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Cultural Guide to Surrey

Surrey, the birthplace to luminaries such as Laurence Olivier, Eric Clapton, Paul Weller, Tracey Emin and, errrm, Michaela Strachan. Whilst often dismissed as a playground for the rich, care to delve a little deeper and you’ll find a county full to the brim with culture. Don’t believe us, read on…

Where to get the best of Surrey

Outdoors

With more outstanding outdoor spaces than you can shake a stick at, Surrey is perfect for those who wish to revel in the leafy green beauty just a stone’s throw from London. Start off with a jaunt around Richmond Park to see the deer frolicking. Then, being careful to avoid the cyclists, head on over to the Isabella Plantation, a 40 acre woodland garden, just beautiful!

Continuing with the horticultural theme then we suggest a day at RHS Wisley or Painshill Park. Both beautiful gems in the Surrey countryside with visitors blissfully unaware the M25 is just a mile away! Both open all year round but especially spectacular during the summer months.

Heritage

Where to start! Let’s go with Ham House, a majestic 17th century house just outside Richmond on the banks of the Thames. More than just a pretty face, Ham House is packed full of paintings, textiles and furniture for you to drop your jaw at in amazement.

Moving swiftly on, because there’s lots to see! Brooklands Museum is a must for petrol heads and plane spotters. Brooklands is the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation so for anyone keen to see the famous racing circuit and Concorde all in one location then look no further!

Then there’s the small matter of Hampton Court Palace. Everyone has heard about Henry VIII and his many wives, right? Whether you have or not, a day at the palace is not to be missed. The location is beautiful, the gardens are stunning and the palace interiors are incredible. Oh and there’s also a maze to pop the kids in if you fancy a couple of hours of peace!

Family Fun

Thorpe Park anyone? Chessington World of Adventures? Depending on the age of your kids you’ll want to choose one or the other. For the older children, who are probably embarrassed to be spending the day with you, then Thorpe Park is the one for you. It’s a classic theme with a bucket load of rides producing enough adrenaline to keep you going for months! For the younger nippers, Chessington will be right up your street.

If your little ones are desperate to be up close and personal to everything fluffy and furry, head to Birdworld in Farnham. They have over 2,000 different species of birds and mammals of all sizes from tiny cockroaches to large aquatic reptiles. After spending the day at these spots you won’t have any trouble putting the kids to bed, they’ll be exhausted, and so will you!

Theatre

Far too many spots to mention in one round up but a doff of the cap must be given to the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford and Rose Theatre Kingston for putting on a stream of outstanding productions that wouldn’t look out of place in the West End. If you want to see stars of screen and stage in your local theatre then Surrey really is extremely fortunate to have such forward thinking and risk taking venues in its midst. If you haven’t been to any of the above then rectify this, immediately!

The Sport of Kings

Right, let’s get straight to it. Surrey has four outstanding courses; Sandown, Epsom, Kempton Park and Lingfield. If you love seeing these majestic creatures in beautiful surroundings whilst enjoying a Pimms/Pint/Wine (delete as appropriate) then you’re in luck. All four courses have fantastic meetings at various times across the year and quite a few have music concerts in the evenings during the Summer.

What’s more, you might even end up coming away a big winner before a Take That tribute act hit the stage. A Hooves and Grooves day for all! Surrey has everything you could ever wish for.

Top left image credit: Colossus, Thorpe Park, photo by Daniel Lewis / Top right image credit Brooklands Museum Image credit: Brooklands Museum
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