crystal grotto

Things To Do In Surrey – TOP 15 Places To Visit

If you are looking for the best things to do in Surrey, check out my top picks below. Why should you listen to me? Because I lived in Surrey for 5 years and I explored a lot of hidden places in this area.

This historic region has the highest percentage of forests in England. Moreover, it is home to many unique attractions not far from London. The county of Surrey is one of the most beautiful in Southern England. It is also the richest and poshest place to visit in the UK.

This post may contain affiliate links. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Things to do in Surrey -💎 Find the best hidden gem 

1. Painshill Park

Surrey things to do
View from the hill by Turkish tent in Painshill Park ©Ukeveryday

📍 Painshill Park Car Park Adress: Anvil Ln, Cobham KT11

When is Painshill Park open?
It is open 7 days a week from 10 am. The Painshill Park is closing at:

4 pm (from November to January)
5 pm (from February to March)
6 pm (from April to October)

It is only closed on Christmas Day & Boxing Day.

This award-winning 18th-century park is one of the most beautiful examples of English landscapes. Visitors can follow the historic path that will take them to the Gothic Temple, Turkish tent, or Crystal Grotto.

Surrey things to do
Turkish tent in Painshill Park ©Ukeveryday
💸 How much is the Painshill Park ticket?
£10.00 Adult
£9.00 Concessions (Students, military, NHS, 60+, etc.)
£5.00 Children between 5-16 years old, under 5 years – FREE

Every step will reveal a breathtaking view of the Grade I Listed landscape garden. Awe-inspiring panoramas of the hills, temples, ruins, and bridges over the serpentine lake are a feast for the eyes.

This picturesque park is a great place to spend a day out in Surrey.  Whether it is a family picnic or a romantic walk, Painshill Park will not disappoint you. 

🐶 You can also take a dog with you, although it needs to be on a short lead. 

Crystal Grotto in Painshill Park

Surrey things to do
Crystal Grotto in Painshill Park ©Ukeveryday
When is Crystal Grotto open?
Crystal Grotto is open between Tuesday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.

🚫 You cannot visit Crystal Grotto on Mondays because it is closed for maintenance. However, bank holidays Mondays are exceptions!

The Crystal Grotto is one of the best-hidden gems in Surrey. This man-made cave with beautiful stalactites and corals is such a unique attraction in England. 

The best time to visit Crystal Grotto is around midday when the sun is the strongest. It will penetrate through the cave and make all the crystals shine. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful places to see in Surrey.

🏨 Check out luxurious apartment just a few minute's walk from Painshill Park.

Things to do in Surrey – 🏰 Visit Guildford

2. Guildford Cathedral

Surrey things to do
Guildford Cathedral ©Ukeveryday

📍 Guildford Cathedral Car Park Postcode: GU2 7JQ

When Guildford Cathedral is open for visitors?
1.30 pm to 3.30 pm (Sunday)
8.30 am to 4.30 pm (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday)
7.30 am – 4.30 pm (Tuesday)

Do you want to visit Guildford Cathedral later? You can still go there between 4.30 pm and 5 pm, but you can only access the nave.

This beautiful Anglican cathedral in Guildford is also known as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Spirit. The red brick and tower of the cathedral (48.8 m tall) may be seen from distance in many parts of Guildford. Whether you are visiting Guildford Castle or driving around the town, you cannot miss this attraction.

Stag Hill is home to both Guildford Cathedral and the University of Surrey. Getting to the church requires a bit of walking up the hill if you are traveling by bus or walking from the town. The cathedral is only 15 minutes walk from the train station in Guildford.

🚝 If you are living in London, catch the train to Guildford from Waterloo Station. In less than 40 minutes, you will find yourself in the beautiful historic town of Guildford.
Surrey things to do
Inside the Guildford Cathedral ©Ukeveryday

Constructions works of Guildford Cathedral

Guildford Cathedral was built between 1936 and 1961. There was a maximum budget of £250,000 to build the cathedral. However, construction works had to be put on hold during the Second World War. 

⚔️ When the Second World War ended, only a tiny amount of the original budget remained to construct the cathedral. The “Buy-a-Brick” campaign raised money from at least 200,000 people who paid £6 between 1952 and 1961 to help complete works on Guildford Cathedral. Who would not want to sign their name on one of the bricks in the church?

👑 Well, not only ordinary people but also Royal Family put their signatures on the red bricks. For instance, Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were some of the most important people who signed them. Nowadays, you can find those bricks with their names in one of the displays in the church.

