Things to see in the AONB
15th November 2017
As one of the Home Counties and consequentially its close proximity to London, Surrey’s beauty and history can often get overlooked. Despite being the wealthiest county per capita in the United Kingdom, many who reside in or visit Surrey often head to the Capital to view the famous sights.
However, there are a number of fantastic activities to enjoy and places to visit in the county that rival anything that London has to offer. Discover the next 5 places that you need to visit in the Surrey Hills.
1. Guildford Castle
One of the most impressive venues in Surrey, Guildford Castle dates back to the Norman invasion in 1066. While there are no clear records of who constructed the castle, it is thought that William the Conqueror or one of his close associates were behind the marvellous structure.
By the 13th century, King Henry III spent much time at the castle and made significant improvements to its edifice. However, a hundred years later, Guildford Castle, along with many other castles inland, fell into disrepair and deemed not necessary.
Today, the ruins of the castle are open to the public, having been restored to safety in 2003.
Sitting just yards from the centre of a busy town like Guildford, the Castle is a unique place of tranquillity, away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping centres.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of visiting Guildford Castle is its viewing platform atop its roof. While this is closed to the public from November to February, it offers a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding areas.
If you are a little wary of heights however, you can enjoy Guildford Castle’s excellently maintained grounds, which offer plenty of seating areas for you to enjoy a picnic with the family.
Another superbly maintained estate in Surrey, Beaverbrook is now a luxury country hotel and dining location but once played host to some of the most distinguished Britons of the early 20th century.
Its most notable owner and namesake, Lord Beaverbrook, lived in the house for over 30 years and, as a notable businessman, politician and writer, welcomed people such as Winston Churchill, Rudyard Kipling and HG Wells to his estate.
Located just outside of Leatherhead, Beaverbrook was refurbished in 2007 and has become a glorious getaway for the public.
Consider booking a night in one of the three fantastic accommodation locations, the Main House, the Coach House Cottages or The Garden House. Each has retained a sense of history while also being lavishly refurbished to suit modern requirements.
If you do not require a room, why not visit the Garden House restaurant, a place where Chefs and Gardeners combine and work with produce grown on the estate.
3. Denbies Wine Estate
Located on the outskirts of Dorking, Denbies Wine Estate is one of the largest wine producers in the United Kingdom and has been for over 30 years.
There are plenty of fantastic things you can enjoy at the estate, all of which have a variety of options. The Indoor Winery Tour is perfect for the colder months and combines a fascinating history of the estate with a tour of the winery and some enjoyable wine tasting in the cellar. While the Outdoor Winery Tour allows you to take a 50-minute train ride across the phenomenal estate to view the countless vineyards. Just remember to check the weather report before you hop on board.
4. Box Hill
One of the most popular tourist spots in Surrey, Box Hill offers visitors the chance to see incredible panoramic views of the western Weald that looks beautiful in any weather.
Most of Box Hill is owned by the National Trust, who have also provided a cafeteria and gift shop at the most prominent viewpoint on the hill.
While heading to Box Hill may be preferential in the summer months. A clear winters day can offer some hauntingly magical views across some of the most beautiful untouched lands in England.
5. Watts Chapel
A true hidden gem in the middle of Surrey, Watts Chapel has been best described by architectural write and photographer Lucinda Lambton;
“It is no exaggeration to say the Watts Cemetery Chapel is one of the most beautiful, extraordinary, original, marvellous and magical buildings in the whole of the British Isles”
Tucked away in the cemetery of the village of Compton, Watts Chapel is a building in a Celtic Revival style, making it look completely unique amongst other English chapels.
While the Watts Chapel only offers its beautiful aesthetics as means of public entertainment, it is open all year round as is totally free to visit.
Article by Becky Evans, Beaverbrook Hotel.