15 Best Things To Do In Surrey, England

15 Best Things To Do In Surrey, England

By will

When it comes to exploring the beauty and history of England, Surrey is a hidden gem that should not be overlooked. With its stunning landscapes, rich historical sites, and charming towns, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this picturesque county.

In this article, I will take you on a journey through the 15 best things to do in Surrey, England, showcasing the diverse range of activities and attractions that make this county a must-visit destination.

From the grandeur of Hampton Court Palace to the tranquil beauty of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. Step back in time as you wander through the halls of Guildford Castle or take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the River Thames, soaking in the scenic views.

For those who appreciate history and architecture, the stunning estates of Polesden Lacey and Loseley Park are not to be missed. And nature lovers will be in awe of the Winkworth Arboretum, with its breathtaking displays of flora and fauna.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a charming escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, Surrey has something to offer everyone. Join me as we delve into the 15 best things to do in this enchanting county and discover the magic that awaits.

Explore Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace - Fountain Court
Photo by Colin Smith

If you’re looking for a majestic and historical adventure, you can’t miss exploring Hampton Court Palace!

As soon as you step foot into this incredible palace, you’ll be transported back in time to the grandeur of the Tudor era. The palace is a true masterpiece, with its stunning architecture and beautifully manicured gardens that stretch for miles.

Inside, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the opulent state rooms, where you can marvel at the exquisite tapestries, intricate woodwork, and stunning artwork that adorn the walls. The Great Hall is particularly impressive, with its soaring ceilings and grand fireplace.

As you wander through the palace, you’ll also come across the famous Tudor kitchens, where you can learn about the extravagant feasts that were prepared for Henry VIII and his court.

One of the highlights of a visit to Hampton Court Palace is the chance to stroll through the palace gardens. Here, you’ll find the world-famous maze, where you can test your navigation skills and try to find your way out. The gardens are also home to beautiful flower beds, serene water features, and even a real-life vineyard.

It’s the perfect place to relax and soak in the history and beauty of this magnificent palace.

So, if you’re looking for a truly unforgettable experience in Surrey, make sure to put exploring Hampton Court Palace at the top of your list!

Discover the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Surrey Hills
Photo by Alan Hunt

Explore the breathtaking Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and take in the stunning landscapes and charming villages. The Surrey Hills is a perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

As you explore this picturesque area, you’ll be greeted with rolling hills, lush green meadows, and enchanting woodlands. The views from the hilltops are simply awe-inspiring, offering a panoramic vista of the surrounding countryside.

Walking and hiking trails are plentiful in the Surrey Hills, catering to all levels of fitness and abilities. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, there’s something for everyone.

As you wander through the countryside, you’ll come across quaint villages tucked away in the valleys. These villages are filled with character and charm, with their thatched-roof cottages, historic churches, and cozy country pubs. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a break, indulge in some local cuisine, and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.

The Surrey Hills is not only a haven for nature lovers, but it also offers a range of activities for those seeking a bit more adventure. You can try your hand at horse riding, mountain biking, or even go on a thrilling hot air balloon ride to get a bird’s eye view of the stunning landscapes below.

There are also plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting, as the area is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Whether you’re a keen birdwatcher or simply enjoy spotting wildflowers, the Surrey Hills will not disappoint.

The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of the English countryside. With its stunning landscapes, charming villages, and a plethora of outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So, grab your walking boots, pack a picnic, and get ready to explore this hidden gem in Surrey, England.

Visit the historic Guildford Castle

Guildford Castle
Photo by Colin Smith

Make your way to the historic Guildford Castle, where you’ll be transported back in time and captivated by its rich history and architectural beauty.

As you approach the castle, you’ll be greeted by its towering walls and imposing gatehouse, giving you a glimpse of the grandeur that awaits inside. Step through the entrance and immerse yourself in the castle’s fascinating past.

