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Haslemere Hall

February 17, 2023

Haslemere Hall

Haslemere Hall is an independently run Arts Venue in Haslemere town centre that hosts musical theatre and live music performances, plus cinema screenings. We chatted with Haslemere Hall’s General Manager, Howard Bicknell, to find out more about what goes on there and a glimpse into its colourful history.

Tell us a bit about Haslemere Hall

Haslemere Hall is a fully equipped theatre seating approximately 340 in the main auditorium with an upper balcony. There are regular cinema showings of current films and live streamed events, plus a popular annual panto. It is also used for lectures, meetings and events. Not to mention a licensed bar!

What are some of the things we can expect to see at Haslemere Hall?

For several years now, Haslemere Hall has been able to stream events via satellite from a wide variety of venues and production companies from the UK and worldwide, including the UK’s very own National Theatre, so that visitors can see the performance live, in real time.

This allows them to literally have the best seat in the house. It also means, of course that the audience can see a big show from their local area at a fraction of the West End prices. We also have a packed schedule of music from live bands to tribute acts, plus orchestral and choral concerts.

And it’s become a popular destination for watching the latest cinema releases?

Yes. When the Rex cinema in Haslemere closed its doors, the Trustees decided to introduce film shows in conjunction with Southern Cinema Services. All the latest releases are shown on several days each month and the Hall has also branched out to include specialist screenings and started to show more independent films and documentaries as well as foreign films that are subtitled. We’re committed to showing films that don’t necessarily have big backers and budgets but have a great story with an important message.

It’s quite a multipurpose space, isn’t it?

Yes, the Hall also provides the home for many local societies, clubs, charities and theatre schools. It offers them a place to meet, rehearse, listen to guest speakers, dance and host parties and award ceremonies.


Can you tell us a little about its history?

The Hall was founded in 1912 by local benefactor Barclay Lewis Day. He decided to build a Hall with his own money and invited well-known architects to submit their plans in a competition for the best design. The winning design was by Annesley Brownrigg F.R.I.B.A. The early 1900s saw the tail end of the Arts and Crafts Movement in England, and the design reflects this influence, such as a particularly fine curved stone staircase leading to the upper Rotunda sitting out area and balcony.

The Hall was officially opened in January 1914. The opening coincided with the outbreak of World War I and for the first four years of its life, the Hall was requisitioned by the War Office and used as drill hall for the troops.

How did your involvement with the Hall come about?

I was born and brought up in Haslemere and when I moved back in 2010 I found myself drawn back to Haslemere Hall, which for me had been a bit of a home from home in my teenage and early twenties. I had enjoyed both rehearsals and performing on the stage with the Haslemere Players, and with the Haslemere Thespians in musicals, plays and pantomimes.

Coming on board as Manager has been both amazing and challenging. We have a great team here and work with some brilliant volunteers too. Since updating and upgrading the facilities and also rebranding, I feel like we are now rising like a Phoenix after Covid - working and developing our knowledge of our customers and what they would like to see. It’s a fantastic place to work and every day is different.


What are the main challenges with running this kind of venue?

A building that is over 100 years old constantly requires attention in the form of repairs and renewals. Improvements and modernisation work are undertaken as funds permit. The ‘Friends of Haslemere Hall’ was set up as a way for local people to contribute to its upkeep and hopefully a flourishing future.

Give us a flavour of what is coming up at Haslemere Hall this year?

There will be live screenings from the National Theatre, opera from the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare, ballet, drama, thrillers and all-time family favourites. Plus, we’ll be welcoming live bands alongside choral concerts and showing a mix of all the latest cinema releases. There really is something for everyone.


Finally, can you share with us some of your favourite businesses in Haslemere

I’m a big fan of Charter Walk Kitchen Living – such a great team of people who provide an excellent service and product. They take the time to learn who you are and they’re specialists in all they do. You can count on Oliver’s Coffee Shop & Wine Bar for friendly, quick service and first-rate food. They’re also a caring, inspiring business, involved with the community. Finally, Couchman Hanson Solicitors – approachable, knowledgeable and always willing to give helpful advice.

Find out more:

Haslemere Hall, Bridge Road, Haslemere, Surrey GU27 2AS

Find out what’s on at


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Leading independent estate agent, Grantley, unveils dynamic new website

February 17, 2023

Leading independent estate agent, Grantley, unveils dynamic new website

The stylish portal is the latest development in this prestige property group’s rebrand as it continues its expansion across Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire.

