Ideas for summer days out in Surrey 2015
PUBLISHED: 10:27 03 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:58 03 August 2015
From alfresco art to colourful coves, exotic food festivals to cool camping spots, there's so much to discover this summer. Matthew Williams brings us 30 great ideas for summer days out in Surrey
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2015
Share your summer days out photography @ www.surreylife.co.uk/photos
For animal lovers (and dinosaur fans)...
British Wildlife Centre
There aren’t many places you can watch otters frolic, weasels pop and badgers bask (well, Wind in the Willows productions maybe…) but at the British Wildlife Centre near Lingfield you can. And that’s not to mention the owls and red squirrels that can be found swooping about.
British Wildlife Centre, A22 Eastbourne Road, Newchapel, Lingfield, Surrey RH7 6LF. Tel: 01342 834658
• How much? Adults, £11; children (3-15), £8; family, £35
No ordinary farm, some of the creatures you’ll find here haven’t walked the earth for over 65 million years. Whether you’re looking forward to the dino trail or the more traditional farm animals or play barns, Godstone Farm is a great family day out.
Godstone Farm, Tilburstow Hill Road, Godstone, Surrey RH9 8LX. Tel: 01883 742546
• How much? Adults, £8; children (2-16), £8; family, various
For a burst of colour, head to Birdworld where they have just opened their new ‘Flamingo Cove’, a walk-through enclosure where you can get close to these stunning birds. One of the largest bird parks in the country, Birdworld’s collection has risen to over 2,000 animals since opening in 1967.
Birdworld, Holt Pound, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4LD. Tel: 01420 22992
• How much? Adults, £15.95; children (7-15), £13.95; children (3-6), £12.95; family, £49.95
Surrey Hills Yurts
Get back to nature with a luxury yurt holiday. This site is car-free so, on arrival, park at the entrance and grab a wheelbarrow to transport your belongings down through the woods and into the open fields where your stylish yurt awaits.
Surrey Hills Yurts, Logmore Lane, Westcott, Surrey RH4 3JN. Tel: 07817 269565
• How much? £600 for three-night weekend stay
The Big Camp
For one night only on Saturday July 18, take your pick of National Trust attractions and join the Big Camp. Local locations include Black Down, Box Hill, Hatchlands Park, Polesden Lacey, Runnymede, River Wey Navigations, Witley Common and Winkworth Arboretum with various entertainment, food options and prices at each.
The Big Camp, various locations. Web: nationaltrust.org.uk
• How much? Various
The Green Escape
Available exclusively for groups of up to 20 people, this shepherd hut site is yours for the taking to share with your friends, family or colleagues in complete privacy. The nearest neighbours are a flock of sheep and the nearest house, a field away, is Leith Hill Place, former home of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
The Green Escape, Orchard Copse, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6HG. Tel: 01306 711053
• How much? Six acres, seven shepherd huts and a large straw bale building for £625 a weekend in peak season
For the wet and the wild...
Open-air cinema returns to Guildford Lido with Mamma Mia on Saturday August 22 and, one to keep you out of the water, Jaws, on Sunday August 23. There will also be music, fancy dress, a bar and barbecue – oh, and there’ll be swimming from 7pm to 8pm should you be brave enough.
Guildford Lido, Lido Road, Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey GU1 1HB. Tel: 01483 449108
• How much? From £10
Thames Skiff Hire
Three men in a boat will have nothing on you this summer, should you head for the Thames to partake in a spot of skiff hire. Featured in films such as Shakespeare in Love, Great Expectations and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, these 26-foot boats/floating beds offer the chance to explore the river, the local pub life and pull up for the night wherever suits.
Thames Skiff Hire, 64 Carlton Road, Walton-On-Thames, Surrey KT12 2DG. Tel: 01932 232433
• How much? Various (a four-day return trip from Walton for one or two people starts at £320)
Thorpe Open Water Swimming
Temperatures soaring? Then how about a refreshing dip... Thorpe Open Water Swimming offers three different distance courses (400m, 750m and, gulp, 1,500m) across a beautiful lake next to Thorpe Park Resort. Oh, and should that be too sedate, there’s always the wakeboarding next door…
Thorpe Open Water Swimming, Thorpe Road, Chertsey, Surrey. KT16 8PH. Tel: 07581 032027
• How much? £6 per session
For the history buffs (and film fanatics)...
Go in search of 800 years of democracy at the riverside of Runnymede – click here for the full Magna Carta story. Make sure to look out for memorials to John F Kennedy and the Commonwealth Air Forces, and the National Trust’s oldest tree.