🧱 If you pay a bit of attention to the facade of the building, you will notice a slight difference in the color of the bricks. Before the Second World War, only local bricks were used. Due to the discontinuity of the brick trade at Stag Hill after the war, the works of the cathedral were completed with bricks from Sussex.

Guildford Cathedral architectural features

The high tower of Guildford Cathedral has twelve bells with the largest of weight over 1.5 tonnes. Moreover, on the top of the tower, there is an impressive gilded angel with a height of 4.6 m which rotates when it is windy.

The cathedral with Somerset limestone columns and white Italian marble floors gives an impression of a very light interior. Although Guildford Cathedral has not got many stained glass windows, it is a very bright and beautiful place to visit in Surrey.

This Grade II listed building has impressive interior decor with blue accents which refer to Guildford’s wool. It was the color that the city was famous for during the wool trade in the past.

There are also many incredible sculptures in Guildford Cathedral. For instance, a piece of art showing a mother and child during the Second World War or a figure of the Madonna with a child.

3. Guildford Castle

Surrey things to do
Guildford Castle ©Ukeveryday

📍 York Road Car Park (13 minutes walk to Guildford castle): GU1 4DS

💸 Is Guildford Castle free?
You can visit Guildford grounds for free any time of the year. There is a small fee to enter the castle which is only £3.50 per adult and £2.00 for kids. The castle is closed for visitors between November and February.

Guildford is one of the best towns to visit in Surrey and the castle grounds are a must-see attraction. There is a large number of flowers that make this place look so beautiful.

This royal residence was never attacked and there was no need to defend it. As result, it was neglected and royal apartments were destroyed. However, the remaining ruins are still beautiful to explore for current visitors.

Surrey things to do
Guildford Castle garden ©Ukeveryday

When visiting Guildford Castle try to avoid lunchtime as it can get really busy. Only a few minutes walk from High Street, makes it a popular choice for a lunch break in beautiful surroundings. 

When I worked in Guildford, I used to walk windy paths to find a quiet spot in this lovely location. There are several benches, although some people just relax on the grass. My favorite area is at the top of the hill where you can admire vast views of Guildford.

🏨 Check out one of the best hotels in Guildford - Guildford Harbour Hotel & Spa

Nearby Guildford Castle there is an amazing restaurant –The Thai Terrace. It offers excellent Thai food and incredible views of the town from the restaurant’s terrace. It is a romantic place to visit in Guildford.

4. Tea Terrace in Guildford

tea terrace guildford
Tea Terrace ©Ukeveryday

📍 York Road Car Park (10 minutes walk to Tea Terrace): GU1 4DS

If you are looking for another hidden spot with panoramic views of Guildford, visit Tea Terrace. The owners of this place created an amazing tea room where you can enjoy traditional English tea in a gold carriage like a princess.

It is also a fantastic restaurant with affordable food prices. Tea Terrace was the first place in the UK where you could try “Selfieccino” ( cappuccino with your selfie). However, when we visited both, Tea Terrace in Guildford and London, the machine didn’t work. 

Tea Terrace always thinks out of the box and their new feature is Theresa the Robotic Waitress. However, it will serve you only in Cobham which is just 17 minutes drive from Guildford.

My other restaurant recommendations in Guildford are Turtle Bay Guildford with Caribbean food or Tortilla Guildford. This historic town has many Spanish, Italian, Greek, and Asian restaurants that cannot be missed during your visit.

Things to do in Surrey – 🏎️ Drive Fast Cars

5. Mercedes-Benz World

mercedes benz world Surrey things to do
Mercedes-Benz World ©Ukeveryday

📍 Mercedes-Benz World Postcode: KT13 0SL

💸 Is Mercedes-Benz World free to visit?
The museum is free and open 7 days a week from 10:00 am to 6:00.

The Mercedes-Benz World offers amazing driving experiences. If you are tall enough to reach the pedals (at least 1.5 m), you can drive super fast cars in Surrey.

🏨 Stay at Brooklands Hotel & Spa next to Mercedes-Benz World

Are you looking for a birthday gift for your partner or a fantastic day out with coworkers? This is one of the best places to visit in Southern England.

Surrey things to do
Mercedes-Benz World ©Ukeveryday

If you don’t like adrenaline, you can admire beautiful car displays in the Mercedes-Benz World museum. The suspended Formula 1 is one of the most unique car exhibits I have ever seen.

All car elements are hung on thin wires and reveal the masterpiece of this fast car. In the Mercedes-Benz World museum, there are also see some older vehicles that any car enthusiast will fall in love with.

