If you’re planning a trip to England and are wondering what Surrey offers, think green, think quaint countryside villages and think quintessential England. Surrey is home to many protected green, nature spaces making it the perfect place for a day trip or a weekend in the outdoors. It’s no wonder many of the best walks in England and best hikes in the UK are walks in the Surrey Hills, not to mention all the many other fun and free things to do and places to visit in Surrey, England.
There are so many beautiful places to visit in Surrey, including towns such as Guildford and cute villages such as Shere and Abinger Hammer. Whether you pack your bags and go for a camping weekend in the Surrey Hills, hiking in the North Downs, or for a stroll around Windsor Great Park, you’re going to love Surrey. Surrey is home to some of the best things to do in England, as well as some of the top unique things to do in England.
If you’re looking for the ultimate UK staycation, Surrey is definitely somewhere you should consider visiting. With so many places to visit and things to do, and it being well-located with good access to the south coast and to London, it’s great for a UK day trip or a UK weekend away. See my bucket list of magical Airbnb stays in the UK here.
Where is Surrey in England?
Surrey is a county in South East England with borders meeting Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and Greater London. This makes Surrey an accessible place to travel from many places in the South of England; great, given how many beautiful places to visit and things to do there are in Surrey. Frequent trains depart from London Waterloo taking only 30 minutes to reach many parts of Surrey. The nearest airports to Surrey, England are London Heathrow and London Gatwick (for international and domestic flights).
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The best things to do and places to visit in Surrey, England…
1. Go to one of England’s best firework displays, Brockham Bonfire, for Guy Fawkes’ Night.
Unfortunately cancelled for 2020 due to coronavirus, but plans are already in place for November 2021! Visiting Brockham Bonfire for Guy Fawkes’ Night is one of the top things to do in Surrey. Expect huge firework displays, a guy on the bonfire, and fancy dress processions at this annual event which dates back over 140 years. Find out more on the website here.
2. Look out for deer as you take the Long Walk through Windsor Great Park.
Windsor Great Park is one of my favourite places to visit in Surrey, and completing the Long Walk is a highlight. The Long Walk is, as the name suggests, quite a long path (5km) that runs completely straight along a tree-lined avenue, stretching as far as the eye can see. You can follow the path for as long as you like, but it officially ends at the Copper Horse statue (George III on horseback).
Windsor Great Park, a 5,000 acre plot, is also home to around 500 red deer. The park was originally set up for deer hunting, but now these deer roam freely within the deer park. You’re more than likely to see them while you do the long walk!
3. Go camping in Surrey Hills AONB.
As well as 10 National Parks, England is home to 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), one of them being Surrey Hills. As well as walks in the Surrey Hills, you can also go camping! Book a pitch, grab your tent and anything else that is on your camping packing list, and get up close and personal with nature for a weekend!
4. Hike up Leith Hill, the highest peak in southeast England.
If you want to climb Leith Hill, you’ve made a good choice! Leith Hill is one of the top walks in the Surrey Hills AONB, which is one of the best places to visit in Surrey. When you’re at the top of Leith Hill, you can climb the 74 steps of the spiral stairs at Leith Hill Tower and look through the telescope for views as far as Wembley Stadium and the London Eye. There are also lots of walking trails on Leith Hill and plenty of places to stop for a picnic lunch.
You can choose the 10km hike from Holmwood Station up to the peak of Leith Hill, or you can drive up or take the bus up and do the 1.5km circular route around the top. Both options are relatively easy walks, they just differ in length!
5. Marvel at Guildford Cathedral and then head into Guildford for lunch and shopping.
Guildford is one of the most popular places to visit in Surrey, and the cathedral is one reason why. Guildford Cathedral, a unique twentieth century Grade II* listed building, is one of the town’s most famous landmarks. The interior is beautiful and is open to all, for free, 365 days a year.
There are also plenty of other things to do in Guildford. Asides from shopping on the cobbled high street and lunch on the waterfront of the River Wey, Guildford has Surrey’s only Norman castle directly in the town centre.
6. Visit the fairytale-like Silent Pool in the North Downs and then visit the Silent Pool gin distillery.
The Silent Pool in Surrey is a spring-fed lake and one of the top places to visit in Surrey, England. It is a beautiful turquoise colour when it’s not dried up – try to go after there’s been rainfall (not difficult in English!). Car park: GU5 9BW.
After you’ve marvelled at the pool and taken in all the colours, take a trip to the nearby Silent Pool gin distillery (it’s pretty much next to the pool!). Their luxury English gins are made on site with 24 botanicals, delicate florals and local honey (sorry vegans!). The bottle is really pretty too, so make sure you get one to take home. Visiting this local area of natural beauty and the gin distillery is one of the top things to do in Surrey.