Runnymede, Windsor Road, near Old Windsor, Surrey SL4 2JL. Tel: 01784 432891
• How much? All day parking is £7
Take the twists and turns between Painshill Park’s follies and discover a once forgotten world of wonder, whether you’re packing up a picnic or just heading off for a stroll. Dog lovers may wish to head to Painshill Pooch Day on Sunday July 19.
Painshill Park, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 1JE. Tel: 01932 868113
• How much? Adults, £7.70; children (5-16), £4.20; family, £25
Most recently used for filming by the likes of Into the Woods and The Huntsman, the fragments of Waverley Abbey, the first Cistercian abbey in England, founded in 1128, provide the perfect place to escape for contemplation in peaceful solitude.
Waverley Abbey, Waverley Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU9 8EP. Web: www.english-heritage.org.uk
• How much? Free
For the energetic...
The annual RideLondon-Surrey cycle races, both professional and amateur, head back to our county on Sunday August 2. This year’s Classic (professional) route starts at the iconic Horse Guards Parade before going out through the capital to Kingston upon Thames. The peloton then races through Dorking before taking the southern loop and the ascent of Leith Hill. Following three circuits of the northern loop (one more than 2014), through Dorking and up the testing climb to Ranmore Common, the race heads to Box Hill, Leatherhead, Oxshott and Esher before the London return. There will also be festival zones with music and more at Pyrford, Dorking and Leatherhead. Read all about Surrey's Lycra revolution.
Ride London-Surrey, various locations: www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk
• How much? N/A
For those not afraid of a few lumps and bumps, why not take a look at joining a Surrey Hills Singletrack Explorer guided mountain bike ride. Routes include Holmbury Hill (moderate), Hurtwood (difficult) and Leith Hill (difficult). There’s an even more gruelling six-hour option, but where would you find time to fit in the all-important pub pit stop?
Various locations: www.singletrackschool.co.uk
• How much? £30 for the two/three hour rides
Ride the Hill
At the tranquil haven of Priory Farm in Nutfield, you’ll also find Surrey surfing thrills (more commonly known as mountainboarding) at Ride the Hill for anyone aged eight and over. As those of a theatrical persuasion might say: break a leg (please don’t)!
Ride the Hill, Priory Farm, South Nutfield, Redhill, Surrey RH1 4EJ. Tel: 01737 822458
• How much? One-hour public beginners’ lessons are £24 for under-16s and £27 for those over 16
For the art aficionados...
Surrey Sculpture Society
There’s plenty of chances around the county to see this year’s Surrey Sculpture Society season, which takes in Loseley Park near Guildford from Tuesday June 30 to Monday July 27; the Riverhouse Arts Centre in Walton-on-Thames from Wednesday July 22 to Sunday August 16; RHS Garden Wisley from Saturday August 22 to Sunday September 27; and the Landmark Arts Centre at Teddington on Saturday October 31 and Sunday November 1.
Various locations: www.surreysculpture.org.uk
• How much? Various
Billed as ‘the world’s largest all-year sculpture exhibition’, there are more than 150 renowned sculptors exhibiting over 200 sculptures for sale within ten acres of arboretum and wildlife-inhabited water gardens. It really is a mystical journey. If you like this, make sure to visit the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden in Ockley as well.
The Sculpture Park, Jumps Road, Churt, Farnham, Surrey GU10 2LH. Tel: 01428 605453
• How much? Adults, £10; children (5-15), £5
Take a break from the sun and visit Watts Gallery and a magical world inspired by the Victorian fascination with fairies and fantasy. From an enchanting Fairy Fair to the first exhibition in over 40 years of work by Richard Dadd – whose mystical paintings have established the artist as amongst the most intriguing of the Victorian era – there’s much to enjoy. There will be also be Watts at Dusk late night openings, with music on the lawn, on July 31, August 28 and September 25.
Watts Gallery, Down Lane, Compton, Guildford, Surrey GU3 1DQ. Tel: 01483 810235
• How much? Adults, £7.50; children (16 and under), free
For some outdoor entertainment...
Guildford Shakespeare Company
Expect the unexpected as the grounds of the University of Law are transformed by Guildford Shakespeare Company for the Bard’s rich romantic comedy, The Taming of the Shrew, from Saturday July 11 to Saturday July 25. Here's their favourite ever Surrey actors.
The University of Law, Braboeuf Manor, Portsmouth Road, Guildford, Surrey GU3 1HA. Web: www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk
• How much? Adults, £24; children, £16
Head to Gatton Park near Redhill, Hampton Court Palace at East Molesey and Kew Gardens near Richmond this summer for a dose of the Luna’s outdoor cinema. Whether you’re a fan of Grease, Grand Budapest Hotel or one of the other options on offer, it usually proves to be a spectacular occasion.