Things to do in Surrey – 🆓 Enjoy Free Attractions

6. Brookwood Cemetery

Surrey things to do
The Brookwood Memorial ©Ukeveryday

📍 Brookwood Station Multistory Car Park post code: GU24 0ER

🚆 How to get to Brookwood cemetery?
If you want to visit one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the UK, take the train from London. It takes only 40 minutes to get there from Waterloo Station to Brookwood. Just behind the railway tracks, you will find this hidden spot in Surrey.

Why should you visit Brookwood cemetery?

If you are wondering why I put a cemetery as one of the top attractions in Surrey, let me explain it. This is not just a graveyard, but also a stunning Grade I listed Historic Park.

It is the biggest cemetery in the UK which spans 220 acres. Brookwood cemetery is also one of the largest in Europe with many notable people that have been buried there.

Who is buried at Brookwood cemetery?

brookwood cemetry
Brookwood Cemetery ©Ukeveryday
💀 Fact about Brookwood cemetery
Brookwood cemetery is known as London Necropolis. There was a train station in London called London Necropolis where carriages with coffins were transported near Brookwood.

If you are an architecture lover, like me, I can tell you that in Brookwood, there is a grave of Zaha Hadid. She was the most famous female architect in the world!

Also, the graves of those who died during the First World War and Second World War including Polish, French, Americans, and many others. There are over 235,000 people buried in Brookwood cemetery.

What can you see at Brookwood cemetery?

Surrey things to do
Brookwood Cemetery ©Ukeveryday

Many of us are unaware of such a location as Brookwood which is worth visiting not only due to its history, but also the tranquillity it offers in a busy world.

Brookwood cemetery is located in a dense forest where you can admire impressive huge trees. The whole area is enormous so you will rarely see any other visitors.

📸 Do you want to take beautiful photos during a day trip to Surrey? Check out the review of the Best Backpacking Cameras

With so much space to explore, you will always find there something new, which makes Brookwood a great place to come back for a walk again.

The cemetery is well maintained and there are so many different sections to explore. From equally spaced rows with minimalistic white graves to angel gravestones or big crosses on grass. 

Surrey things to do
Brookwood Cemetery ©Ukeveryday

However, my biggest attention has caught kids’ graves. Some of them are decorated with colorful stones, while others are covered with tree cones. I have visited many cemeteries, but this is the most beautiful and unique I have ever seen. 

7. Canal walks

canal walks uk
Canal in Surrey ©Ukeveryday

If you are asking yourself what are the best things to do in Surrey this weekend, there is no better answer than a canal walk. Two rivers, Wey and Thames are perfect for long walks, running or cycling through this beautiful countryside.

In addition, there are a lot of pubs by the river which offer excellent views. One of the best riverside pubs in Surrey is the Weyside in Guildford.

If you love running, the Saturn Trail is a perfect place to run for many miles. There is WWF Living Planet Centre just by the river in Woking and Jubilee Square a few minutes away. The Peacocks Centre is one of the best shopping malls in Surrey so don’t hesitate to buy something there for yourself.

Saturn trail is 15km route where you can see colorful house boats and beautiful forest. It starts in Brookwood, just 10 minutes walk from train station and continues up to Byfleet.

8. Newark Priory

newark priory
Newark Priory ©Ukeveryday

📍 Newark Lane Car Park (free parking): GU23 6DP

Can you visit Newark Priory?
Newark Priory is situated on private land so you cannot see it from close up. The nearest point you can get to is The National Trust – Newark Lock.

It is a shame that such interesting ruins are not available for visitors. However, you can still take beautiful photos of them from a distance. Newark Priory is a Grade I listed building located by the river Way and Abbey Stream.

There is a free Newark Lane Car Park just by the river Way which is a perfect place to explore during summer. The ruins from 12-th century were dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Thomas a Beckett.

Things to do in Surrey🌺 Admire Colourful Plants

9. Virginia Water, Windsor Great Park

windsor great park
Azalea Valley in Virginia Water ©Ukeveryday

📍 Virginia Water Car Park Postcode: GU25 4QF

💸 Is Windsor Great Park free?
There is no entrance fee in Great Windsor Park. However, you will have to pay parking charges which are:

£3 Up to 1 hour
£6 Between 1 to 2 hours
£9 Between 2 to 3 hours
£12 More than 3 hours

Virginia Water is the most beautiful place to visit in Surrey. Especially during spring when rhododendrons start to bloom. However, any time of the year is great to go for a walk or run in this amazing park.

