Surrey Attractions: The Best of What’s On
With its close proximity to London, the county of Surrey has the best of both worlds. Thriving historic towns such as Guildford, as well as ancient mature woodland and rolling countryside that spans across South and North Downs as well as Surrey Hills – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is much to see and do in Surrey, attractions, gardens, theme parks – the choice is pretty mind-blowing. So we’ve rounded up the highlights and compiled this essential guide to the best of what’s on in Surrey…
Theme Parks and Attractions
Chessington World of Adventures Resort
There really is something here for big kids and little kids – from thrilling rides such as The Vampire and Dragon’s Fury, and more gentler options including the Gruffalo River Ride. Chessington World of Adventures still has a zoo, Sea Life Aquarium and safari, and visitors can even stay on site in two themed hotels – Safari and Azteca. Plus with an onsite Go Ape Treetop adventure, there really is a full day of fun and action to be had at Chessington’s 10 different themed areas. Plus if you download the Chessington app, it will also give you a rundown on all the queuing times at each ride, so you don’t have to waste any precious time.
One of the many highlights of visiting Bocketts Farm near Leatherhead for kids is the pig racing! Yes – resident pigs including Peppa, take part in a twice-daily race, so choose your favourite and cheer them on. Meanwhile, as well as being able to get up close to a whole host of farm animals, there are pony rides, tractor rides, feeding opportunities and a huge indoor play barn as well as outdoor play areas, too. Fun for the whole family.
Described as a mystical farm park in Epsom, Hobbledown is run by the Hobblers who take care of all the animals at Hobbledown. Based on the fantasy tale written by A J Kecojevic, Hobbledown really is a magical world that will appeal to kids of all ages. While there are over 50 acres of fun to be had from zorbing, huge jumping pillows, underground tunnels and high ropes – there are also animal feeding experiences, a giant indoor play barn and lots of events happening all throughout the year, from their Wildflower Festival to laser tag. Plus, serving up award-winning healthy food to visitors throughout the day.
Thorpe Park Resort located near Chertsey is home to over 30 thrilling rides from the world’s first horror movie themed rollercoaster Saw, and the UK’s first winged rollercoaster The Swarm. Thrill-seekers will not be disappointed. For those who are of a more nervous disposition or for younger family members, there is plenty to keep them entertained, too – such as the Angry Bird’s 4D experience and train rides. Meanwhile, exclusively for families and small children is Amity Beach where lots of splashy fun can be had on the waterslides. Plus if you really want to make a break of it, why not benefit from stay onsite at Thorpe Park’s Shark Hotel?
In the heart of Surrey in Woking, RHS Wisley makes for a great family day out. Wisley is made up of over 200 acres, and has over 25,000 different species of plants – so there is much to explore, including the impressive Glasshouse – which has many exotic species that can transport you to a different world. Meanwhile, there is plenty for kids including trails, a natural wooded play area and many different activities throughout the year. A firm favourite with locals.
Alice Holt Forest
Part of the Forestry Commission Alice Holt Forest not only houses an Activity Centre and Go Ape Treetop Adventure but has a plethora of walking and cycling trails in a beautiful woodland setting. Situated in Farnham, there is much for the whole family to enjoy. For kids, in particular, not only are there many Julia Donaldson inspired characters to find, including the Gruffalo and Zog trails – but a Timberline play area with its adventure climbing units, challenging balance beams, wobbly bridges and slides.
Surrey Hills is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and one of the best ways to see the landscape in its glory is by visiting Box Hill. From great beauty spots to enjoy the magnificent views, a variety of different walks, including the Stepping Stones over the Mole River, and a brilliant Nature Trail, where children can build dens and climb trees. Meanwhile, the National Trust café offers up delicious homemade food and cakes.
Denbies Wine Estate
Did you know that Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking is one of the biggest wine producers in the UK. So if you love a good tipple, there is plenty to explore at the vast vineyard – from wine tastings, to inside and outside tours – as well as breathtaking views of the Surrey countryside. Meanwhile, there are farm shops to purchase fresh local produce, several restaurants and throughout the year, many family-friendly events including singalong cinema to fancy dress discos.
With a central serpentine lake as the main feature of this elegant 18th-century landscape garden in Cobham, Painshill has sweeping landscapes of over 150 acres to explore including an Abbey, amphitheatre, the Crystal Grotto and a picturesque Chinese bridge. There are also plenty of themed events throughout the year as well as a tea room and gift shop.
From June until the end of the summer, the fields in Woodmansterne literally come alive with the most resplendent purple hues. As well as a hive of activity from insects and the many thousands of visitors who come to walk amongst these majestic fields of lavender. If you go early enough, and not on the weekend, it is possible to have the fields pretty much to yourselves… so you can enjoy a coffee, breathe in the heavenly scents and take photos without interruption.
Hampton Court Palace
Although not technically in Surrey – the former home of King Henry VIII is just a stone’s throw away. Discover the epic history of this baroque palace and beautiful gardens, as well as learn about what life was really like in a Tudor court. Explore the Great Hall, the infamously haunted gallery, as well as the mystical Magic Garden where children can discover myths, legends, stories and even real objects that can be found at Hampton Court.
If you love motoring and aviation then the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge should b high on your list. The birthplace of British motorsports and aviation, there is tons to explore from a huge collection of cars, motorbikes, and engines, plus an aircraft park which houses several vintage aeroplanes as well as a Concorde! Visitors can also walk on the steepest section of the Brooklands race track which was originally built in 1907.
This Edwardian country estate close to Dorking used to be the home of Maggie Greville, a socialite who hosted the most lavish of parties entertaining royalty, politicians and countless celebrities including King Edward VIII. Polesden Lacey’s main highlight is the sprawling gardens and lawns with magnificent views across Surrey, as well as a delightful restaurant, play area and house tour.
In fact – Surrey is home to over 20 different National Trust properties and grounds. Click here for a full guide to all the National Trusts in Surrey.
Grange Park Opera
Opera fans must visit West Horsely Place during the summer as Grange Park Opera hosts their annual season of performances. The grandeur of the house and Theatre of the Woods is a spectacle in itself, as is wandering through the beautiful quaint gardens and having a picnic on the lawns. Once a dilapidated estate which has exceptional architectural and historic significance since the Norman Conquest, Wasfi Kani and her team have made this country pile into a Surrey once again.