Sunday, 14 July 2013

The glorious Gorgeous Gerties

Sorry I haven't updated my blog for a couple of weeks. Blame this hot weather. I don't do heat, I'm strictly a mist and frost and cool soft rain sort of girl. 

Anyhoo, in my last blog entry I mentioned Gorgeous Gerties and said I would tell you about it next time. Well, this is next time :-) 

My friend Tally and I have this daydream where we worked out what we would do if we won the lottery. As well as buying a house in the middle of nowhere [but on a Sainsbury's delivery route!] and taking in lots of abandoned animals, we decided we would open a shop that sold beads and other craft supplies, and where craftspeople could sell their work. We would also have a cafe - not a coffee shop but a traditional English Tea Shoppe, with tasty home-made cakes and scones and things. Well, part one of the plan is still there, but someone has only gone and done the second part of the plan, and that someone is Gorgeous Gerties. 

Gorgeous Gerties is a very special place in Dorking, Surrey. Dorking is a pretty little town snuggled at the base of Box Hill which used to be famous for West Street, a street full of antiques shops. Sadly, the recession has done for a lot of the antiques shops, and there were a lot of empty shops on West Street. Now one of those shops has been brought back to life as Gorgeous Gerties, a traditional Tea Shoppe but also a place where craftspeople can rent a space to sell their work. 

The building housing Gerties dates from the 15th century, and is a lovely higgeldy-piggledy space of polished floorboards and unexpected patches of sunlight. There is a cafe selling the most delicious cakes [the apple and blackberry cake is seriously yummy] and a variety of teas and coffees, as well as things like jacket potatoes. The tea comes in bone china cups and saucers, and you can have a proper afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones and cake for only £9.95. We know our Californian friend would love that and we can't wait for her to come over on holiday.

As you walk around the building, you see so many wonderful things for sale.  Cushions and bunting, jewellery and cards, clothes, vintage linens lovingly restored, and old furniture brought back to life. And possibly best of all, the Olde Worlde Sweet Shop, with sweeties like sherbert pips, aniseed balls, pineapple cubes and the best bon-bons ever.

There's a lovely atmosphere, with good music playing and lots to see and do. There is a whole series of workshops from furniture painting and crochet to jewellery making and free machine embroidery. I'm just waiting for payday so I can book onto a workshop to learn how to make a silver flower.You can hire a sewing machine for only £3.50 an hour, which seems very reasonable, or there's a free Craft Club every second Tuesday where you can just take in your work and join in with other crafters.

It's lovely to see the old building being put to such a wonderful use. If you can get to Dorking, it is very well worth a visit, but leave some of the apple & blackberry cake for me :-)

Their website is and their Facebook page is