- For other places with the same name, see Surrey (disambiguation).
Surrey is the county in the South East of England immediately southwest of London. Surrey is the smallest Home County, is cited as being the wealthiest county per square kilometre in all of Great Britain and is the most wooded county in England.
30-40 miles out from London a transition occurs from US-meets-European-style conspicuous consumption (including the most golf in the country) to an increase in traditional local customs, food, ales, music, and sports. South Surrey is thus perhaps more welcoming to the metropolitan visitor seeking to skim off part of the cultural cream of English country life. North Surrey is well-trod Arcadian woodland, architecture, and parkland without any real distance at all from global culture, including every type of fashionable good or service and entertainment.
- 1 Guildford – county town, university town, and largest town in Surrey. Often described incorrectly as a city, due to its cathedral and status within Surrey. Has a medieval castle, Museum of Surrey Archaeology, a striking modern cathedral (comparable to Liverpool and Coventry), major undercroft medieval cellar and castle crypts, placid little river with small boats like Cambridge, and good shopping on its traditional cobbled High Street and nearby North Street; range of cuisine and nightlife. Tourist offices and town tours. Theatre and multi-sports leisure. English Heritage and National Trust Country Homes with landscapes nearby.
- 2 Camberley
- 3 Chertsey
- 4 Dorking – picturesque town lying in valley between the North Downs and the county's highest point with National Trust scheme tower inc. mini-museum, Leith Hill. England's largest vineyard, great antiques, jewelry and furniture shopping, and superb running, walking and outdoors paths and cycling opportunities to immediate north and south.
- 5 Epsom – home of The Derby, a two-day festival of horse racing dating back to 1780, held each year in early June at Epsom Downs, part of the North Downs; walks from here to Leatherhead or Box Hill are popular.
- 6 Farnham
- 7 Godalming – ancient English market town by the River Wey with a well-earned reputation for being posh and popular amongst the old money bourgeoisie, however Haslemere is its neighbour, with even fancier boutiques and eateries. Oozing with understated elegance, such as Gertrude Jekyll's own garden, named Munstead Wood, complete with house by her lifetime collaborator, Edwin Lutyens. Think large, old, detached houses hidden from view by ancient yellow-orange stone walls and numerous tall shade trees.
- 8 Haslemere – a town tucked near the Devil's Punch Bowl in the farthest hills.
- 9 Leatherhead – historic market town that gracefully rises over the Mole (river), with architectural treats in its centre and fine food. Cinema/theatre beats nearby Dorking and hilltop walks through Ashtead to the east. Start of main cycle and walking route along the Mole Gap track, then west to Westhumble, east up Box Hill or south to Dorking.
- 10 Oxted – genuinely laid-back, market and traditional café/teas and cake style town. Hilly, lovely walks, good access to Kent by M25 motorway. Access from London by rail and thereafter to East Grinstead and Uckfield, so worth visiting if visiting Ashdown Forest by that town or going there for another reason.
- 12 Reigate – historic restaurants, bars, cafes, tea-room, and upmarket nightclub town. Like Dorking by the North Downs with majestic free hill walks and picnic areas above private golf courses.
- 13 Staines-upon-Thames – town on the River Thames, most notable as the home of Sacha Baron Cohen's chav alterego Ali-G
- 15 Weybridge – pleasant town with walks by the Thames closer to central London with SW railway. Oatlands Hotel and grounds provides sumptuous hotel resort. Brooklands provides striking hotel. Hundreds of classic motor cars at its museum (plus aviation (from Concorde to DeHavilland)), Mercedes Benz World
- 16 Woking - second largest town, on the SW railway, also with a distinct modernist architectural bent, H.G. Wells statues, and the country's oldest functional mosque, built in ornate stone in the 19th century. More than 6 golf courses within 5 miles. McClaren visitor centre nearby. Mid-way between Weybridge and Guildford.
- Heathrow Airport is convenient for the north and west of Surrey, while London's second largest airport, Gatwick, lies just across the border with West Sussex.
- From London Waterloo, South Western Railway operates regular services to Guildford and other towns in Surrey. Numerous railway lines operate, only the far mid-south is poorly served by railways. Southern runs services to south and east Surrey out of London Victoria.
- The M3 and M25 London orbital motorways provide good access to the north of Surrey. The M23 motorway runs from north to south through the eastern part of the county. Other major roads include the A3 London-Portsmouth trunk road, the A24 London-Worthing road, and the A25, which traverses Surrey on an east-west axis.