Inside Guildford Castle, you’ll discover a wealth of history and heritage. Explore the Great Tower, which dates back to the 12th century and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Marvel at the well-preserved medieval features, such as the spiral staircase and the remains of the original fireplaces. Learn about the castle’s role in various historical events, including the Civil War, and admire the intricate details of the architecture.

Take a stroll through the castle grounds and soak in the tranquil atmosphere. The beautifully landscaped gardens provide the perfect setting for a leisurely walk or a peaceful picnic. Don’t forget to visit the Castle Keep Garden, where you can admire the vibrant flowers and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings.

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A visit to Guildford Castle is a must for history enthusiasts and anyone looking to experience the charm of Surrey’s past. With its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and picturesque gardens, this historic landmark offers a truly captivating experience that will transport you back in time. So, make sure to add Guildford Castle to your list of things to do in Surrey and prepare to be enchanted by its timeless beauty.

Take a scenic walk along the River Thames

Immerse yourself in the picturesque beauty of Surrey by taking a scenic walk along the River Thames. As you stroll along the riverbank, you’ll be captivated by the tranquil atmosphere and stunning views that surround you.

The River Thames meanders through the heart of Surrey, offering a peaceful escape from the bustling city life.

As you walk along the river, you’ll encounter charming riverside villages, lush green meadows, and quaint bridges that add to the idyllic scenery.

The gentle sound of the flowing water and the gentle breeze rustling through the trees create a soothing ambiance, allowing you to truly relax and unwind.

You can also spot a variety of wildlife, from graceful swans gliding across the water to colorful birds perched on the branches.

Along the way, you’ll come across several riverside pubs and cafes where you can take a break and enjoy a refreshing drink or a delicious meal.

These establishments offer the perfect opportunity to soak up the peaceful surroundings while indulging in some local cuisine.

Whether you choose to walk a short stretch or embark on a longer journey, a scenic walk along the River Thames in Surrey promises to be a delightful experience that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and connected with nature.

Experience the magic of Polesden Lacey estate

Get ready to be enchanted by the magical Polesden Lacey estate in Surrey.

Nestled in the heart of the countryside, this historic estate is a true gem.

As you step onto the grounds, you’ll be transported back in time to a world of elegance and grandeur.

The stunning gardens, manicured lawns, and picturesque views are a feast for the eyes.

Take a leisurely stroll through the enchanting rose gardens, where the scent of blooming flowers fills the air.

Marvel at the impressive architecture of the Edwardian house, with its grand façade and intricate details.

Step inside and explore the opulent rooms, adorned with exquisite artwork and luxurious furnishings.

Imagine yourself attending a lavish ball in the magnificent ballroom, or relaxing in the cozy library with a good book.

But the magic of Polesden Lacey doesn’t stop there.

Venture further into the estate and you’ll discover sprawling woodlands, perfect for a peaceful nature walk.

Follow the winding paths that lead to hidden gems such as the tranquil lake, where you can sit and watch the world go by.

The estate also offers a range of activities for all ages, from guided tours to outdoor concerts.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a place to unwind, Polesden Lacey has something for everyone.

So come and experience the magic for yourself.

Wander through the charming village of Shere

Explore the idyllic streets of the charming village of Shere and let its quaint cottages and picturesque scenery transport you to a bygone era.

As you wander through the village, you’ll be captivated by the timeless beauty that surrounds you. The cobblestone streets are lined with traditional English cottages, adorned with vibrant flower gardens and thatched roofs.

Each corner you turn reveals a new hidden gem, from cozy tearooms serving freshly baked scones to charming shops offering unique handcrafted goods.

The village’s rich history is evident in every nook and cranny, with historic buildings dating back centuries. For example, the beautiful St. James’ Church stands proudly in the heart of the village.

Not only is Shere visually stunning, but it’s also steeped in cultural significance. The village has served as a filming location for several well-known movies, including ‘The Holiday’ and ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary.’

As you explore the streets, you may find yourself recognizing familiar scenes from these films, adding an extra touch of magic to your visit.