Grantley estate agents has launched a stylish new website to reflect its position as one of the area’s leading luxury property and lifestyle brands operating in Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire.

The launch, which coincides with the opening of a new office situated in a beautifully renovated listed building in Church Street, Godalming, is the latest development in the company’s rebrand as it continues its expansion plans in the area.

The sophisticated website, designed and built by local Surrey digital marketing agency Air Social, is a step away from the firm’s previous site, which had a corporate feel and instead focuses on the lifestyle aspect of moving home.

"Buying and selling a home is about so much more than a business transaction. We believe that specific and individual marketing is paramount when showcasing our clients' homes and we tailor everything we do to suit our  clients’ needs to promote their homes in the most effective and inspirational way that we can," explains Grantley Director David Williams.

"The Grantley team has an exceptional depth of knowledge and experience in the marketing of country properties, listed buildings and premium town centre family homes, as well as the lifestyle that goes along with that and we wanted to reflect that in this new website."

Instead of a purely generic catalogue of properties listed for sale and to let, the new easy-to-navigate website adopts an editorial-style creative concept offering users a similar experience to what you might get from the pages of a magazine.

The Community Hub page provides a little black book of useful information and interviews with local independent companies that Grantley supports and recommends, offering users a unique insight into the local communities in which they might be looking to live.

The Let Us Move You page shines a light on the Grantley approach to marketing a  property, while the Showreel page features a selection of stunning bespoke videos by local videographer Mark Hardy that Grantley has commissioned and expertly showcase the level of detail put into their property marketing services.


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Grantley’s expansion continues with new office opening in Godalming

Grantley Godalming Office

February 17, 2023

Grantley’s expansion continues with new office opening in Godalming

Leading independent country house sales, lettings and management company has created a home-from-home for clients in Church Road.

Grantley, one of the leading country house sales, lettings and management companies operating across Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire, has opened a new office in Godalming.

Situated in a listed building full of character on Church Road, the new branch joins Grantley’s existing Surrey offices in Guildford and Haslemere and showcases the company’s unique approach to property sales and lettings, with a personalised home-from-home feel.

The vision for the newly refurbished office was to create a welcoming environment for clients so that they feel right at home the moment they walk through the door. Areas of the office mirror rooms you might have at home, while the shelves are filled with books and pictures of people rather than property.

"Traditional estate agents offices can often feel intimidating," comments David Williams, Director at Grantley. "Our vision was to create something different, a home-from-home feel with furniture and colour schemes similar to what people might have in their own homes to provide a sense of familiarity."

Local interior designer Sadie Pizzey helped bring the vision to life by sourcing products from local and small independent suppliers and used an on-trend colour palette that also reflects Grantley’s new branding. The result is a relaxed, homely setting that perfectly represents Grantley’s personal approach, which is tailored to each client and their property.

"Traditional estate agents offices can often feel intimidating," comments David Williams, Director at Grantley. "Our vision was to create something different, a home-from-home feel with furniture and colour schemes similar to what people might have in their own homes to provide a sense of familiarity."

Local interior designer Sadie Pizzey helped bring the vision to life by sourcing products from local and small independent suppliers and used an on-trend colour palette that also reflects Grantley’s new branding. The result is a relaxed, homely setting that perfectly represents Grantley’s personal approach, which is tailored to each client and their property.

The Grantley team bring an exceptional depth of knowledge and experience in the marketing of premium properties, including country estates, equestrian properties and listed buildings, as well as contemporary town centre family homes, to Godalming.

The new office will be led by Edward Brett-Field, who lives in Witley and has worked as an estate agent in Godalming, Guildford and the surrounding villages for the past 12 years.

Come and meet Edward and the team over a glass of mulled wine and see the new office for yourself on November 27th when Grantley will be joining in the festivities for the Godalming Christmas Festival and light switch on.

Or, drop in anytime between 9am and 5:30pm Monday to Saturday. We look forward to meeting you.

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Grantley Group Ltd announces the acquisition of Prestige Lettings

February 17, 2023

Grantley Group Ltd announces the acquisition of Prestige Lettings

Part of The Grantley Group, Guildford based Property Letting and Management Company, Grantley Lettings, has acquired the Lettings and Management Agency, Prestige Lettings.  This is reinforcing its position as a premier provider of high-quality, personal property services in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex.

