Romantic places in Surrey
PUBLISHED: 22:26 05 March 2012 | UPDATED: 12:42 15 January 2015
Fed up of being wedged alongside other couples, nervously trying not to be overheard as you have dinner with your Valentine? Well, why not branch out this year, pack a bottle of Champagne and a warm coat, and head to one of these romantic Surrey escapes...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2011
Box Hill, near Dorking
There seems to be something about views as far as the eye can see that brings any relationship sharply into focus. Box Hill has been an inspiration for generations and the often told tales of Keats and Jane Austen – yes, that famous picnic scene in Emma – reflect the area’s attraction.
Frensham Ponds, near Farnham
A ramble across the heathland to Frensham Ponds leaves you a million miles from home at this attractive destination – and the rushes growing around the surprisingly large ‘Little Pond’ also provide privacy for the romancing couple. It’s close enough to Waverley Abbey to fit in two of Surrey’s most intriguing romantic attractions in one day, too.
Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey
As soon as I put the name down on paper, I queried myself. I mean, how romantic can a palace that was once King Henry VIII’s favourite be? Forget the history, though, and instead bask in the stunning gardens and the sumptuously decorated rooms, and you could lose your heads without a blade in sight.
Driving up to Coldharbour means that the walk up to the South East’s highest point isn’t actually as gruelling as it sounds. Crowned by an 18th-century Gothic tower, with panoramic views north to London and south to the English Channel, Leith Hill is a perfect place to forget the rest of the world exists.
Painshill Park, Cobham
Get lost among the follies of this magnificent landscape garden, which dates back to the 18th Century. The park is a cultural melting pot of architecture and horticulture, designed to lead visitors by sight alone from one folly to the next, each framed with awe-inspiring precision.
Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham
The future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth used the National Trust’s Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham, as their honeymoon venue. Well, if it’s good enough for them, it’s hard to argue really. Although the house remains closed except for special tours until March, the manicured gardens are open and well worth a visit.
Richmond Hill, Richmond
After eating in one of the town’s many romantic restaurants, or perhaps after a long stroll through the deer at Richmond Park, head up to the top of Richmond Hill and the terrace walk. Then, settle down in front of the River Thames sweep and marvel at the sunset.
Virginia Water, near Egham
Adjoining Windsor Great Park, Virginia Water was begun when Prince William, Duke of Cumberland and the younger son of George II, decided to dig a small lake on the site in 1753. The area is overlooked by Fort Belvedere, the house where Edward VIII abdicated the throne, giving up the entire country for the woman he loved. And you don’t get much more romantic than that!
Waverley Abbey, near Farnham
Fragments of Waverley Abbey, the first Cistercian abbey in England, founded in 1128, provide the perfect place to wrap up with your loved one. Peaceful solitude is offered by the ruins and it certainly beats sitting through the latest rom-com cinema release. Waverley Abbey was also featured in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classical romance, Sir Nigel.
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