Shere offers a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life, allowing you to immerse yourself in the simple pleasures of a traditional English village.

Whether you spend your time browsing the quaint shops, enjoying a leisurely stroll along the River Tillingbourne, or simply taking in the charm of the surroundings, a visit to Shere is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and enchanted.

Marvel at the beauty of Box Hill

As I venture further into the picturesque countryside of Surrey, I prepare to be captivated by the breathtaking beauty of Box Hill. This natural wonderland offers stunning panoramic views and a myriad of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts like myself.

Box Hill, with its rolling hills and lush greenery, is a true paradise for those seeking a peaceful escape from the bustling city life.

The highlight of Box Hill is undoubtedly its magnificent viewpoint, which offers sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscape. As I reach the summit, I’m greeted by a breathtaking panorama that stretches as far as the eye can see. The patchwork of fields, woodlands, and meandering rivers creates a picture-perfect scene that is simply awe-inspiring. I can’t help but stand in awe of nature’s grandeur, feeling a sense of tranquility wash over me.

Aside from its stunning views, Box Hill also boasts an extensive network of walking and cycling trails. Exploring these trails allows me to immerse myself in the beauty of the countryside, as I meander through ancient woodlands and across open meadows. The diverse flora and fauna I encounter along the way only add to the enchantment of this place. Whether I choose to embark on a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, Box Hill never fails to provide an invigorating and rewarding experience.

As I reluctantly leave Box Hill behind, I’m left with a profound appreciation for the natural wonders that Surrey has to offer. The beauty and tranquility of this place have left an indelible mark on my soul, reminding me of the importance of taking time to immerse oneself in nature’s embrace.

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Box Hill is a true gem in the heart of Surrey and a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a memorable outdoor adventure.

Discover the vibrant town of Farnham

Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and charm of Farnham, where bustling streets lined with historic buildings transport you to a vibrant world of local shops and bustling cafes.

As you stroll through the town, you’ll be captivated by its rich history and architectural beauty. Farnham Castle, a magnificent 12th-century structure, stands proudly at the heart of the town, offering a glimpse into the past.

Take a guided tour of the castle and explore its well-preserved grounds, where you can admire the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Farnham is also known for its thriving arts scene. The town is home to numerous art galleries and studios, showcasing the work of talented local artists.

Take a leisurely stroll along the Riverside Walk and browse through the charming shops, filled with unique crafts and handmade treasures. And when you need a break from all the exploring, relax in one of the cozy cafes, savoring a cup of freshly brewed coffee and indulging in a delicious slice of cake.

Farnham truly offers a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, making it a must-visit destination in Surrey.

Visit the iconic Watts Chapel

When you’re in Farnham, don’t miss out on a visit to the iconic Watts Chapel. This stunning Art Nouveau masterpiece is a hidden gem that should not be overlooked.

Designed by renowned artist Mary Watts, the chapel is a unique blend of intricate craftsmanship and spiritual symbolism. As you approach the chapel, you will be greeted by its striking exterior, adorned with intricate terracotta tiles and beautiful mosaic work.

Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a serene and ethereal atmosphere. The chapel’s interior is adorned with intricate woodwork, vibrant stained glass windows, and delicate metalwork. Every corner of the chapel is filled with symbolism and meaning, from the intricate angels and saints depicted in the stained glass to the intricate carvings that tell stories of love, sacrifice, and hope. It’s a truly immersive experience that will leave you in awe.

A visit to the Watts Chapel is not only a chance to appreciate its architectural beauty but also an opportunity to learn about the Watts family and their contributions to the Farnham community. The chapel is part of the larger Watts Gallery Artists’ Village, which includes a gallery showcasing the works of Mary Watts and her husband, George Frederic Watts.

Take the time to explore the village and learn about their artistic legacy.

A visit to the iconic Watts Chapel is a must when you’re in Farnham. The combination of its stunning architecture, intricate craftsmanship, and spiritual symbolism creates an experience that is both visually captivating and deeply meaningful.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this hidden gem in Surrey.

