it opens late and sells all the essentials. I also like Notcutts Garden Centre in Cranleigh, where I buy plants and bird food.

View: The top of Holmbury Hill, which offers fine views over the south of Surrey and Sussex. It’s the middle peak in a range of three hills affectionately known as Surrey’s Little Switzerland.

Place to chill: At home in my garden. I love flowers, particularly roses. I also have hanging baskets and pots in the stable yard.

Place to visit: The Parrot Inn, which overlooks the village green in Forest Green. It’s the hub of village life and we’ve made many friends there. It’s a traditional pub with low-beamed ceilings and they specialise in delicious locally-produced food in their bar and restaurant.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2010

Restaurant: A Cena, a fantastic Italian in Richmond. Their fabulous deli, A Cena on the Hill, also sells mouth-watering pasta, olives, cheese and artisan breads baked on the premises.

Places to shop: Matches in Richmond. I’m a big fan. Too big a fan! Their buyers bring everything together in one shop that you’d normally spend the whole day scouring the West End for. And they’ve got a fabulous coffee machine, too!

View: The view from the top of Richmond Hill. You can see right over London. Places to chill: The spa at Pennyhill Park Hotel in Bagshot, which was recently voted England’s leading spa resort. It’s ideal when you want to de-stress.

Place to visit: Claremont Landscape Garden in Esher. This beautiful 18th century garden, now managed by the National Trust, surrounds a small lake and features an unusual grass amphitheatre. It’s a great place to take the family and there’s a lovely tea room.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2010

Restaurant: When I was growing up, I loved the Corona café on Guildford High Street. My mother used to herd us in there when she didn’t know what else to do with us, and I remember businessmen sipping tea behind their newspapers. We had a family saying: “Oh, we’re going to be very Corona”, which meant we were going to have something to eat while reading our comics.

Places to shop: I hate shopping and famously wear the same things for 15 years. But John Lewis in Kingston is rather wonderful and I like Debenhams in Guildford.

View: St Martha’s Hill between Guildford and Chilworth. My father used to take us there for the Boxing Day meet, which I think is a rather ghastly thing now, but didn’t then. It’s a beautiful spot and so steep that we used to slide down the hill on trays when it snowed.

Places to chill: When I was a student, we used to sit along the River Wey in Berryfield. The Jolly Farmer Inn in Bramley, near Guildford, is also a favourite.

Place to visit: Loseley House, near Guildford, has very fond memories for me because I performed in two open-air productions there – A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night – before becoming a professional actress.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2010

Restaurant: The Dining Room in The Club House at Wentworth Golf Club.

Shop: The shops just over the border at Windsor are nice. I love the town of Windsor, it’s a lovely place to visit.

View: Virginia Water at Windsor Great Park. Lovely for a relaxed stroll in the afternoon.

Place to chill: In my garden, watering my pots at the end of the day with a glass of wine ready for when I have finished deadheading all the flowers.

Place to visit: Wentworth Golf Course for a round and lunch in The Grill afterwards.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2010

Restaurant: I like the Good Earth in Esher and Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in Kingston. We also like Wagamama, the Japanese and sushi restaurant, in Kingston.

Shop: The Bentall Centre in Kingston is amazing and we go there for most of our shopping.

View: The river in Kingston is lovely and my daughter loves watching the boats.

Place to chill: I like to relax at my home gym. It really helps let off steam after a hard day’s work.

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Place to visit: Bocketts Farm near Leatherhead. Our children love the farm animals and the indoor play area. We visit every two to three weeks.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2010

Restaurant: My favourite Chinese is The Orient in Esher. I’ll drive all the way to Esher just to get my Chinese takeaway and then bring it home again! I love it.

Shop: I use The Heart in Walton a lot. One of my favourite stores at the minute is River Island and you’ve got Next there, too. And I love Kingston.

Place to visit: My favourite thing in summer is to go to Richmond Park and have a hot dog. It reminds me of home – back in Denmark they’re such a big thing. Then we just walk for a long time. My dog Sven loves it. He learned to swim there. One year, he wouldn’t get in, the next year he just jumped in the water. We were standing watching him like proud parents!