National Express and EasyBus coaches to Guildford, Woking and Gatwick Airport provide good access from Airports, from London and major cities. Most interesting walks and nature sites require good agility and strength. Tour buses do operate via major coach companies, usually with good accommodation booked.
A good cheap itinerary will probably involve a whistle-stop tour of Hampton Court using buses from London via Kingston. A whistle-stop tour of Guildford can be booked or paid for using coaches.
The cheaper Oyster cards serving London (red buses) operates in the far north of Surrey to Epsom, Esher, and Staines-upon-Thames; these have the three racecourses and are well-served by train as is most of the county.
- The Savill Garden, Wick Lane, Englefield Green, Surrey TW20 0UU (Signposted towards Camberley along the A30 from M25: J14. Buses from Egham railway station pass along the A30 to the south.), ☎ , 0845 603 6228 (high cost number for group bookings), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00 - 16:00 (closes 16:30). 35 acres of interconnecting gardens professed to be "Britain's finest ornamental garden". Includes a restaurant and Royal Landscape shopping. £6.50 (winter) £8.50 (summer) (discounts also apply), free in Jan and Feb.
- Cycle or Hike. Walk/cycle on the low, flat dual-width Mole Gap Trail past the vineyard to reach the Pilgrims' Way, where you will probably opt to hop under the adjoining wide road across the reputedly monk-laid stepping stones, to leave what is termed Westhumble, optionally only after having seen its Norman cobbled-together chapel 500m west, then climb Box Hill, with 180° views over London and Surrey. Or see the chapel of Mickleham to the other side to the north, for proper chequerboard laid stone. The chalets and coloured stone buildings of tiny Mickleham evoke the Alps. Snow is sadly very rare except in mid-January. If cycling the London-Surrey Cycle Classic loops this gives the best views of these quirky homes and famous zig-zag climb on the zig zag road. free.
- Denbies Vineyard, ☎ (4* Farmhouse +44 1306 876777), fax: . 9:30AM–5:30PM; private evening tours, 7:30PM; restaurants during lunchtimes and Th-Sa evenings. Winery tours and tasting, 360° cinema vineyard and wine making tour, cellar tours, restaurants, traditional food luxury accommodation farmhouse, gift shop, conferences and weddings, 50 minute train tours (summer only). Tours: £9.95; £14.00 (sparkling); £16.00 (wine and food).
Stick to the towns to eat cheaply, preferably in pubs and authentic, independent Indian/Italian (and many other types of cuisine, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese and Chinese are all popular here).
Chestnuts in winter and fine game are a particular local specialty, there are not just in restaurants but available from local supermarkets and butchers.
Consider hiring a car to get to the pub-restaurants nestled by rivers, streams, hills and parkland of Surrey. Some of these are coupled with spa resorts and golf resorts. Top class wining and dining is typical of most of these in Surrey.
- The Runnymede-on-Thames Hotel and Spa, Windsor Road, Egham (Signposted towards Egham then Windsor along the A308 from M25: J14), ☎ . Luxury rooms, meetings, riverside dining, pools, spa, tour boats, weddings. £125 per double (inc. spa voucher).
The Hogs Back Brewery is the main Surrey ale producer. It's available in most authentic looking places and better countryside venues. Do not be afraid to try the local wine. Christmas mulled wine from street vendors is particularly good in the towns.
The county has the lowest crime rate in the country. Violent crimes are especially low.
The British police offer a cycle marking scheme for any cyclist spending a considerable time in the country and expensive locks are recommended. Motor theft is rare, authority clamping however can cost say £50-£100, so look/ask around before you park on any lines. CCTV covers the railways offering safe, relatively wide and reliable transport.
- London, particularly its nearest royal palaces, one of which faces Surrey from across the river.
- Kingston upon Thames somewhat swallowed up into Greater London, Kingston is actually in Surrey and in addition to being a retail centre is home to the offices of Surrey County Council.
- Richmond including Hampton Court Palace (part of East Molesey). The palace. Educational tours, boat trips, hedge maze, parkland, formal gardens and golf course are here. Luxurious dining and eclectic cuisine on both river banks. Ice-skating in December and January. Flower show of leading designers in June.
- Windsor for its castle.
- If you watched Downton Abbey, then a trip to Highclere Castle.
- Road/rail links to Oxford (with organised day trips to Blenheim Palace or Henley on Thames) and Salisbury (with organised day trips to the Stonehenge museum) are good. Ship lovers will want to trip the half-hour by rail or so to Portsmouth or maybe see Southampton.