Explore the enchanting RHS Garden Wisley

After visiting the iconic Watts Chapel, I couldn’t resist exploring another enchanting gem in Surrey: RHS Garden Wisley.

As I stepped into the garden, I was immediately captivated by its beauty and tranquility. With its sprawling landscape and diverse collection of plants, it truly is a haven for nature lovers.

Walking through the garden, I was amazed at the variety of plants and flowers that surrounded me. From vibrant roses to delicate orchids, there was something to please every botanical enthusiast. The carefully curated displays showcased the beauty and diversity of plant life, making it a feast for the eyes.

One of the highlights of my visit was the Glasshouse, a magnificent structure that housed a stunning array of exotic plants from around the world. Stepping inside, I was transported to different climates and ecosystems, from tropical rainforests to arid deserts. It was a truly immersive experience that left me in awe of the wonders of nature.

Aside from the plants, RHS Garden Wisley also offers a range of amenities and activities for visitors. From cozy cafes to tranquil picnic spots, there are plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the surroundings. There are also regular workshops and events that cater to both beginners and experienced gardeners, making it a great place to learn and be inspired.

Exploring RHS Garden Wisley was a delight for all my senses. The beauty of the plants, the peacefulness of the surroundings, and the wealth of knowledge and inspiration it provides make it a must-visit destination in Surrey.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or simply appreciate the wonders of nature, this enchanting garden is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Take a trip to the Brooklands Museum

Located just a short drive away from RHS Garden Wisley, the Brooklands Museum offers a thrilling journey through the history of motorsport and aviation. As soon as I stepped foot inside the museum, I was immediately transported back in time to the golden age of racing.

The museum is located on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit, and it is filled with an impressive collection of vintage cars, motorcycles, and airplanes. Walking through the exhibits, I couldn’t help but marvel at the incredible engineering and design of these historic vehicles.

From iconic race cars like the Napier-Railton to the famous Concorde, there is something for every enthusiast to admire. The interactive displays and knowledgeable staff make the experience even more immersive, allowing visitors to truly understand the innovation and skill that went into creating these remarkable machines.

Whether you’re a motorsport fan or simply curious about the history of aviation, a trip to the Brooklands Museum is an absolute must-do when visiting Surrey.

Visit the stunning Loseley Park

After exploring the rich history of the Brooklands Museum, I couldn’t resist venturing further into Surrey’s charm. And so, I found myself wandering through the breathtaking beauty of Loseley Park.

Nestled in the heart of the Surrey countryside, this stunning estate is a true hidden gem.

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As I stepped onto the grounds of Loseley Park, I was immediately captivated by its picturesque surroundings. The park boasts a magnificent Elizabethan mansion that exudes grandeur and elegance. Its red brick facade and intricate detailing transport you back in time, evoking a sense of awe and wonder.

Walking through the meticulously manicured gardens, I couldn’t help but marvel at the vibrant colors and fragrant blooms that adorned every corner. The serene atmosphere and peaceful ambiance made me feel like I had stepped into a different world altogether.

Exploring further, I discovered the charming walled garden, a horticultural paradise bursting with an array of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. It was a delight to wander through the neatly lined paths, taking in the sights and scents of this enchanting oasis.

Loseley Park also offers guided tours of the house, giving visitors a glimpse into its rich history and allowing them to admire the exquisite collection of art and furnishings. The knowledgeable guides shared fascinating stories and anecdotes, bringing the past to life in a truly immersive experience.

Loseley Park is a place where tranquility and beauty come together to create a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, this hidden gem in Surrey is definitely worth a visit.

Discover the historic Clandon Park

Immerse yourself in the rich history and architectural wonders of Clandon Park, a must-visit destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.

As you step onto the grounds of this magnificent estate, you’ll be transported back in time to a bygone era. The grandeur of the Palladian mansion is simply breathtaking, with its elegant facade and intricate detailing. Designed by the renowned architect, Giacomo Leoni, in the 18th century, Clandon Park is a true masterpiece of Georgian architecture.