Ancient monuments, waterfall and picturesque views offer a great day out in Surrey. Virginia Water circular walk takes almost 2 hours to complete. However, you can always do a shorter hike as there are so many paths to choose from.

The best places to see in Virginia Water

Surrey things to do
Totem Pole ©Ukeveryday

During your visit to Virginia Water, make sure to explore the Totem Pole. This 100 feet high (30 meters) monument from 1958 was built to honor 100th anniversary of British Columbia as a Crown Colony

The colorful Totem Pole represents carvings of Sea Otter, Cedar Man, or Sisiutl – a mythical creature.  Unique elements of native Indian art always fascinate kids that are visiting Virginia Water.

things to do in Surrey
Virginia Water ©Ukeveryday

If you follow Canadian Avenue, you will get to Azalea Valley. It is the most beautiful part of Virginia Water. Azalea Valley is the perfect spot for a picnic with your family and dog. The green valley surrounded by pink flowers will take your breath away.

things to do in Surrey
Leptis Magna Ruins ©Ukeveryday

Another interesting place in Virginia Water are ruins of Leptis Magna. The granite and marble columns that we can see today were a gift from Libya. It is amazing that a small part of the Roman city Leptis Magna can be found in England.

things to do in Surrey waterfall near london
The Cascade in Virginia Water ©Ukeveryday

If there are not many waterfalls nearby, why don’t you build your own? The Cascade in Virginia Water was created in the 1750s. This 10-meter waterfall is the perfect place for landscape photography not far from the Virginia Water Car Park.

10. RHS Wisley Garden Centre

RHS Wisley Garden Centre
 RHS Wisley Gardens ©Lez Smith, Unsplash

📍 RHS Wisley Garden – car park 1 post code: GU23 6QB

💸 How much is the entrance fee to RHS Wisley Garden Centre?
£15.95 Adults
£7.95 Children between 5 and 16 years old

What time is RHS Wisley Garden open?
The Garden Centre is open from 9 am to 6 pm between Monday and Saturday. On Sunday it is open from 11 am to 5 pm, except Easter Sunday and Christmas Day (it is closed).

In RHS Wisley Garden Centre you will find many uncommon and exotic plants. However, there are many other reasons to visit this place. Whether you want to unwind in the lovely surrounding, get some inspiration for your garden or admire the most famous flower shows in the world, look no further than Wisley Garden.

The first flower show debuted on May 20th, 1913. However, when the First World War started a lot of things changed and the show was canceled. The Chelsea exhibition made a triumphant return in 1947 after Second World War.

You will not find such a commitment to keep the fame of the country horticulture anywhere on the planet. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the most prestigious flower exhibition in the world where you can see jaw-dropping horticulture art of outstanding exhibitors.

Cutting-edge projects made from nature will take your breath away. If you want, you can also take part in RHS Horticultural Competitions which are free to enter.

11. Bluebells walk

Bluebells walk
Bluebells in Surrey ©Ukeveryday

If there are bluebells in England, it means there are ancient woodlands. Almost 25% of Surrey is covered in woods. This is the most forested county in England, so you will not find a better place to see bluebells than Surrey.

Take the opportunity and visit the most beautiful woodlands of Surrey in April. You can choose one of the places below:

🌸 Winkworth Arboretum near Godalming 
🌺 Chinthurst Hill near Guildford
🌸 Painshill Park, Cobham
🌺 Sheepleas, West Horsley
🌸 Little Wix Wood, Hatchlands Park near Guildford
🌺 Cucknells Wood, Shamley Green
🌸 Wallis Wood near Cranleigh

Bluebells usually start to bloom in late March. You will have time until early May to see those beautiful carpets of flowers in Surrey

Things to do in Surrey – 🌄 Climb the Hills

12. Leith Hill Tower

Leith Hill Tower
Leith Hill Tower ©Roman Fox, Unsplash

📍 Starveall Corner Car Park, Leith Hill (free parking postcode): RH5 6LU

One of the highest points of South East England is visible from surrounding rural areas in Surrey. This 18th-century Gothic located 294 m above sea level, attracts many visitors that want to enjoy the beautiful English landscape.

You might be even able to glimpse the London Eye if you climb the stairs at Leith Hill Tower. 74 spiral stairs will reward you with magnificent views of Surrey and beyond.

The Leith Hill Tower has a height of 19.5 m and some people say that on a clear day, 13 counties are visible from the top of the building. 

You can start your walk from Holmwood train station or drive to one of the nearby car parks such as Leith Hill Rhododendron Wood car park or Starveall Corner Car Park.