Prestige Lettings was founded several years ago by Nigel Roberts and enjoys an exceptional reputation in the lettings market. This latest acquisition makes The Grantley Group Ltd one of the largest independent managing agents in this region with offices in Guildford, Haslemere, (Property Services Ltd) and Godalming (LP Lettings Ltd).

Grantley Director, Stephen Frost comments: “This is the second acquisition that this Group  has completed in as many months. Prestige Lettings enjoys a splendid reputation with both landlords & tenants which further enhances our growing agency business in the area. We welcome Nigel Roberts to Grantley and look forward to further growth throughout 2021.”

Nigel Roberts comments: “After an extensive search for the right Prestige partner, I am very pleased to announce that Grantley Lettings will now be looking after my valued client base. Their expertise and resources will further build on the outstanding level of service that our clients have come to expect. I look forward to working alongside Stephen and his team to further grow the Group’s letting business in 2021 and beyond.”

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Property Services Haslemere and LP Lettings merge

February 17, 2023

Property Services Haslemere and LP Lettings merge to form premier independent property partnership

Part of The Grantley Group, Haslemere-based property letting and management company Property Services Haslemere (PSHL) has merged with lettings and management agency LP Lettings, further reinforcing its position as a provider of high-quality, personal property services in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex.

LP Lettings, based in Godalming, was founded almost nine years ago by Lisa Pollard and joins forces with PSHL, Haslemere’s first letting and property management agency, to increase its reputation as the premier independent property lettings agency in the area.

The merger coincides with PSHL’s 50th anniversary and together with sister company, Grantley Lettings in Guildford, makes the partnership one of the largest independent managing agents in the region.

PSHL/Grantley Director, Stephen Frost commented: “This exciting merger with LP Lettings brings the company’s respected and committed founder, Lisa Pollard, into the existing strong Haslemere management team alongside Shonda Underwood and Sarah Ellis. It’s a pleasure to announce this positive news as we move into a new year.”

Lisa Pollard commented: “I’m so pleased to be joining PSHL and The Grantley Group. The teams will pool their expertise and build on the outstanding service that our clients have come to expect. I’ve known Stephen Frost for many years and look forward to working alongside him and his team to further grow the group’s letting business in 2021 and beyond.”

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Have a Heart Charity Christmas Sale 2020


February 17, 2023

Have a Heart Charity Christmas Sale 2020

Sunday 6th December, 10am-4pm

Old Farm Barn, Stovolds Hill, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8LE

Helen and Peter McNiven's barn sales have raised huge amounts for good causes over the past three decades. Eighty-five charities have directly benefited with last year's sale alone raising £14,000 for those in need! This Sunday marks their 30th Christmas Sale and due to current events, support is needed more than ever. 

Helen's best known for her wonderful driftwood angels (see pictured) that are such a beautiful symbol of her generosity, and there will also be other work, including ceramics on display. All proceeds go directly to charity. 

If you are unable to visit the exhibition on Sunday 6th then appointments can be made on the 11th, 12th and 13th December 10am - 4pm, please email

Due to compliance with health guidelines, Sunday's sale will take place mainly outside with controlled access to indoor spaces. Masks must be worn, and social-distancing observed.

As the McNivens prepare for Sunday’s sale, we took a few minutes of Helen’s time to pop her some questions and learn a little more about the stories behind her driftwood angels.

Helen, tell us a little bit about your artistic background?

I have a degree in fashion design, and taught art for 20 years, firstly in Esher and then at Cranleigh Prep School. I mostly make driftwood Angels, but I also make ceramics, and when I can, I paint in oils. 

Proceeds from your barn sale go to the Have a Heart charity - what does it do? 

It all began with the first Blue Peter Bring and Buy Sale, and we raised £75. 

Thirty years on, last year, we raised over £14 000 and currently have a list of about 85 charities we support.

Your Angels are lovely, what's the backstory to them?

We had been in Tuscany on the proceeds from the publishing of 4 art books for children. In the tiny village churches, I absolutely loved the crucifixions and nativity figures, clearly made by the local carpenters who also made the pews, doors etc. On our return we were at the beach on the South coast when I found a driftwood 'Angel's head' amongst the shingle, further along the beach a wing - suddenly it all came together! I made the first Angel 26 years ago and have made hundreds since.

Where do you source your driftwood?

I love beaches, either on the South coast or in Brittany, where much of the wood comes from, but I love to gather driftwood anywhere.

Where can people see your work, purchase it, or donate directly to your charity?