Place to chill: I really like the Weybridge Health Club. When I’m exhausted, there’s nothing better than a sauna and steam. It’s lovely there across the fields – you feel like you’re leaving the world behind.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2010

Restaurants: It would have to be Akash and Mehfil in Wallington. I always have a king prawn biryani. I also like Osushi and Bagatti’s in South End, Croydon.

Place to shop: House of Fraser in Croydon, where I buy a new frying pan once a year.

View: Any window from my house.

Place to chill: Under a tree in my garden, doing the crossword.

Place to visit: I just love where I am. If I loved somewhere that much, I’d go and live there.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2010

Restaurant: The Good Earth, on the top of Richmond Hill, is simply one of the best Chinese takeaways around, it’s sensational!

Shop: Eden Park is a great brand, I got involved in the business side of things for a while with a franchise in Richmond.

View: Well, the view from here at The Petersham across the Thames towards Twickenham would certainly be a hard one to beat.

Place to visit: Twickenham Stadium, of course, holds a very special place in my heart. It’s the envy of much of the sporting world.

Place to chill: Cycling is a form of relaxation, I guess… I’ve also got a lovely family, with my wife and kids, so I just enjoy being at home really, going for walks in Richmond Park.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2010

Restaurant: I really like The Anchor in Ripley. They have a great Thai restaurant. I’m always there having lunch! I also love The Talbot Inn in Ripley.

Shop: I’m always in the local garden centre, too, at Clandon Park, so that would definitely be up there among my favourites!

View: I love going walking at Newlands Corner, in the Surrey Hills, so it would have to be the spectacular view across the countryside from there.

Place to chill: I enjoy fishing on the lakes at Clandon, and that’s definitely very relaxing. Certainly compared with my Extreme Fishing series, anyway!

Place to visit: I really enjoy going to Clandon Park, a stunning Palladian mansion open to the public and run by the National Trust, and I also love cycling the North Downs route down to Brighton.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2010

Restaurant: I love to eat out at POST in Banstead. I probably go there a couple of times a week. No matter what I eat, I always order broccoli as a side order – it’s become a standing joke. If I ordered something and didn’t order broccoli, they’d think there was something wrong with me. The staff are really friendly, and I do like a restaurant with a mirror-ball. During the day, it casts little circles of light on the walls, which I find endlessly fascinating.

Shop: It would have to be a charity shop. For me, they could be called prop shops because they are the best places to buy props for my act. I don’t like Oxfam because it’s no longer full of junk – it’s all wooden recorders and cups that have been specially made. My favourite is St Raphael’s Hospice charity shop in Cheam village. It’s an Aladdin’s Cave of bric-a-brac. I recently bought an entire sheet of old stamps – penny reds – for only a pound.

View: I’m a big fan of the view from Nork Park. On New Year’s Eve, I stood there, on my own in the dark, at the moment that all the fireworks went off.

Place to chill: I have a very good friend called Roger and we sometimes have lunch at a restaurant called The American Way in Cheam.They’ve even named a burger after me. It’s called The You Must Be Joking Burger (as recommended by Tim Vine), so in my world that’s very exciting.

Place to visit: I like to visit my mum and dad in Sutton for Sunday lunch. We eat a great meal and then the three of us fall asleep ten minutes into an episode of Columbo. My mum and dad have a nice small house, with a small garden, but a heck of a lot of food.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2009

Restaurants: I love Matsuba on Red Lion Street in Richmond, which offers a mix of Japanese and Korean cuisine, and Frere Jacques, a wonderful French brasserie on the river in Kingston where we celebrated the Rose Theatre’s first birthday. I mostly cook at home. Steak and chips and spaghetti bolognese are the kids’ favourites.

Places to shop: I like Matches, Joseph and Space NK for clothes and Dickens &, Jones for make-up. I do my food shopping at M&,S and Waitrose, and receive a weekly organic vegetable delivery from Riverford Organics.

View: Richmond Hill down to the river. The Prince’s Trust dug up broken paths and reseeded indigenous grasses and wild flowers, and I cut the opening ribbon with Sir David Attenborough, who lives around the corner.

