Can you hear it? The wholesome swell of plinky-plonky music, the earnest exchange of romantic declarations, the satisfying crunch of snow underfoot…yep the season of the festive rom-com is back. As you cosy up under thick blankets to watch lighthearted love stories, we wouldn’t blame you if you started getting a pang of jealousy seeing all the storybook villages and tranquil countryside settings on screen.
Luckily, they don’t just exist in fiction, you can hop on a train or get behind the wheel and find yourself walking the winding streets of cinema’s favourite winter romance in less than a two-hour journey from central London. Your destination? Shere, the picture-perfect village from Nancy Meyer’s flick ‘The Holiday’.
Where exactly is Shere?
Ideal for a wholesome day trip or a chilled weekend getaway, Shere is found less than five miles south-east of Guildford. Prepare for scenic views. The village is in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so you’ll be sure to encounter rolling hills, sweeping meadows and no doubt plenty of woodland walks.
The drive from London is roughly an hour and ten minutes. Handily, there’s a village car park for you to leave your car while you go for a spot of exploration. Of course, those of you who don’t drive don’t have to miss out either, there are trains from London Victoria to Dorking, and a short bus journey will get you to Shere.
Where was ‘The Holiday’ filmed in Shere?
If it’s strictly filming locations you’re after, we’ve got you. Follow in the footsteps of Cameron Diaz’s Amanda and Jude Law’s Graham and head on over to the White Horse Pub for a drink, and dinner if you fancy, by a crackling fire. While Iris’ (Kate Winslet) Rosehill Cottage technically doesn’t exist – the interiors are all sets and the idyllic exterior was built from scratch – you can see how Shere’s collection of quintessentially English dwellings inspired the film’s romantic, rustic home. Plus, you can still take in the cottage’s beautiful hilltop views and recreate Amanda’s climactic run back along the woodland path – maybe minus the precarious heels though, but you do you of course.
It’s not just The Holiday you’ll recognise Shere from. The village’s Grade-I listed St James’ Church has popped up in rom-com favourites Bridget Jones’s Diary (as the spot where Bridget’s parents renewed their vows) and The Wedding Date (where the drama-filled wedding of Kat’s sister unfolded). More recently, the village appeared in Hugh Laurie’s 2022 adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? which starred Will Poulter, Emma Thompson and Bridget Jones’ Jim Broadbent, the latter clearly back for round two.
In fact, it has been a popular filming location for almost 100 years, featuring in many television dramas and Hollywood flicks, including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Beauty and The Beast, Silent Witness, Breeders and many more. While some of these filming locations may look more familiar – and cinematic – covered in a festive dusting of snow, they are sure to plunge you straight back through the screen all year round.
In between your film-inspired adventures, there are plenty of other treasures to be found around the village. Kick things off with a tasty breakfast in The Dabbling Duck tearoom, breathe in the fresh winter air and soak up some natural beauty on the 5km Shere Trail or, if you’re a gin fan, pay a visit to Silent Pool Distillers for a tour where you’ll learn all about their process and the history behind its intriguing name.
Basically, there is no shortage of things to do in Shere. Whether you go for ‘The Holiday’ nostalgia or a bit of countryside escapism. Just be sure to bring a camera, cause once you set eyes on this chocolate-box village you’ll understand why it became a favourite spot in the world of film.