At our Christmas Sale, on my Instagram @haveahearthelen, or by appointment.

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Brighter than you might think, the property market in Surrey.


February 17, 2023

Brighter than you might think, the property market in Surrey.

David Williams, Director at Grantley Estate Agents in Guildford, answers questions about the property market in Surrey; the outlook is brighter than you might think.

How has lockdown affected people's buying habits? The need for space, a good garden and a spare room or garden cabin to use as a home office are definitely at the top of a buyer's list of requirements. The country market is probably the strongest it has been in terms of activity for at least the last ten years – we are almost back to the same level of activity as prior to the financial crisis. 

This surge is driven predominantly by people recognising that, as they spend more time in their family homes and in some instances with several generations returning to the family homestead, whether that's working from home or general day-to-day, they need more space – both inside and out.

What does that mean for the local property market?  There has been an influx of people who live in Guildford Town Centre looking to move out to the surrounding villages. Furthermore, as working habits change and commuting is no longer as necessary as it was due to the evolvement of video conferencing systems and more adaptable home working setups, we are seeing a huge surge in families from London looking for that country retreat. We have seen a 40-45% increase in enquiries from London buyers compared with this time last year. 

There has been a considerable amount of pent up frustration over the past three years, mainly down to political uncertainty and Brexit indecision causing a loss of confidence that was felt across the property markets. Many people have been sitting in rented accommodation, waiting for the market to settle and an increase in suitable housing stock. Due in part to the pandemic, those families have now decided that if they are going to move, then it should be for a better quality of life and with a renewed sense of urgency.

Why is now such a good time to sell?  We have seen buyer demand rise by 34% from January this year to now, compared with the same period in 2019. Furthermore, it currently takes 31% less time to sell a house than it did pre-lockdown*. Demand continues to outstrip supply meaning now is an excellent opportunity to capitalise on that to achieve the best price, before the full impact of the pandemic comes to the fore, which could see an adjustment in prices and activity levels.

Why use Grantley?  We are specialists in the country market – from listed buildings and period, country cottages to properties with equestrian facilities and large country estates; we offer a completely tailored approach. Each and every property we market is carefully staged before our lifestyle photography team go in, each brochure is built specifically to the house as are the targeted social media campaigns. We believe that every property is unique and as such demands a tailored marketing approach rather than a standard template that you are expected to fit within. We are trusted property advisors, and regularly work with other agents to source properties in a buying agent capacity. As we are also a large property management company, we have access to a range of trades and services meaning we can help prepare your home ready for market or attend to any maintenance jobs you require before survey. 

Grantley's services include residential sales and lettings, property management, land and new homes. If you're looking to sell your home or just need some advice, please contact David Williams on 01483 407620 or email  

*According to Zoopla's July House Price Index

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Surrey’s Best Independent Schools


February 17, 2023

Surrey's Best Independent Schools

There are many aspects of the Surrey Hills that draw young families to it. Having the convenience of London being at arm's reach whilst still having the luxury of easy countryside access is a rare offering in the housing market and a big sell.

However, there is another major perk that Surrey has going for it; it has some of the very best schools in the country. In fact, three of the top-performing schools in the UK are found in the self-styled home-counties capital of Guildford itself. The Telegraph's Top 100 UK private schools list last year ranked Guildford High School for Girls second; the Royal Grammar School (33rd) and St Catherine's (24th).

When considering where in the UK to call home, it is best to keep your child’s schooling in mind in order to give them the very best start in life. Understandably living near a decent school also only helps to improve the property value. Of course, every child needs something different from their education; however, we've drawn up a list of some great recommendations for independent schools in the Surrey area. We recommend researching all the various options in detail, attending an open day and starting the entry process as early as possible - competition remains fierce for the limited places available at the more prestigious schools.

Guildford High School for Girls
Frequently appears in the list of top ten performing independent schools in the UK and is a lovely day school near the centre of Guildford town. If your focus is on academics, then this is the school for you.
Type: Day / Girls

Royal Grammar School, Guildford
A high-performing option for boys. Found right in the centre of Guildford town and heavily integrated with the town's culture.
Type: Day / Boys

St Catherine's School, Bramley
St Catherine's is a village-based school with a strong focus on academic achievement and ties to the Church of England.
Type: Boarding / Day / Girls

Charterhouse School
This is Surrey's famous public school with a long history and extensive alumni. From next year they will be taking girls from the age of 13.
Type: Boarding / Day / Co-educational 

