10 reasons to visit Surrey

Whether you're searching for some outdoor family fun, a good cuppa and a chat, or a great night out, Local editor Cherry tells us where to head in Surrey.

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1. Thing about the area

 
Surrey offers beautiful countryside. It's England's most wooded county, with the Surrey Hills a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Perfect for family life, Surrey is easily commutable from London and has highly rated state and private schools, along with dedicated mother and children centres.  It is also well served by great retail complexes and characterful high streets full of independent shops and markets.
 

2. Child-friendly cafe

 
We're spoilt for choice with many great cafes, including the cosy Sugarlumps Tea Shop near Reigate. Mummas and Beans in the heart of Godalming is a toddler friendly cafe, as well as host to pregnancy and post-natal classes and a playroom.  Heaven Nutfield is a place to relax, play, eat and shop for parents and children.
 

Surrey pub3. Child-free night out

 
Surrey is full of impressive local pubs and restaurants, as well as cinemas and theatres.  The Ambassadors, Woking always has something on, with two theatres and a six screen multiplex, or you could go to a concert at G Live, Guildford

 

4. Outside space

It depends on whether you are looking for natural beauty and the chance to explore a local landmark, or if you need more entertainment for your children. Well worth a visit is Alice Holt Forest Woodland Park, near Farnham, with its play wood, 3D maze, habitat trail and Go Ape.  Winkworth Arboretum and Claremont Landscape Gardens are perfect National Trust picnic locations and spaces for children to run around in.  Standing in the middle of the Surrey countryside watching the infamous pig race at Bocketts Farm Park in Fetcham has to get a mention too!

 

5. Hidden gem

 
Ockham Bites Cafe, set in the middle of a woodland reserve near Cobham with heathland, grassland, ponds and lakes, is a great place to relax whilst your dog runs free and your children explore.  For nature loving children (and parents alike), Surrey is home to the "finest collection of native wildlife in Britain", available for you to discover at weekends and school holidays at the British Wildlife Centre in Oxted.
 

6. Community venues

 
One of the many libraries, all of which hold regular baby and toddler groups and sessions.  Farnham Library is worth noting in particular, with Headspace, its special area for teenagers to relax in and meet friends.  Leatherhead Community Garden is an inclusive initiative to support residents and organisations from within the local community who wish to learn or take part in growing collectively.
 

7. Free visitor attractions

Surrey hills

The Surrey Hills stretch across the chalk North Downs that run from Farnham in the west, above Guildford, Dorking and Reigate, to Oxted in the east - they are one of England's finest landscapes with many points of interest and places to visit within them.  Staffhurst Woods in Tandridge is a perfect place to make dens or go for a family bike ride. 
 
The Lightbox in Woking is also definitely worth a mention, with free entry to three stunning galleries and regularly changing exhibitions for all ages.
 

8. Day out

 
Hobbledown in West Ewell is a unique farm park adventure based on a mystical and magical fantasy tale. Based on a 50 acre site, it also contains more than 200 animals and a multitude of indoor and outdoor adventure play equipment, so it doesn't matter if it rains.  Birdworld, in Farnham, is also home to the Jenny Wren Farm and Underwater World aquarium - well worth a day trip.  For petrol heads, where better than Brooklands Museum, the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation and home of Concorde. Brooklands also holds a wide range of special events during weekends and school holidays.
 

9. Places to live

 
This is a hotly debated topic on our Local Talk board!  Guildford or Godalming are popular for a country feel with easy links to London but Reigate also gets a lot of votes.  We are spoilt for choice really as there is a great deal going on and many highly rated state and private schools in the major towns and cities but also in the idyllic country villages of Surrey.
 

10. Place to shop

farmers market

Surrey's shopping streets contain a healthy mix of chains and independent retailers and are full of character.  Notable are Farnham, which is steeped in history, Dorking, with its prestigious collection of antique shops, and the charming market town of Godalming. Guildford's The Friary is a shopping centre with the obvious great shops but also a real focus on being child friendly, providing for example Playworld and a Kiddy Car concierge service.  At the other end of the scale are the regular farmers' markets throughout the county, where you can pick up excellent quality, organic, local produce.
 

About the editor

I live in Kingston Upon Thames with my husband and 2 daughters, aged 3 and 1, and work from home. At weekends we enjoy exploring Surrey and making the most of this great place to live in. If you would recommend somewhere not included in this feature, it would be good to hear from you - get in touch at surrey@mumsnetlocal.com.

 

 

 

Last updated: 11-Mar-2014 at 9:50 AM