The best routes for a winter walk in Surrey
PUBLISHED: 14:13 10 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 04 November 2020
If there's ever a time of year when a brisk, bracing walk is needed, then winter and the lead-up to the festive season is surely it. Here we round up a few of our Surrey favourites
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At Christmas 2018, Kew Gardens will once again transform into a magical after-dark explosion of festive colour, as visitors embark on an illuminated trail of art, light and sound from a roster of international artists. Highlights of the trail will include a Field of Light created by Brighton-based artists Ithaca, 300 illuminated origami boats, a cathedral of lights and a show stopping laser beam display at the Palm House. Plus, don’t forget to look out for Santa and his helpers along the way and tuck into mulled wine and mince pies at the end of the trail.
Until December 23 2018, see the landscape garden and Crystal Grotto at Painshill transformed with twinkling lights and colourful laser beams. A live band, food stalls and a marshmallow camp fire will help create a festive atmosphere and this year sees the introduction of Santa’s Toy Factory. Cheeky elves will be leading families through the factory to see presents being made and meet Father Christmas. This December Painshill is also offering visitors the chance to join its outdoor adventure leader to gather natural materials that will be made into Christmas decorations at a Creative Christmas Workshop.
Visit Polesden Lacey up each day until December 23 2018 for a 1930s-style Christmas celebration. Step back in time and see the sumptuous National Trust property decorated in the style of a high society Christmas soirée. The house will be abloom with seasonal flowers and an 18ft Christmas tree, while the scents of nutmeg and cinnamon and the sounds of 1930s tunes will help set the festive scene. Weekend visitors will be able to explore the grounds on carriage rides that are drawn by horses masquerading as reindeers. Visitors who prefer exploring on two feet can take part in a free trail to find a series of letters to Santa. Plus, between Christmas and New Year try Polesdenopoly, a life-size version of the classic game in the gardens.
Follow a children’s trail from December 1 2018 to January 6 2019 to discover the story of Gulliver’s Travels. The trail will reveal tiny Lilliputian houses and ships while teaching children a host of Georgian Christmas traditions. There’s plenty more to see throughout the house and gardens too, including carousel rides, carol singing and the chance to meet both Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas.
The Surrey Hills offer a wide expanse of trails and walks to work off the mince pies. Head to Hindhead Common and the Devil’s Punch Bowl on December 1, 8 and 9 2018 to follow a Christmas themed trail. On the same dates the National Trust is offering visitors the chance to harvest their own tree from £20 – just bring along a saw and a pair of gloves. For a traditional Boxing Day walk with a difference join ranger Ian at Bookham Commons to learn about the history, ecology and landscape of the commons.
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