Inside the house, you’ll discover a treasure trove of priceless artifacts and stunning works of art. From the opulent marble hall to the beautifully restored State Bedroom, every room tells a story of the past. The Saloon, with its magnificent ceiling and gilded decorations, is a sight to behold. As you explore the house, knowledgeable guides will provide fascinating insights into the history and significance of each room, making your visit all the more enriching.

But the wonders of Clandon Park extend beyond its walls. The sprawling gardens, meticulously landscaped in the 18th-century style, offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined avenues, admire the vibrant flower beds, and marvel at the serene beauty of the lake.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply someone looking for a peaceful retreat, Clandon Park is sure to captivate your senses and leave you with lasting memories.

Explore the beautiful Winkworth Arboretum

As I step into the enchanting grounds of Winkworth Arboretum, I’m immediately transported to a breathtaking natural haven filled with an incredible variety of trees and vibrant foliage. The air is crisp and invigorating, and the beauty of my surroundings is awe-inspiring.

It’s hard to believe that this stunning landscape is just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Walking along the winding paths, I’m greeted by a symphony of colors and textures. From the fiery reds and oranges of the autumn leaves to the delicate blossoms of the spring flowers, there’s something to see in every season.

The arboretum is home to over 1,000 different types of trees, including rare and exotic species from around the world. Each tree is labeled, providing a fascinating educational experience as I learn about the different varieties and their origins.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Winkworth Arboretum is a must-visit destination that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

Immerse yourself in history at the Epsom Downs Racecourse

Stepping onto the hallowed grounds of Epsom Downs Racecourse, you can almost hear the thundering hooves and feel the electric excitement that has permeated this historic site for centuries.

As one of the oldest and most prestigious racecourses in England, Epsom Downs is a must-visit destination for any history enthusiast or horse racing lover. Located in Surrey, just a short distance from London, this iconic racecourse has been hosting the world-famous Epsom Derby since 1780, making it a true gem of British sporting heritage.

The Epsom Derby, known as the ‘greatest flat race in the world,’ is steeped in tradition and attracts thousands of spectators each year. Watching the horses thunder down the famous Tattenham Corner, it’s easy to understand why this racecourse holds such a special place in the hearts of racing enthusiasts.

Beyond the adrenaline-fueled races, Epsom Downs offers a rich history to explore. The racecourse is home to the Epsom Downs Racecourse Museum, where visitors can delve into the fascinating stories and artifacts that bring the venue’s past to life. From the legendary horses that have graced the track to the famous jockeys who have triumphed here, the museum offers a captivating journey through the history of Epsom Downs.

Whether you’re a racing aficionado or simply looking to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a historic sporting venue, a visit to Epsom Downs Racecourse is an experience not to be missed. The beauty of the surrounding Surrey countryside adds an extra touch of magic to this already enchanting place.

So, come and witness the thrill of the races, soak in the rich heritage, and create memories that will last a lifetime at Epsom Downs Racecourse.


In conclusion, Surrey, England offers a plethora of exciting and captivating activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the magnificent Hampton Court Palace to discovering the natural beauty of the Surrey Hills Area, there is something for everyone in this charming county.

History enthusiasts will be enthralled by the historic Guildford Castle and the enchanting Loseley Park, while nature lovers will be mesmerized by the stunning Winkworth Arboretum. And for those seeking a dose of adrenaline, the Epsom Downs Racecourse is sure to provide an exhilarating experience.

With its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and diverse range of attractions, Surrey is a destination that should not be missed.

So why wait? Plan your visit to Surrey today and embark on an unforgettable adventure. Whether you’re strolling along the picturesque River Thames or immersing yourself in the magic of the Polesden Lacey estate, you’ll be captivated by the beauty and charm that this county has to offer.

With its warm and welcoming atmosphere, Surrey is the perfect destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime in the enchanting county of Surrey.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.