We love an unusual day out, especially when it’s as colourful as Mayfield Lavender Farm. Nestled deep in the Surrey Downs (Banstead to be precise) lies 25 acres of organic English lavender, open to the public from June to September, seven days a week. It’s an Instagrammer’s haven and it’s not at all difficult to see why.
This vast lavender farm (with its own café and shop) is the brainchild of one Brendan Maye. In early 2000, he was the Managing Director of the fine fragrance division of Wella UK. At the time, Wella owned world-renowned Yardley Lavender (much-loved by the late, great Marilyn Monroe, incidentally). The once-mighty Yardley was struggling to compete in the increasingly competitive fragrance market so, to reinvigorate the brand, Maye set out to authenticate its credentials by actually growing lavender. By doing so, he could provide a focal point for the brand and visually demonstrate lavender’s breathtaking beauty.
However, the board at Wella weren’t that keen on buying a farm so rejected the idea. Over the next couple of years, Brendan cooked up other ways to develop the business and, in 2000, he met BioRegional (a local environmental charity) and enlisted their help. He proposed using his marketing budget to sponsor the charity to plant lavender and personally stood as guarantor for the lease of the land. The Wella board gave the project the go-ahead and, in 2002, Brendan secured the lease of the field at Banstead, which just so happened to be an original Victorian lavender field.
Today, Mayfield Lavender welcomes thousands of visitors through its gates every year. A particular draw is the lavender oil the farm produces which not only smells divine but is also known to have fabulous soothing properties and is marvellous for troubled sleepers.
So what are you doing still sat at your desk? Get yourself down to Banstead for a fragrant frolic in the lavender.