St John's Leatherhead
Not as academically focused like the other schools on this list but still a respectable establishment for those who enjoy extra-curricular activities.
Type: Day / Boarding / Co-educational

The Royal School
Situated in Haslemere and ranking in the Top 100. It has a strong Christian foundation and became a diamond school in 2011.
Type: Boarding / Day / Co-educational

Cranleigh School
The Good Schools Guide describes Cranleigh as the “ideal for the sporty, energetic, sociable, independent and lovely child.”
Type: Boarding / Day / Co-educational

Hurtwood House
Entrance only from ages 15. Known more for its broad range of extra-curricular activities than it’s academic prowess.
Type: Boarding / Day / Co-educational

Duke of Kent
The Duke of Kent school is based in a gorgeous listed building in Ewhurst and is small in pupil size.
Type: Day / Co-educational

King Edwards, Witley
Has a reputation for a focus on sports and is known for encouraging its pupils to think independently.
Type: Boarding / Day / Co-educational

Prior’s field
A renowned feeder school for Russell Group universities and one of the more expensive schools in the area. Does offer generous scholarships.
Type: Boarding / Day / Girls

Cited in the Sunday Times as a reason to live in Guildford and rumoured to have a friendly rivalry with Guildford High School.
Type: Day / Girls

For those readers with younger children who want to provide them with the very best start to their schooling years, then The Grantley Group recommends:

Longacre School
Family orientated with a focus on happiness at the core of its philosophy. Located in Shamley Green and welcomes parental interaction.  Type: Day / Boys / Girls 

Aldro School
Feeder school for Charterhouse and other public schools, very academic but with excellent extra-curricular activities on offer. Based in the charming village of Shackleford, near Godalming.
Type: Boarding / Day / Boys

If you’re looking to move home to make the school application process a little easier, you can view our properties for sale and let close to excellent schools in Guildford and other areas of Surrey here, or you can contact us here

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Selling your home with The Grantley Group – Lydia’s story


February 17, 2023

Selling your home with The Grantley Group – Lydia’s story

The Grantley Group was recently instructed to sell the beautiful family home of Lydia and her family in Guildford and she was happy to share her positive experience with us.

Lydia and her family had lived happily in their Guildford home for almost nine years but with three young children growing up fast and Lydia now running a small business from home, they had outgrown the property.

Following an initial visit from group director, David Williams, Lydia chose to instruct Grantley because of the team’s discretion, professional yet personable approach and impressive knowledge of the area.

“It really appealed to me that David could discretely market the house before it went to the open market and he also ensured me that there wouldn’t be a board outside the house,” she says.

“He was able to tell me about properties that came to the market before I necessarily found them online and that’s because he has really good working relationships with other estate agents in the area.”

It was important to Lydia that the essence of her family home was brought to life in the marketing material produced and The Grantley Group were more than happy to oblige.

“The attention to detail was amazing; David managed to move everything out of the way, like the kids toys, all the paraphernalia, the chaos you get with every day family life and I was really impressed when the final photographs came through,” Lydia adds. “David really staged the house to capture its true character.”

Whether you would like to discreetly market your property, like Lydia, or are looking for maximum market exposure, The Grantley Group’s inimitable approach to selling is to provide a service that perfectly matches your needs.

With more than 40 years sales experience, we know the strengths and weaknesses within the market place and offer a distinctly different approach to selling.

Rather than simply using web portals, which are fast becoming a replacement for proactivity, interaction and personal contact, we use a range of marketing tools that best suit your needs and will present your home in the most effective way.

Furthermore, our highly experienced staff offer expert advice to ensure that you can make well­-informed decisions regarding the impending sale of your property.

Lydia has now moved into her new home – check out and like our Facebook page soon to see how she is settling in and to view more of our client experience videos.

If you would like to share your own experience of selling your home with us, contact David today:

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Shere Hill Climb – Sunday 1st September 2019

shere hill climb

February 17, 2023

Shere Hill Climb - Sunday 1st September 2019

Grantley is proud to be the sponsor of this year's Shere Hill Climb, so please come and join us this coming Sunday anytime between 9am and 5pm. There will be 180 cars running the Hill, from the historic and exotic to the joyfully mundane. There is something there for the whole family from motoring exhibits, stands and stalls, to street food, refreshments and family entertainment. Don't miss an enjoyable and truly memorable day out in the beautiful Surrey Hills. 
For more information and to purchase tickets online go to