A Mediaeval Abbey away from the crowds

It is a British thing: to stumble inadvertently upon a mediaeval abbey.

Nestling about an hour’s drive from the Olympic crowds,  by the River Wey in Surrey, sits this perfect picnic spot.

Waverley Abbey has sat, unoccupied, since Henry VIII ordered it demolished and the last monks expelled in the 1530s.

It was built in 1136 by Bishop of Winchester William Giffard.

But you can take your picnic and eat where the good brothers ate, in a refectory with fan-vaulted ceilings, for the price of the tank of petrol which will take you there.

Wander round the old abbey, see the sight of the high altar, marvel at the huge and ancient yew tree which has probably seen the rise and fall of this monastic community.

It is a stunning location, which has been used by film makers for a plethora of films including 28 Days Later (2002) Elizabeth, The Golden Age (2007)  and the Darwin film Creation (2009).

It is a hidden gem.

You can find details of Waverley Abbey at the English Heritage website here


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