Days out in Surrey are a favourite for us Brits – especially given the county’s proximity to London. If you’re not quite sure what you can do in a day in Surrey, here’s your quick guide.
There are loads of fun days out in Surrey for adults, and children too.
Located close to Greater London, Surrey is a very popular area for commuters. Surrey also has beautiful gardens to visit and lush countryside for a stroll. This is especially true for the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is located just south of the city of Guildford.
Surrey makes for a great recreational area for London, and is in a great central location in England so you can meet up with family and friends for an adventure.
Here are a few great things to do on a day out in Surrey.
11 Great Days Out in Surrey
Check out this list for some of the best things to do in Surrey.
1. Visit Polesden Lacey
Thanks to our changeable weather, the British landscape is interlaced with beautiful castle estates, cottage gardens, national parks, botanical botanical gardens and nurseries with beautiful show gardens and rare plants.
A great example of this wonderful British botany is Polesden Lacey, a beautiful park 5km north west of Dorking. Here you’ll find an attractive Regency villa from 1824 surrounded by formal gardens, beautiful pergolas, a rose garden, long borders with perennials, a winter garden with many peonies, lavender, iris germanica, and more than 20,000 trees in the surrounding landscape park.
Such a great attraction for a day out in Surrey in fact, Queen Elizabeth (the former Queen mother) spent part of her honeymoon here in 1923. If it’s good enough for her…!
2. See the bluebells of Hatchlands Park
In the right season blooming bluebells are scattered around Hatchlands Park, near Guildford – about an hour from London. Known for its gardens, this National Trust property opens for the season just in time for the bluebells to bloom. The best place to see them is in Little Wix Wood, on the eastern edge of the park. It is an old wood of sweet chestnut, ash, oak, birch and hornbeam, first recorded in a 13th-century chronicle. In the spring, the trees are surrounded by a sea of violet flowers.
The 400-hectare park is open all year round though. Between April and October, there’s also the opportunity to visit six restored rooms with some of Robert Adam’s earliest works. The Cobbe portrait of Shakespeare, owned by the National Trust tenant, may also be displayed inside the house during the visit. It’s believed to be the only portrait of Shakespeare made during his lifetime.
This is a great day out in Surrey for adults.
3. Get lost in Hampton Court Maze
Hampton Court Palace was originally the home of King VIII and consists of a 304-hectare park, gardens and courtyards. The deer that live in the park are still descendants of the deer that Henry VIII once hunted.
The palace is surrounded by 26 acres of gardens including the famous maze – Great Vine – multi-themed gardens and the royal tennis court. Due to the many royal members who have lived on Hampton Court, the palace has beautiful furniture, beautiful tapestries and an extensive art collection.
Looking for an adventure in Surrey?
Explore the maze of Hampton Court Palace!
4. Get your adrenaline level up in Thorpe Park
Close to London is Thorpe Park, one of England’s BEST amusement parks with some spectacular attractions – an ideal destination for adrenaline seekers.
Thorpe Park is a popular choice for teenagers and young adults. With 7 roller coasters, 4 water rides and various other puke rides, they love it here.
The star attractions of the park are of course the roller coasters. The most recent gem is the B&M Wing Coaster, The Swarm. The train tears through a disaster area, with a few inversions and many so-called near misses. The rear rows even reverse, to give the roller coaster an extra dimension.
Fun for all the family in Surrey – although there’s normally someone left holding the coat!
5. The sparkling grotto of Painshill Park
The Painshill Park Lake attracts all the attention, but there’s more. Those who get off Charles Hamilton’s ingenious walking trail will discover a garden full of beautiful views. One of the highlights is the Crystal Grotto, a cave that could easily be the setting of a science-fiction story. It’s full of water, rock and stalactites that are over covered in sparkling crystals.
The cave is man-made and together with the landscape garden is the life work of Charles Hamilton, a member of the Irish aristocracy. He travelled around Europe and was amazed by the many magnificent caves along the Italian coastline and Renaissance architecture.
6. Visit the The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew or Kew Gardens, all refers to the same place – the 121-acre park with gardens and greenhouses, located in Surrey. The gardens are world famous and attract as many as 2,000,000 visitors per year – definitely one of the most popular days out in Surrey, and even England.