Various locations: www.thelunacinema.com
• How much? From £13.50
The usually sedate Rural Life Centre will take on a whole other life from Friday September 4 to Sunday September 6 as The Waterboys, Paul Carrack and Level 42 lead the line-up at this year’s Weyfest. Billed as a ‘stress-free weekend in the country’ and with surroundings as intriguing as the music, what’s not to like? As long as the weather complies!
The Rural Life Centre, Reeds Road, Tilford, Farnham, Surrey GU10 2DL. Web: www.weyfest.co.uk
• How much? £120 for three-day weekend ticket
For a perfect picnic with a view...
Whether you aim for the expansive Great Pond (complete with full beach, lakeside hotel and sailing) or the intimate Frensham Little Pond, both offer a waterside escape you might not necessarily associate with Surrey. Make sure to take a leisurely stroll around the surrounding heathland, which is home to much rare and endangered wildlife.
Frensham Great Pond, Bacon Lane, Churt, Surrey GU10 2QB
Frensham Little Pond, Priory Lane, Frensham, Surrey GU10 3BT
• How much? Free but parking charges may apply
For a taste of Provence, pack a picnic and head to Mayfield Lavender near Banstead during their Lavender Festival on Saturday July 11 and Sunday July 12 (or enjoy their alfresco tea shop). Meanwhile, the Carshalton Lavender community project opens its gates to the public on Saturday July 25 and Sunday July 26, 10am to 4pm. Explore the secret of Surrey lavender.
Mayfield Lavender, Croydon Lane, Banstead, Surrey SM7 3BE. Tel: 07503 877707
• How much? Parking at Mayfield Lavender is £2
Okay, so we could have gone for the tried and trusted Jane Austen favourite of Box Hill but with Leith Hill Tower celebrating its 250th birthday this year, it seems fitting to head for its heights instead. If you want some beer for your picnic, head to The Plough at Coldharbour, where they have their own brewery. Climb the tower before you partake though…
Leith Hill, Leith Hill Lane, near Coldharbour, Dorking, Surrey. Tel: 01306 712711
• How much? Adults, £1.50; children, 80p (for the tower climb)
The 10th Amazing Thailand Festival returns to Secretts, Milford, over the August bank holiday weekend with daily cooking demonstrations by celebrated Thai chef, Mini C, and much more.
Amazing Thailand Festival, Secretts, Hurst Farm, Chapel Lane, Milford, Surrey GU8 5HU. Tel: 01483 520500
• How much? £10 per adult
Eat! Food Festival
The sunken gardens of Reigate’s Priory Park will play host to high quality independent local producers and the best street food traders as part of the very first Eat! Food Festival on Saturday July 25. Find out more here.
Eat! Food Festival, Priory Park, Bell Street, Reigate, Surrey RH2 7RL. Web: www.eatfoodfest.co.uk
• How much? N/A
BBC Good Food Festival
Paul Hollywood, Michel Roux Jr and John Whaite are among the chefs appearing at Hampton Court Palace. Taking place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, expect a great selection of delicious artisan produce.
BBC Good Food Festival, Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Web: www.bbcgoodfoodfestival.com
• How much? Adults, £17.50; children (5-15), £8.75; family, £43.80
For those with green fingers...
Head to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to discover the site’s heritage trees via a stunning exhibition until Sunday August 9 at The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. Kew’s resident artist, Masumi Yamanaka, has created a series of breathtakingly detailed works of iconic trees within the gardens, some of which date back to 1762.
RBG Kew, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3ABTel: 020 8332 5655
• How much? Adults, £16.50; children, £3.50
One of the largest surviving historic estates in Surrey, Titsey Place dates back to the mid-16th century but is perhaps overlooked when our county’s most impressive attractions are discussed. Make sure to visit its stunning gardens, which include the walled kitchen gardens, landscaped lakes and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Rose Garden.
Titsey Place, Titsey Hill, Oxted, Surrey RH8 0SD. Tel: 01273 715378
• How much? House and garden admission, £7
Make the most of the evening, with late-night opening at RHS Wisley on Thursday July 9 from 6pm to 9pm. Enjoy an evening stroll and experience the tranquillity after hours. They will also be hosting Flavoursome Fridays from July to September, between 1.30pm and 3.30pm, to showcase the garden’s fruit and veg.
RHS Garden Wisley, Wisley Lane, Wisley, Woking GU23 6QB. Tel: 0845 260 9000
• How much? Adults, £13.20; children (5-16), £6.60; family, £32.75