Place to chill: Richmond Park again. We used to keep horses there, but mine developed arthritis so we keep him out in the country. Now, we’ve got old-fashioned Pashley bicycles with baskets instead.

Places to visit: The Rose Theatre in Kingston is always top of my list. I also love Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, which serves a delicious seasonal menu at its cafe and teahouse. Ham House and garden in Ham, with its sumptuous 17th century interiors and restored formal gardens, is also a must.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2009

Restaurant: I’m particularly fond of the Black Swan pub over in Ockham.

Shop: I’m not a big shopper, but I love the fact that in Ripley there’s a shop, Richardsons, that is both a motorcycle shop and florist. I think it’s a combination that never occurred to me. Apparently, it’s a husband and wife who run it. They didn’t want to put a wall in between the two shops.

View: From St Martha-on-the-Hill, just outside Guildford. It’s quite a puff to get up the hill, but it’s my favourite place to stretch my legs. That’s my favourite view. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

Place to chill: At home. If I’m not sitting around shooting the breeze with my kids, then I’ve got a large room where I devote my time to my loom and my weaving. I’m making quite a lot of rag rugs currently. It’s an old Scandinavian thing.

Place to visit: My favourite thing to do is go to Ripley farmers’ market, which is once a month on a Saturday. You can get fabulous fresh food and meat. I always make the time to stop and have a coffee and a chat with the stallholders.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2009

Restaurant: Chinese and Thai are one of my favourite cuisines, and Pauline and I often eat at Rumwong and the Thai Terrace in Guildford.

Shop: Vernon Antiques, because my wife and I absolutely love antiques.

View: The view from Ranmore Common is breathtaking, it’s one of the reasons that I love living in Surrey.

Place to chill: Loseley Park in Guildford is the perfect place to relax and gather my thoughts.

Place to visit: With my busy schedule, I don’t often get a chance to appreciate the lovely places there are to visit in England, but when I do, Polesden Lacey and Hampton Court Palace are two of my favourites.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2009

Restaurants: The Good Earth on the High Street in Esher serves great Chinese food and Il Ponte in Hanger Hill, Weybridge, is a really nice, quaint Italian joint.

Place to shop: The Bentall Centre in Kingston upon Thames. There’s so much to choose from and the precinct makes shopping safe and fun.

View: The views of the park and countryside at Box Hill are breathtaking - perfect for walking, cycling or picnics.

Place to chill: My garden in St George’s Hill, Weybridge. It’s planted with lovely mature trees and shrubs and it’s so peaceful. I really enjoy gardening... just don’t ask me to name any plants!

Places to visit: Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking and Garsons Pick-Your-Own Farm in Esher, which is great for fresh fruit and vegetables. Last but not least, Chessington World of Adventures... I love fast rides!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2009

Restaurant: Either Loch Fyne in Cobham when we fancy seafood or the George in Esher. They’re both very friendly and the food is great.

Shop: I love all my local shops in Ashtead. For flowers, I pop into Ward &, Cross after taking Fin to school, for cards and presents, I go to Bumbles on the High Street as I can always find something, for things for the house, I love J Decor Interiors in Epsom as they are always friendly, helpful and brutally honest about whether I’m buying the right thing or not, which is great!

View: Epsom Downs on a sunny day. Whether it’s cold and snowy or bathed in sunshine, the view near the racecourse always lifts my spirits and makes me happy that I don’t live in a city any more. I can’t wait to get a dog, so I’ll have an excuse to get out there every day.

Place to chill: I’m a real home bird, but I love going for family bike rides with a little picnic, either to the park or the common. It’s very relaxing and fun, as long as no squabbles break out between the smaller family members.

Place to visit: Bocketts Farm near Leatherhead. My children, aged two and seven, want to do very different things and this is somewhere that we can all have fun. Amy loves feeding the sheep, while Finlay adores bouncing on the trampolines. On a nice day, we take a picnic and let the kids play while we try and enjoy the peace.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2009

Restaurant: The Albany just outside Thames Ditton on Queens Road. It’s a riverside pub with a great atmosphere and the menu has lots of homely, comfort food.