Leith Hill is 33,6 miles (54 km) from London or 12,1 miles (19,4 km) from Guildford. This woodland walk near the town of Dorking is one of the attractions that you should not miss in Surrey.

13. Box Hill, Tadworth

Box Hill, Tadworth
Box Hill ©Crispin Jones, Unsplash

📍 Box hill car park post code: KT20 7LB

The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty provide some of the most picturesque landscapes in south-east England. Whether is Laith Hill or Box Hill, both of them are famous for scenic walks with breathtaking views.

Box Hill is located by River Mole, less than a 10-minute drive from Dorking. It is a popular destination for cyclists due to its Zig Zag Road, impressive terrain gradient, and nearby distance from London.

💧 Always carry an Eco-friendly Water Bottle

Although it is a difficult climb, it is doable with an average fitness level. At the bottom of the hill, you can enjoy Stepping Stones Walk which is the kid’s favorite area to cross the River Mole.

Boxhill Viewpoint is a popular spot for a picnic with vast views of the Surrey landscape. The hill of 224 m high offers a great day out just a 1-hour drive from South London.

Things to do in Surrey – 🏃‍♀️ Start running!

14. Woking

Surrey Half Marathon ©Ukeveryday

It is very easy to get from London to Woking by train in less than 30 minutes. This town is known not only for the McLaren Technology Centre, but also Surrey Half Marathon.

The biggest running event in Surrey is one of the best in the country. When I took part in Surrey Half Marathon a few years ago I even saw “Tony the Fridge”, a famous guy who is running with a fridge strapped to his back to raise money for charity.

This event is indescribable. All the supporters, including little kids standing on the route with boxes full of Haribo to give you more energy for running, will make tears in your eyes.

Completing a half marathon is an unforgettable experience, however, preparation requires a lot of effort. If you want to start running, there are a lot of excellent routes in Woking to improve your fitness level.

Where can you go for a run in Woking?

🏃‍♀️ Beginner: There are various routes at Woking Leisure Centre which are perfect for beginners. The circular run is about 800m, which you can repeat as many times as you want. Every Saturday, you can also join the Woking park run to test yourself during a 5k run in Woking park.

🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️ Intermediate: One of my favorite runs in Woking starts at Leisure Woking Centre, following Guildford Road, Wych Hill Ln, and Triggs Ln. This is a tough uphill run that gets easier after Goldsworth Rd. Running along Saturn Trail is a fantastic route for everyone. You can take a shortcut by the Lightbox and run through the town.

However, if you want to complete 4,7 miles (7,5km) run up to the Monument Road. Then, run towards Asda and turn to Oriental Rd. It will be just a few more minutes until you get to White Rose Ln near Woking park. 

🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️ Advanced: One of the hardest routes I have done before the Surrey Half Marathon was 11.2 miles (18 km) long run. I burnt off over 1300kcal!

It starts at Woking Leisure Centre, running through the town and getting to Saturn Trail next to the Lightbox. You can keep running until you see Wilson tree and garden care, then turn back and continue running on Saturn Trail. Then, the end of the run will be the same as an intermediate route.

I have also tried to run the Surrey Half Marathon route before the event. It includes running on roads without sidewalks so I don’t recommend it. The run is amazing only when the roads are closed for cars during the event.

Things to do in Surrey – 📜 Learn About the Birthplace of British Motorsport

15. Brooklands

100 Metre Sprint Track in Brooklands Community Park & Skate Park ©Ukeveryday

In Surrey, you can find the first purpose-built “banked” motor racing track in the world. This area was also one of the first airfields in the UK. The Brooklands Museum is a perfect place to visit for those who want to learn about aviation and motoring history.

🚗 Explore Brooklands Museum and London Bus Museum

Historic Brooklands circuit surrounds Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands Hotel, and Brooklands Community Park & Skate Park. You can find there a play area for kids, a basketball court, or a 100-meter sprint track.

When visiting Brooklands, make sure to also explore London Bus Museum. In the museum, you will find the largest collection of historic buses in the world.

To sum up, there are many amazing things to do in Surrey to keep you busy. While exploring this lovely countryside, you might also like famous attractions nearby Surrey which include:

Shard (On a clear day you can see Surrey hills from London's tallest building

Richmond Park (Explore Deer park less than 1-hour drive from Surrey) 

White cliffs of Dover (Visit the historic English coast)

Littlehampton Beach (Relax at the non-touristy beach not far from Surrey)

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