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Discover Surrey’s tourist attractions for English Tourism Week 2017

PUBLISHED: 18:39 23 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:50 29 March 2017

English Tourism Week in Surrey

English Tourism Week in Surrey


With English Tourism Week this month, we ask a selection of local tourist attraction champions what makes Surrey special

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2017


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Person interviewed: Christopher White

Role: Chief executive officer

What makes your attraction so special?

Denbies is England’s largest single estate vineyard with 265 acres under vine in the heart of the Surrey Hills. We offer a wide range of experiences to appeal to our local audience as well as attracting visitors from all over the UK and worldwide.

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

This year we are launching our secret vineyard tasting tours. These will take visitors to areas of the vineyard that are not normally open to the public, including the Yew Tree Vineyard, which is only accessible by single track and offers far-reaching views of Dorking, Leith Hill and the North Downs.

• Denbies Wine Estate, London Road Dorking RH5 6AA. Web:


Person interviewed: Sian Gray

Role: Digital, PR and events manager

What makes your attraction so special?

The eclectic mix of sculpture with something to appeal to every taste, age and budget.

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

The mineshaft! Keeping continuous contact with the left-hand wall and avoiding vertical drops, should ensure your safe passage through the shaft. Be quiet to avoid disturbing the bats though, which are a protected species.

• The Sculpture Park, Jumps Road, Churt, near Farnham GU10 2LH. Web:


Person interviewed: Mike Hobbs

Role: Shalford lengthsman

What makes your attraction so special?

It’s a location with many kinds of wildlife and a huge variety of trees, shrubs and plants that make it a wonderful place to visit every day of the year.

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

Hunt Nature Park, with its viewing platform alongside Cranleigh Waters, is attracting more and more wildlife, thanks to the work the trust is doing to enhance the habitat.

• Wey & Arun Canal Trust, Bridge End, Somerswey, Shalford GU4 8EQ. Web:


Person interviewed: Emma Saggers

Role: Regional marketing executive

What makes your attraction so special?

It’s such a great place to work. Being part of delivering such incredible and electric moments in horseracing alongside such passionate colleagues, racing connections and customers is unbelievable.

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

The land chosen for Sandown Park was adjacent to one of the earliest commuter lines – the line on which Queen Victoria saw her very first steam train. It was arranged for racegoers to have their own exit to the course, directly from the London platform, and the fences along this side of the racing track are popularly known as “the railway fences.” This arrangement lives on today, 140 years later.

• Sandown Park, Portsmouth Road, Esher KT10 9AJ. Web:


Person interviewed: Jennifer Nicholas

Role: Head guide

What makes your attraction so special?

Loseley Park House and Garden is one of Surrey’s true hidden treasure with its wealth of history and royal connections. Elizabeth I visited on four occasions and one of only 22 known portraits of Anne Boleyn hangs in the drawing room.

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

In 1601, John Donne, the metaphysical poet and Dean of St Paul’s, married Ann More (daughter of the house) secretly, which led to his imprisonment and the quote “John Donne, Ann Donne, Undone!”. Our Walled Garden is compared to gardens of national repute but isn’t itself all that well¬known.

• Loseley Park, Guildford GU3 1HS. Web:


Person interviewed: Paul Stewart

Role: Marketing and PR

What makes your attraction so special?

Brooklands is a step back in time to a more glamorous era of speed and endeavour, when Britain was at its finest, creating household names and beating world records. Most of what you see, hear and discover is original and it is one of few places in the world where a heritage site includes aviation, motorsport, engineering and cycling in its history.

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

You can walk on the very concrete of the race track that was opened in 1907 – it was the world’s first to be purpose¬built – and man first drove over 100 miles in an hour here in 1913. In the 1930s, Barbara Cartland came to Brooklands to watch the racing and socialise but she protested that there was no specific area for ladies to relax away from the male¬dominated atmosphere. The Ladies’ Reading Room was created in her honour.

• Brooklands Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge KT13 0QN. Web:


Person interviewed: Mindi McLean

Role: Owner/manager

What makes your attraction so special?

I’m a real foodie and my passion for cooking is reflected in our breakfasts (our B&B has a special VisitEngland breakfast accolade). We always use locally-sourced ingredients where possible and I grow my own produce and make our jams, compotes, granola, butter and breads.

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

Ripley is a music hub – Eric Clapton was born and raised just behind Broadway Barn, Paul Weller has a studio locally and the production company Metrophonic is nearby. We have welcomed many celebrity guests to Broadway Barn, including members of Blue, Boyzone and The Saturdays, as we’re always discreet and respect their privacy.

• Broadway Barn, High Street, Ripley GU23 6AQ. Web:


Person interviewed: Mark Harvey

Role: House manager

What makes your attraction so special?

We’ve got the beautiful park with peaceful walks, the busy bustling courtyard and our fantastic new tree house, as well as the house which is so packed full of treasures – from Chopin’s piano to an early portrait of Shakespeare.

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

In the early 1960s the family that rented the house had 11 children – the eldest of the children had secret disco parties down in the cellar. You can hear their story and see their party room on one of our cellar tours, which are packed full of fun stories, from school girls sheltering during World War Two to drunken servants stealing whisky in the early 1950s.

• Hatchlands Park, East Clandon, Guildford GU4 7RT. Web:


Person interviewed: Michael McKechnie

Role: Master

What makes your attraction so special?

The peace and tranquillity of a 17th century Jacobean building, still in near original condition, but only five yards from a busy 21st century high street

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, and illegitimate son of Charles II, and Lucy Walter landed in Lyme Regis with a small army from France on June 11, 1685, intending to drive James II from the throne. His rebellion ended with defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor and his capture in a ditch in the New Forest. He asked to be taken to the king and on his way spent the night in the ‘Evidence House’ at Abbot’s. It was the most secure room available and has been known as the Monmouth Room ever since. On arrival in London, Scott was executed on Tower Hill.

• Abbot’s Hospital, High Street, Guildford GU1 3AJ. Web:


Person interviewed: Lindsay Moreton

Role: Collections manager

What makes your attraction so special?

For a local museum in a relatively small town, we have an extraordinary range of artefacts from all over the world. We are not a museum of Haslemere history as many expect. Visitors to the museum can see everything from the skeleton of an extinct bird from New Zealand to a Palaeolithic hand axe used by early man over 10,000 years ago.

Tell us about a secret corner or story that visitors often miss…

There’s a piece of the infamous Hindhead Gibbet here. Three murderers were hung from the Gibbet after they were found guilty of killing an unknown sailor in Hindhead in 1787. The Gibbet, on Hindhead Hill, was depicted by JMW Turner and the murder was written about by Charles Dickens.

• Haslemere Educational Museum, 78 High Street, Haslemere GU27 2LA. Web:


English Tourism Week

With grateful thanks to Guildford Tourist Information Centre. For loads more inspiration about how to be a tourist at home, visit their website at English Tourism Week runs from Saturday March 25 to Sunday April 2.


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