Shop: I’m a big fan of Fratelli’s delicatessen on Park Road in Kingston. We’re a foodie family and I always find something new there every time I visit. The bruschetta, Parma ham and roasted peppers are delicious.

View: I often go running in Richmond Park and the viewpoint there has an amazing outlook over the lakes. On a misty day, it’s magical up there.

Place to chill: On the river. It’s my special place and somewhere I always feel happy.

Place to visit: Hampton Court Palace has always been a real family favourite.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2009

Shop: The Heart shopping centre in Walton. I’m a bit of a high street shopper really, and the Heart’s got everything I need. Although I am devastated that Woolworths has gone. Jack and I used to go there on Saturday mornings and it had everything from pick and mix to DVDs and birthday presents.

Restaurant: I love Nando’s in Walton - we go with Jack. And Eamonn and I love the tapas bar, El Meson de Los Hermanos, on Baker Street in Weybridge.

Place to visit: RHS Wisley. I love gardening and have presented some gardening shows, so I’m looking forward to taking my mum there.

View: Box Hill. It’s so beautiful. But I bet everyone says that!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2009

Restaurant: I don’t go out that often but after a concert at the Dorking Halls we went to one called The Bali and they were brilliant, courteous and helpful. That is the main thing about eating out for me - being well looked after.

Shop: Sadly, our village shop closed many years ago. If I want to buy a very special present for somebody, I will go to The Fig Tree in Dorking - they have really unusual things and they’ve got that personal attention to detail.

Relax: Both my favourite view and place to relax are my home. I’ve got lovely woods, where all the animals live.

Visit: I’m mad about gardens, so it’s definitely RHS Wisley for me. I’m a member and I get their magazines so that I know when everything is happening. If I have a visitor, I will always try to take them to Wisley.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2009

Shop: The bookshop that’s next to the fish and chip shop in Richmond (The Open Book)

Restaurant: Petersham Nurseries - have I mentioned that?

View: From the top of Richmond Hill

Place to chill: Walking along the towpath from Richmond to Kew

Place to visit: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2009

Restaurant: Casa Nova in Virginia Water, which I’ve only discovered in the last year or so. It’s an Italian restaurant staffed entirely by Spaniards, but it’s got that welcoming atmosphere and the spacing of the tables tells you that you are going to have a good evening. That’s where I have been taking my family.

Shop: I’ve bought a lot of gear at Establishment in Weybridge

View: The view from my home is lovely. We overlook the broadwater and you look out to parakeets, swans, ducks and a heron. It’s quite therapeutic. The parakeets are noisy buggers but the relations love them.

Place to visit: I went up to Walton Firs, the outdoor activity centre in Cobham, with Lady Baden Powell last year and it was great. It was so obvious that so much fun had been had there. I came away really feeling that I’d had a therapeutic experience.

Place to relax: In one of my local pubs. As long as I don’t drive the the landlords away that is...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2008

Restaurant: La Capanna in Cobham

Shop: Not Just Silver - a jewellery shop in Weybridge

View: The view of the River Thames from Shepperton

Place to visit: Wisley Gardens, near Woking

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2008

Place to visit: I love Chobham Common. I’m on it all the time. That’s really my favourite spot.

Shop: I love going into Oxfam shops - they’re always good fun.

Restaurant: I don’t have time to go to restaurants, I’m too busy with the animals.I haven’t been to a restaurant for about ten years!

Garden: RHS Wisley gardens. I’ve never been and I really want to go. My passion is gardening. I’ve got quite a large garden and it’s very tropical. Wisley sounds second to none!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2008

Restaurant: I’m not that much of a fish fan, but oddly, my two favourites are Loch Fyne in Cobham, which is a lovely place to go for Sunday lunch, and Superfish on the Old Woking Road for a really basic, old-fashioned fish and chip meal. Very different - both gorgeous.

Shop: Coco’s Chocolaterie in West Byfleet. They sell gorgeous Belgian chocolate and jewellery - I mean, what a combination! I love it.

View: From Newlands Corner, near Guildford, where you can see the Downs. If you’ve never been there, it’s really worth a visit.

