Historic Surrey Guide

by Ben Johnson

Facts about Surrey

Population: 1,135,000
Famous for: Landed estates, Runnymede
Distance from London: 30 mins – 1 hour
Local delicacies: Eel pie, baked stuffed trout
Airports: None (near Gatwick and Heathrow)
County Town: Guildford (traditional)
Nearby Counties: Greater London, Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Berkshire

Welcome to Surrey, England’s most wooded county and home to two of what many would think of as ‘London’ attractions: magnificent Hampton Court Palace and glorious Kew Gardens.

The beautiful red-brick Tudor palace of Hampton Court, built by Cardinal Wolsey and gifted by him to Henry VIII, is a must-see. Visit Henry VIII’s Great Hall, experience the sights and smells of the Tudor kitchen, lose yourself in the world famous Maze and wander through the lovely gardens by the River Thames.

Kew Palace is the smallest royal palace and is set in what once was a royal park, now the world famous Kew Gardens. Explore over 300 acres of gardens and glasshouses and get inspired! There are also notable gardens at Wisley Garden and Painshill Landscape Garden, a fine example of an 18th century landscape park.

Surrey is home to no less than four racecourses including Epsom Racecourse, where the world famous Derby is run in June every year. It was here in 1913 that the suffragette Emily Davison tragically died after throwing herself under the king’s horse during the race.

There are many wonderful stately homes and historic houses to visit in Surrey, such as elegant Polesden Lacey, Elizabethan Loseley Park and the Palladian mansion, Clandon Park.

Although just a stone’s throw from London, Surrey has some lovely countryside. Enjoy the stunning views from Box Hill (pictured at the top of this page), stroll around Viriginia Water Lake and climb up to the tower on Leith Hill, the highest point in South East England.

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