The Kew organisation owns the world’s largest collection of live plants with more than 30,000 species and a library with 750,000 works and 175,000 prints of trees and plants.
The history of Kew Gardens begins with an exotic garden surrounding the park around Kew Palace, in the first half of the eighteenth century. It was Queen Victoria who donated the park and its gardens to the people and thus made it accessible to the public. Over the years, the park has been expanded repeatedly.
Between 1844 and 1848, the famous Palm House, a greenhouse for palm trees, was built. The Waterlily House was opened in 1853, specifically to house the Victoria Amazonica, the largest water lily species. The Temperate House was built between 1860 and 1898. In 1987, the Princess of Wales Conservatory was opened by Princess Diana and the Treetop Walkway was opened in 2008.
Kew Gardens is an amazing place to visit in Surrey at any time of year, but at Christmas it’s particularly special. See if you can get a ticket booked ASAP for one of the all time best things to do in Surrey!
In fact, we’ve awarded it the all time best day out in Surrey, in our article on the best day out in each county in England.
7. Explore Leatherhead and the Surrey Hills
Leatherhead is a historic market town and regarded as the gateway to the beautiful Surrey Hills. The town itself has a good range of activities and events that have drawn travellers for years. However, most of the visitors come to explore the surrounding countryside by walking the numerous trails and pathways.
The countryside is not only great for seeing ancient oak woods, grassland plains, ponds, but if you’re lucky you might spot some wildlife as well.
8. Wander around the streets of Guildford
Guildford is situated on the banks of the River Wey, which is why it used to be an important trading point in between London and Portsmouth. Nowadays, strolling along the river or taking a boat trip are amongst the best things to do in Guildford.
The town is renowned as a shopping destination as the labyrinth of cobbled streets and alleys are sided by clothing stores and book shops.
The number one attraction in Guildford however is Guildford Castle and Guildford Cathedral.
If you have the time, don´t miss the nearby RHS Garden Wisley with its colorful flowerbeds.
9. Taste wine at the Denbies Wine Estate
The Denbies Wine Estate is one the oldest wineries in the UK and makes for a great day out in Surrey. The winery is owned and run by the same family since 1986. They produce over 250 types of wines of which some have won awards. The winery can be visited year-round as they offer tours, tastings and have a small shop.
One of the advantages is that it can be visited in all weather conditions, making it a great rainy day option. It’s located just outside of Dorking in the Surrey Hills and is surrounded by acres of vineyards.
10. Relax at the Runnymede on Thames Spa
Looking for a relaxing day out in Surrey where you can refill your energy levels?
The Runnymede on Thames Spa is a great Surrey day out for a rainy day as it has an outdoor as well as indoor swimming pool. Visit and you can indulge in several treatments such as saunas, plunge pool, eucalyptus steam room and a whirlpool bath. Plenty of options to get into a state of relaxed bliss.
Besides relaxing by one of the treatments, you can also jog along the river, play tennis, take a dance class or use the gym.
Basically you will everything here to feel rested, calm and rejuvenated on a great Surrey adults day out. One of the best days spas Surrey has to offer.
11. Visit Reigate
The story of this historic town in Surrey starts at the Battle of Hastings, when the victorious William the Conqueror was awarded the land. Nowadays the town is located in the commuter belt of London and is a great getaway for Londoners to escape in the countryside.
With the North Downs as a backdrop, it’s not only great to wander through the streets and sift through the antique and craft shops, but also is a great base to walk in the surrounding countryside. Quiet woods and grasslands that make great picnic spots are popular on a great summer’s day.
Want to dive more into the town’s history?
Visit the Reigate Fort which dates back from the 19th century and sits on top of the hill, overlooking the town. The fort used to be a historic defensive position and offers views towards the South Downs.
Quicklist: best days out in Surrey
- 1. Visit Polesden Lacey
- 2. See the bluebells of Hatchlands Park
- 3. Get lost in Hampton Court Maze
- 4. Get your adrenaline level up in Thorpe Park
- 5. The sparkling grotto of Painshill Park
- 6. Visit the The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
- 7. Explore Leatherhead and the Surrey Hills
- 8. Wander around the streets of Guildford
- 9. Taste wine at the Denbies Wine Estate
- 10. Relax at the Runnymede on Thames Spa
- 11. Visit Reigate