Surrey is famed for its proximity to London, beautiful redbrick homes, and of course its leafy countryside. As part of a bigger UK tour or if you’re only visiting London, exploring my home country is the perfect way to spend an autumn weekend out in the fresh air! Here are just a few ways to enjoy the Surrey countryside with a few ideas for Surrey days out in autumn!
How to get to Surrey
Surrey is home to some of the best countryside near London, at less than 30 minutes train ride away from London Waterloo you can’t beat the rolling hills and lush greenery for some of the best views in Surrey. With lots of things to do in and nearby Surrey, you certainly won’t be short of activities to explore in and around the area!
Staying in Surrey is a great base for a UK visit. Boasting beautiful countryside near London you have the benefit of exploring the best tourist spots in the city as well as fresh country air and peaceful open space, and you’re just a stones throw away from many other great UK destinations.
From Surrey, one can explore areas around the south east of the UK thanks to great transport connections. Larger towns Woking and Guildford are 30 and 40 minutes from London Waterloo respectively with Southwestern Railways – an easy escape from city life! Just a short train journey can also take you down to many places along the south coast. From there you can explore all the naval history on offer in Portsmouth, paddle at the beach in Brighton, visit the beautiful cathedral in Chichester, or walk along dramatic coastlines in Dorset.
Beautiful Places To Visit In Surrey Countryside
Exploring the countryside and beautiful leafy views are by far some of the best things to do in Surrey. The county has a wealth of activities on offer and driving through the country lanes and rural villages you’ll soon see why it was coined Leafy Surrey! Explore Surrey Hills and Newlands Corner, Shere, Godalming, Guildford, and Woking for some of the best views in Surrey!
With lots of places a short drive away from the central towns that offer rural farmland and plentiful forests, it’s a great destination to breath some fresh air and space to yourself while remaining close to the urban areas. You can explore Surrey countryside in a day, or spread over across a long weekend to make the most of all there is to see.
Combining a gentle countryside walk with an essential trip to the pub or tea room after, can you get any more quintessentially British?! Autumn is a particularly great time to visit, with crisp air and golden colours sprinkled across the landscape, there’s much to love about this area of the UK!
Found right in the heart of Surrey’s cathedral town of Guildford, is Guildford Castle. This unassuming historical structure was built in medieval ages, and although a little weathered around the edges, it’s of great pride to the town. What’s more, looking out across the Surrey countryside from the Guildford Castle viewing platform gives one of the best views in Surrey stretching over the cathedral and beyond.
Explore Guildford Castle and wander around the neatly kept gardens surrounding the tower. It’s an idyllic little paradise atop the hill, and offers a chance for a quiet break from the busy town centre. There are plenty of benches dotted around the castle grounds to rest at; my favourite being those overlooking the bowling green – you might even catch a game!
From Guildford Castle, walk through historic Guildford’s cobbled High Street featuring the Guildhall clock, browse the shops, and wander the many secret alleyways tucked between shopfronts. A great pub to rest at after your visit is Three Pigeons, a beautiful 18th Century building which was rebuilt following a fire in 1916. If waterfront views are more your style, the White House, sat right on the corner of the River Wey and offers a varied and delicious menu!
Shere is the ultimate picturesque Home Counties village. Pubs, tea rooms, and public footpaths make it the perfect day out in Surrey! Take a casual short walk through the village and along the shallow River Tillingbourne with the less-than-graceful ducks, and following the public footpaths you’ll be delighted to see jaunty timber houses and thatched roofs along your way. Even better is the village stocks which proudly stand outside the White Horse pub – just a sample of Shere’s history! The village’s heritage dates as far back as the Domesday book of 1086 and was held by William the Conqueror at the time! Needless to say, wandering through Shere is truly a chance to step back in time in this wonderfully rich village of historical charm.
Shere is a as adorable as it looks. Wander up to the church and around yet more old buildings, and follow the narrow and winding streets to soak up the village atmosphere. It’s so endearing as to even be the setting for many Hollywood blockbusters such as The Holiday, The Wedding Date, and Bridget Jone’s Diary: The Edge of Reason!
Just along the A25 outside of Shere south of the North Downs, and you’ll find an unexpected turning for the Silent Pool. Briefly walking through the forest with the sound of trickling water as your guide, you’ll reach the edge of the pools. The still, calm waters at this spring-fed pond exude an eerily calm atmosphere, as you gently follow the boardwalk around the water.
