The Southern County of Surrey is the most wooded (containing the most woodland) county in England. Woodland covers nearly a quarter of the county (24%). Many of these wooded areas are classed as ancient woodland and are therefore protected. Surrey’s natural landscapes are rich in wildlife and much of its forests have remained unchanged for centuries.
Steeped in history, it is thought Surrey was formed as part of a larger Middle Saxon kingdom or confederacy which also contained lands that extended North of the River Thames. Surrey’s name derives from Sūþrīge (or Suthrige) which is literally translated as “southern region”. Historians think this signals its historic status as the southern part of a Middle Saxon kingdom.
Being just an hour from central London, Surrey is within easy reach for people visiting the country’s capital. So why not make time to visit some of England’s most beautiful country gardens, heathlands, woodlands, stately homes and castles!
Surrey’s rolling hills and wooded valleys include the internationally famous Surrey Hills which played host to the cycling routes for the 2012 London Olympics. This area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers a quarter of the county and it provides the perfect venue for walking, mountain biking, running or horse riding with many dedicated trails for each discipline.
Key Facts Of Surrey
- County Town: Kingston-upon-Thames
- Land Area: 1,663 km2 (642 sq mi)
- Population: 1,189,934 (2019)
- Average Temperature (Summer 22 °C)
- Days Of Rain: Dry for 162 days a year
Best Attractions In Surrey
Hampton Court Palace: Hampton Court Palace was one of Henry VIII’s most favoured residences and it remains one of the country’s most stunning Royal Palaces. Although King George II was the last English monarch to reside here (who reigned from 1727 to 1760), the palace is still owned by the Crown – currently Queen Elizabeth II.
Farnham Castle: Surrey’s premier castle, Farnham Castle was originally constructed between 1129 and 1171 by the Bishop of Winchester. Farnham Castle is unusual in that it has both a stone tower and a shell keep. Most historic castles in England only have one of these features. The castle played a role in the English Civil War of 1652 to 1641.
RHS Garden Wisley: Wisley is the historic home of the Royal Horticultural Society and is undoubtedly one of the finest gardens of the world. Wisley is a diverse garden covering 240 acres (971,000 m²) and was originally conceived as a place to grow plants that were notoriously difficult to grow from all corners of the globe.
Brooklands: Brooklands is a motoring and aviation enthusiasts dream come true! Home to the famous banked car racing circuit from the early 1900s, the motoring section of the museum contains some of the world’s most famous racing cars including John Cobb’s Napier-Railton. The aviation section of the museum plays homage to the supersonic airliner Concorde which was built here in the 1970s.
Leith Hill Tower: Climb the 78 steps to the top of Leith Tower and you will reach the highest point in the South of England at 1029 feet or 313 metres! On a clear day, using the telescope on the roof of the tower, you can see as far as the London Eye in central London to the English channel and across to France. Football fans will also be able to see the arch of Wembley Stadium – the home of English football!
Best Accommodation In Surrey
Frensham Pond Country House Hotel & Spa: Situated next to Frensham Great Pond (itself a National Trust site), this 15th-century country house offers the best in English hospitality and features a well-stocked bar and traditional English restaurant. The hotel has a recently updated spa including heated stone beds, whirlpool, sauna and steam bath.
Great Fosters: on the border of Surrey, Great Fosters is a former Elizabethan mansion set in 50 acres of pristine gardens. Converted into a hotel in 1931 Great Fosters is famous for its luxurious rooms and its two restaurants, one of which offers a famous tasting menu from Head Chef Tony Parkin.
Oatlands Park Hotel: Situated near Weybridge and the Brooklands Museum, Oatlands is a former country house and is famous for its view over nearby Broadwater Lake. In summer you can also try your hand at croquet on the hotel’s immaculate croquet lawn!
The Crown Inn: Situated in Chiddingfold, this 600 year old inn combines traditional character with modern amenities. The Crown Inn is one of the few properties in the UK to have received receive a 5 star AA rating and was awarded Great Britain’s Most Excellent Inn 2010 by Condé Nast Johansens. Many of the luxury en-suite rooms here have original wooden beams and some also have four-poster beds.
Stay In Britain is the ultimate guide to places to stay and things to do in Great Britain. Whether you are looking for a luxury self-catering cottage, a cheap B&B for a weekend stay, a short break in a caravan park or a business-friendly hotel in the Surrey area, we have everything you need. Enjoy your stay in Britain!