CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Reigate: Where to eat, shop and visit

PUBLISHED: 17:08 18 May 2012 | UPDATED: 16:36 02 May 2018

Reigate Priory, which is now a school

Reigate Priory, which is now a school

Reigate is a traditional Surrey market town, which in recent years has become a haven to fashion boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants

History of Reigate

Following the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror awarded what is now Reigate to one of his principal knights, William de Warenne, on whom he bestowed the title Earl of Surrey in 1088. It is said that the family built the castle (of which little now remains other than secluded gardens) and then constructed the town around the focal point in 1150. It is thought the name came from Roe-deer Gate, as the town is situated at the entrance to the Green Flag award-winning Priory Park, which was once de Warenne’s deer park. The park recently underwent a multi-million pound redesign and has just seen its first proper summer in action. At its heart is Reigate Priory School, which occupies a building that began life as a 13th century priory, before being granted by Henry VIII to Lord Howard of Effingham in 1535 following the dissolution of the monasteries. To discover more about Reigate’s history, pay a visit to Reigate Priory Museum, located in the school.

 

Hidden treasures

The Tunnel Road caves, which lie beneath the beautiful Reigate Castle Grounds, are home to the local gun club but also open to the public – along with their more historic neighbour, the Barons’ Cave – several times a year. At various points in their history, they have been used as sand mines, explosive stores and air raid shelters – not at the same time, we hasten to add. The Castle Grounds themselves, found just off the High Street, are the perfect spot for a lunchtime snack or peaceful picnic.

The Cranston Library, founded on March 14, 1701, is situated in a small chamber above the vestry in St Mary’s parish church. It was the first public lending library in England. Another interesting piece of trivia for you: legend has it that the reason Chart Lane narrows so dramatically around the church’s cemetery is because workers were wary of digging up the plague graves that can be found there.

Found on Croydon Road, the tiny museum run by the Holmesdale Natural History Club, openS on selected days, is filled with a fascinating array of objects including a large number of stuffed birds, herbarium specimens (including material collected by James Brewer for the first Flora of Surrey, which was published by the club in 1863), local history and archaeological collections.

Reigate Heath’s quirkiest feature is the windmill, which was converted into a small chapel in 1880. Keys can be obtained from the nearby golf club and it’s free to enter.

 

Shopping

If you’re looking to piece together the perfect outfit, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Reigate where there’s a whole host of fantastic boutiques. For all the top labels, pop into Robert Ashworth in Cage Yard, or for the guys there’s their men’s shop on the High Street (01737 244413).

For a fabulous pair of sky-high heels, try Attic (01737 243396), also on the High Street. If second-hand and vintage is more your thing, take a short stroll around the corner to the hidden gem that is Grace in Lesbourne Road (01737 222214) or check out one of the many excellent charity shops. Reigate institution Knights (01737 242195) is still very much an icon of the town, selling more traditional clothing, and a great place to while away a few hours.

A short walk away from the main hustle and bustle of Reigate High Street takes you to a haven of independents. Lesbourne Road is home to The Vineking wine merchants, The Venture Inn (which serves stunning Thai, by the way), La Bottega café/deli, and the Grace boutique (great for vintage stuff).

 

Eating out

As well as the big names, such as Café Rouge (01737 223700) and Ask (01737 241122), there’s the fantastic and independent Vintage Tea House (01737 226561), in Church Street, which focuses on cream teas. They recently linked up with The Vineking (01737 248833), on West Road, to host wine-tasting evenings there, too. The independent coffee and bagel shop Urban Kitchen (01737 233876) provides all sorts of goodies in their Church Street branch, while also manning Priory Park’s futuristic pavilion, and Fillz @ 15 (01737 245321) on Bell Street offers fantastically fresh baguettes. For something a little more substantial, try Tony Tobin’s Dining Room (01737 226650) in the High Street; The Westerly (CLOSED) on London Road; French restaurant La Barbe (01737 241966) in Bell Street; The Parador (01737 249423) in Cage Yard; or, just outside the town on Reigate Road, The Jolly Farmers (01737 221355), which specialises in local produce. Oh, and if you’re looking for ingredients for your own meal at home, you can’t go wrong with Robert & Edwards (01737 242081), a family-run butchers, just off the High Street.

 

Local produce

Walk along West Street and you could be forgiven for never realising that it is home to a brilliant little brewery called Pilgrim. Started in 1982 in the publess Woldingham, they moved to Reigate in 1985 and have been striving to create the perfect pint ever since.

 

Out and about

One of the most popular walks for Reigate residents is up to the Skimmington Castle (01737 243100) on Bonnys Road. Just outside the town, the quaint pub is found via a pleasant stroll across Reigate Heath. If you drive, watch out for golf balls on the approach, as the road crosses Reigate Heath Golf Club (01737 226793). There’s plenty of other stunning places to explore, too, with the beautiful, recently-renovated Priory Park in the heart of the town, and nearby Reigate Hill, which offers panoramic views across the county. Opened to the public in 2007, Reigate Fort, which can be found on the hill, was one of 13 mobilisation centres built in the 1890s to protect London from invasion, although none of them ever saw action.

 

 

More from Surrey Life

16:06

Education expert Dr Ryan Hinchey, Coordinator of College Counselling at ACS International School, with campuses in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, answers your questions

Read more

Surrounded by reservoirs and located on the banks of the famous river from which it takes its name, Staines-upon-Thames (as it is now called) is a town working to reshape its future and celebrate its picturesque riverside setting

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30

She may have recently moved to the seaside, but Surrey still holds a uniquely “precious” place in the heart of legendary children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson – not to mention the crucial role the county played in bringing everyone’s favourite and newly-returning feisty foster-kid to life

Read more
Yesterday, 11:59

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (23, 24 and 25 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search