Elstead is a village in South West Surrey, in The Surrey Hills. It's about 35 miles from London and a short distance by train from London Waterloo, about 5 miles from both Godalming and Farnham.
There is lots to do in the area. If you are interested in the creative arts then Farnham is your place. A charming Georgian market town, it has a strong connection with the Arts because of the presence of University College for the Creative Arts. I really recommend a visit to The Crafts Study Centre which is part of UCCA. They have a wonderful collection of twentieth century British Crafts (Of International Standing!) There is normally an exhibition from their permanent collection downstairs and upstairs a contemporary exhibition of makers in fields such as textiles, ceramics, jewellery, wood and so on. Also in Farnham is The New Ashgate Gallery, which sells good quality contemporary fine art and craft. Nearby is Farnham Maltings which is an arts and community centre. I'm hoping to get a show here myself in the future. I haven't been to Farnham Museum but plan to soon. It's a good example of a Georgian Town House with lots of original features.
Jane Austen lovers have a treat in store a bit further towards Winchester at Jane Austen's house. I still haven't been here. I'm saving it for when my friend from Dublin, Michelle, comes to stay. Michelle can practically recite all of JA's novels: I'd catch her reading Pride and Prejudice online when work was getting too stressful. I am sure Jane Austen is a good alternative to yoga.
Surrey featured heavily in the Arts and Crafts movement. The Watts Gallery in Compton (near Guildford) is a beautiful, if wonderfully eccentric, excursion. Several Arts and Crafts architects, such as Voysey and Lutyens worked in the villages around Elstead. Gertrude Jekyll, the famous writer and gardener lived near Godalming and you can visit some of her famous gardens nearby. There is quite alot of information about her in Godalming Museum. In fact, she featured my parent's house in one of her books and I can see the door she photographed in her book from my studio. Jekyll worked very closely with architect, Edwin Lutyens. Many are private houses but you can visit Munstead Wood Gardens at certain times of the year. This was Gertrude Jekyll's home and garden and Lutyens designed the house.
If shopping is your thing then there are a few gastronomic treats. Firstly buy some first quality Free Range Meat from Pride's Farm Shop (open Thurs-Sat). The Prides were victims of the recent Foot and Mouth outbreak and have heroically got back in business and re-opened their shop. Down the road in Milford is local institution, Secretts Farm Shop. You can buy wonderful vegetables (often from their farm) and there is a deli, flower shop and garden centre. For Radio 4 lovers such as myself you'll be glad to hear they've been featured on The Food Programme for their superior asparagus. I also recommend a visit to Greyfriars Vineyard on the Hog's Back (by appointment). I use their wine for my private views.
Clothes. Hmm I'm a little short of recommendations here apart from a visit to Alan Paine Outlet store in Godalming. Alan Paine make really good quality lambswool and cashmere sweaters for men and ladies. They are fairly classic design-wise so I'd go for the standard v-necks and cardies. You can pick up good lambswool sweaters for about £40 and cashmere from about £80. It's a world apart from high street cashmere and mostly made in the UK.
As for outdoor pursuits there is lots of great places to walk. The Surrey Hills website has some good walking routes. You can walk on the old Pilgrim's Way not far from Elstead. It's also lovely to cycle through the villages and remember that I give a 10% discount if you cycle to my studio to buy a coat!
Eating: I'm still researching good places to eat in the area, with measured success. Probably it's more a case of me not getting out much what with the launch and all, so I shall have to add to this section over time. The only place I wholeheartedly recommend is The White Horse, Hascombe. Famously, apparently, it was the haunt of local Chris Evans when he and Billie Piper were living it large. The food is good; uncomplicated gastro-fayre.