The Silent Pool has a legendary history. The folklore story has a few variations, one of which goes that after being kidnapped and drowned at the pool by King John, a woman can be seen at midnight. In other variations a nobleman pursued the bathing woman into deeper waters where she drowned, and when her father found the body the floating hat of King John was found too… Pretty spooky stuff! Once you visit and experience the quiet stillness of the aptly named Silent Pool, you’ll see why legend came about around this ethereal hidden treasure. The area has been popular for visitors since Victorian times, both due to it’s legendary ghost stories and as offering some of the best Surrey countryside.
The Silent Pool is certainly one of the more unusual things to do in Surrey thanks to it claiming the title as the only spring source in the North Downs. The lush greenery and romantic waters are wonderful to admire. The ponds are also a haven for a variety of water based wildlife, so keep an eye out for what you might spot!
Unfortunately, due to the delicate environment of the pools (which can be prone to drying out when there is low rainfall), in the past they have been susceptible to damage due to invasive non-native weeds growing. Efforts to restore the Silent Pool back to its prime have been ongoing, and the local council continue to remove the weeds through various methods. This means that the water levels can sometimes be much lower, and some footpaths are blocked due to machinery attempting to aid the issue. So don’t be alarmed if your visit isn’t quite what you initially expected!
What’s more, the Silent Pool is now also home to the Silent Pool Gin distillery since 2014, the magical area continues to inspire and serve a delicious purpose! You can take a tour of the distillery to learn about the process of making the gin here, plus sample it for yourself – definitely one of the best things to do in Surrey! After visiting the pool itself, there seems no better way to round off a trip than trying the product made by the spring water you’ve just visited.
As part of the Surrey Hills, Newlands Corner is one of the most picturesque areas in Surrey. The Surrey Hills are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) so are justly worth a visit for some of the best countryside near London!
Like the Silent Pool, Newlands Corner is also the scene of an intriguing story. In 1926 the famous crime writer Agatha Christie staged her disappearance at the car park of Newlands Corner, where her car was found. It was then believed she may have drowned in the Silent Pool, mirroring the fatal legend of the maiden mentioned above. It later transpired that she was found in Harrogate days later, but still added a claim to fame for the viewpoint in little ol’ Surrey!
Located on a ridge of the Albury Downs (part of the larger North Downs), Newlands Corner is a prime spot to admire some of the best views in Surrey, as well as enjoying a picnic break before being a short walk down the grassy hills. Grab a breakfast waffle and a hot chocolate on a fine autumn morning from Shere and sit atop the hills watching dog walkers and keen amblers begin the descent down the footpaths. The perfect way to start the day!
Newlands Corner is just one of many great spots in the Surrey Hills to enjoy the fresh countryside, and generally take in all that leafy Surrey has to offer.
My hometown of Woking is another of the places in Surrey that has many quirky accolades. Famous for H.G. Wells, The Jam, and Matt from Busted, the commuter town is a great option to consider when looking for things to do near Guildford. With quaint historical parishes scattered around the town centre, it’s easy to pub hop your way through Woking! Visiting Horsell is a firm contender for a Surrey day out – as you have a choice of pubs and restaurants along the High Street, and the beautiful Horsell Common close by for a gentle walk through the woodland.
Horsell Common is most famous as the first site of the alien invasion in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds (NOT the Tom Cruise version!). The sand dunes tucked away amongst thick forest is in itself otherworldly, and particularly when it’s cold enough frozen ice over the reddish waters is pretty spooky! Enjoy an amble through the woods and explore the flora of this popular walking spot.
Of course after a decent walk there’s only one thing left to do: head to the pub! The Cricketers in Horsell, offer an incredible Sunday roast carvary, but be sure to book ahead as they get busy very quickly! With roast meats and veggie options plus all the trimmings (including the most enormous Yorkshire puddings – an essential to any Brit’s diet!), you’ll be pleasantly stuffed from a delicious meal. Afterwards, consider a rummage around an antique fair in a neighbouring parish, such as the quaint old village of Ripley, to settle your stomachs and see what trinkets you can stumble across. A gentle activity is a good way to avoid a food nap, because you’ll certainly be wanting one after all that walking and food!
These are just a few of the great places to enjoy the beautiful Surrey countryside, experience snippets of history, and stop in some great pubs along the way! These spots are gorgeous all year round, but with the spectrum of hues scattered through the autumn foliage, this time of year is especially magical!
Have you visited Surrey before? Where is your favourite countryside spot? Share your story in the comments!
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