Place to chill: David Lloyd in Brooklands. I go there to work out, but also to have a cappuccino. Good coffee is very important to me.

Place to visit: Painshill Park. It’s such a wonderful place to spend the day. I went there a few weeks ago with my daughter and her little friend. We walked for three-and-a-half hours, which was hard work, but we took a picnic and it was absolutely delightful.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine October 2008

View: I like walking the dog down the lane just here. It’s all wooded and you suddenly come out and there’s a beautiful view over fields towards Leith Hill.

Place: Polesden Lacey. Again, there’s this place where you walk through woods and suddenly you come on a view of Polesden Lacey from the top of a hill.

Restaurant: The Gurkha Kitchen in Reigate. It’s very, very nice.

Shopping: Dorking. Although Reigate’s much nicer now than when we moved there 30 years ago.

Place to chill: This is my favourite place - I just love looking out and seeing the llamas!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2008

Restaurant: Me and the wife don’t really have anywhere in particular. We tend to just muck about down the local pubs.

Shop: Erm, nothing really comes to mind for that one. You’d have to ask the missus.

View: I thought Cranleigh School was incredible when I played there with the Bunburys (the travelling charity cricket team) the other day.

Place to go: I really like the horses and Surrey has some great racecourses.

Place to chill: Sitting in the back garden with my feet up and a beer, usually.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2008

Restaurant: There are lots of good restaurants around here but I think La Barbe in West Street, Reigate, is one of the best French restaurants anywhere.

Shop: The Cancer Research Shop here has wonderful staff, including a lady in her 90s. They’re lovely with everyone. [In July 2002, Nicholas was diagnosed with kidney cancer but has since recovered. He became an honorary patron of Kidney Cancer UK in 2003.]

View: My own back garden! It’s in sight of the North Downs and is a mass of colour in spring and summer.

Place to chill: My wife, Brenda, and I love to walk. Despite the fact that we’re so close to the M25 and Gatwick, Reigate Heath is a lovely place any time in any weather. If I’m feeling under a little bit of pressure, it always clears my mind.

Place to visit: Brockham village, where I have my allotment, is a beautiful place - and a reminder that there are so many lovely villages away from it all in this neck of the woods.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2008

Restaurant: Cambio’s in Guildford. It’s a great Italian. We had our office Christmas party there.

Shop: The Courtyard in Guildford. It sells gorgeous clothes.

View: Pitch Hill. I really love it up there.

Place to chill: Jodie’s place near Cranleigh. I can pop in so easily now the office is close by.

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine May 2008

Restaurant: La Terrazza, near Surbiton library, for a lovely, cosy celebration with friends and Italian food.

Shop: The Lion and Unicorn bookshop in Richmond.

View: Home Park at Hampton Court - it’s just magical walking along the line of trees at twilight. It has fallow deer and parakeets too.

Place to chill: In the swimming baths. I go every day to the Kingfisher in Kingston and also go to my health club in Kingston.

Place to visit: I like Loseley House near Guildford. It’s a lovely house with gorgeous gardens and fabulous ice cream!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine April 2008

Restaurant: The Tree House, in Croydon, which is the best restaurant I have been to locally - the food is great.

Shop: The Ann Summers shop in Croydon of course! The best shop in Surrey!

View: From my father's house in Caterham... It has such a beautiful view across his garden and the Surrey countryside.

Place to chill: Addington Palace. I go there to have their fantastic treatments when I need some pampering.

Place to visit: Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. It is just the most amazing place with its critically acclaimed restaurant and its fabulous garden centre. I love my garden, so garden centres are always great places for me!

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2008

Restaurant: I love that tapas bar (El Meson De Los Hermanos) on Baker Street in Weybridge. It’s like being on holiday in there - and I don’t get on holiday enough!

Shop: I don’t mind shopping in lovely places. We picked up a few presents recently in that wee gift shop in Shere.

View: Oh, it’s got to be Box Hill. It’s so beautiful there.

Place to chill: Home! I’m so busy I love having the chance to relax at home in Weybridge, especially now I don’t have to fly to Belfast so much as my kids come here.

Place to visit: Painshill - that’s a lovely place for taking Jack at the weekends.

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