7. Walk, run or cycle the perimeter of Virginia Water.
This lake/reservoir is surrounded by woodland shores, and it’s a popular place to visit in Surrey if you love being active, such as walking, running, cycling or dog walking, and it’s also popular with people who just want to relax and enjoy the views. There are stunning views, ancient monuments such as the 100 foot Totem Pole and the ten totem characters, as well as the beautiful Cascade waterfall. The loop around the Virginia Water lake is about 5km.
Just across the road from the car park is Piccolino’s restaurant. A gorgeous place to have a seafood lunch and cocktails after your workout!
8. Go open-water swimming at Divers Cove in Godstone.
The water in the 7.3 acre reservoir at Diver’s Cove in Godstone is crystal clear, even if it’s a bit chilly (you’ll need a wetsuit). There are membership and non-membership swim session options, and there’s also an onsite cafe, hot tub and sauna! Find out more on the website here.
9. Take in the many shades of lilac and purple at Mayfield’s Lavender Fields.
There are lots of beautiful lavender farms in England, including Norfolk, Somerset, Yorkshire, and Surrey. Mayfield’s Lavender Farm is a family-run, organic lavender farm on the Surrey Downs. It’s the largest organic lavender farm in the UK! The lavender farm in Banstead is open to visitors in June, July and August, but the nursery and gift shop in Epsom is open year-round. Find out more here.
Lavender is famous for its wellness properties. Check out well being on my blog here.
10. Take a walk along the River Thames.
London is not the only place to enjoy the Thames! Take a picnic and enjoy an afternoon of sunshine. Part of the Thames National Paths runs between Staines and Richmond, but there are also lots of open spaces and river paths to explore too. The Thames can also be used for boating, canoeing and kayaking!
11. Take a picnic to Frensham Ponds and then try one of the many walking trails in the area.
Frensham Ponds are another beautiful place to visit in Surrey, and part of the Surrey Hills AONB. Whether you want to walk your dog, have a picnic, go bird spotting (it’s one of the best places in Surrey to watch birds), try one of the trails for walks in the Surrey Hills, or explore the area, there’s something for everyone here.
12. Explore Box Hill, the largest area of natural woodland in England.
Box Hill, the largest area of natural woodland in England and managed by the National Trust, is a popular place to visit in Surrey for a day trip! There are lots of beautiful walks on Box Hill and views across the South Downs, as well as a cafe, large car park, and the Box Hill Natural Play Trail (for children and adults who want to play in the woods!).
13. Take in the panoramic views from Newland’s Corner.
Newland’s Corner is 4 miles from Guildford town centre. It’s a popular place to visit in Surrey because it boasts some of the best views over the Surrey Hills and it is a great place to start a walk. It’s home to chalk downland as well as woodland, and also offers views across to the South Downs. Newland’s Corner has plenty of space for walking, picnicking and adventuring. Postcode: GU4 8SE
14. Be a film buff, visiting sets from The Mummy, The Holiday and Wonder Woman.
Some of the best places to visit in Surrey are film sets!
- The cottage in The Holiday was inspired by Honeysuckle Cottage in Holmbury St Mary
- Parts of The Mummy were filmed at Frensham Ponds
- Bourne Wood was the set for some of the forest scenes in Wonder Woman
Do you know any other movies filmed in Surrey? Let me know in the comments so I can add them to this list of beautiful places to visit in Surrey!
15. Enjoy the views at you walk on the ‘inspiring views circular route’ through the Surrey Hills AONB.
Another one of the best walks in the Surrey Hills AONB is the ‘inspiring views circular walk’. It celebrates the celebrates the Inspiring Views art project as you wander through the natural beauty of the Surrey Hills, taking in the green space, views and sculptures. Starting at Winterfold Heath Road, you pass through Reynards Hill, Ewhurst Windmill, Pitch Hill, Rapsley Farm, Alderbrook View and more. Find out more about the art, sculptures and poetry you’ll see on the 9.5km route here.
16. Spend a weekend in a cute cottage in Surrey and enjoy afternoon tea in a cute village.
Some of the best towns and villages to visit in Surrey are Godstone, Mickleham, Shepperton, Oxshott, Shere, Ripley and Brockham. Book a cute Airbnb in Surrey, and spend a weekend meandering around the town, enjoying countryside walks, afternoon tea and pub lunches.
17. Visit the famous Devil’s Punch Bowl in Hindhead Commons.
Shady woodland, open heathland and stunning views make for a lovely day out in the countryside. The Devil’s Punch Bowl is one of the most popular places to visit in Surrey and one of the best walks in the Surrey Hills, and for good reason. The views from the Punch Bowl and across the commons are second to none, and there is an abundance of walking trails in the area too. Postcode: GU26 6AB
What are your favourite things to do in Surrey?
Where are your favourite places to visit in Surrey? I’d love to know!
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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