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Discover unforgettable experiences on a weekend trip to Surrey

24 January 2022

So, you’ve got a family weekend in Surrey coming up and you don’t know where to start with activities, adventures, and pastures new?

Look no further, as although the choice is overwhelming, there are some wonderful highlights for everyone to enjoy.

All you need to do is start in Dorking in central Surrey, and make your way across the county to Oxted, while experiencing memorable and exciting places on the route.

A medieval market town

Dorking is a historic market town 21 miles from London. The town features ample antique shops on West Street to potter around and endless cosy coffee shops and lunch stops.

The traditional Friday market in St Martin’s Walk is popular for its vast number of stalls and delights, and the town has been famous for its poultry and cattle markets since medieval times.

If you enjoy delving into history, but antiques aren't your scene, try to spot the famous blue plaque which features on the last house of a Pilgrim Father.

Or stop for lunch at the King's Arms pub on West Street where Charles II allegedly once stayed when it was an old coaching Inn. Rumoured to be built in the early 1400s, Charles Dickens liked the pub enough to feature it in Little Dorrit.

And as you leave town, don't miss (you won't!) the huge Dorking Cockerel structure perched on the Deepdene roundabout, which symbolises Dorking's poultry breeding history.

Burn some energy at Box Hill

Whether you need wellies or walking boots, Box Hill offers a comfortable mix of steep hills and leisurely walking trails.

A National Trust gem nestled in Surrey’s protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you’ll immediately feel at peace when you arrive.

Box Hill was featured in Jane Austen’s Emma, and you’ll be mesmerised by the glorious views that reach as far as the South Downs to reward your walking.

A popular family walk is the Stepping Stones which cross a river and is located to the west of Box Hill. In summer, you’ll be able to paddle and enjoy the rope swing, or you can brave the Stepping Stones walk in the chilly months.

If you’re keen on a more challenging walk, trek to the top of Box Hill on one of the trails. Pack lots of snacks and water and prepare for a breathtaking view when you reach the top for a rest.

Head underground in Reigate

Another picture-perfect market town heavy with history and armed with a few secrets.

If you stroll down the high street, you probably won’t be aware that ancient tunnels run beneath your feet. And even better: you can visit them! Be sure to book in advance.

There are two caves, each with a different history. Tunnel Road cave was built in the 1820s and is thought to be one of the oldest road tunnels in Britain. It was once used to store beer and wine and opened initially as a sand mine.

During World War I, explosives were also held in the tunnels.

Reigate is a bustling town, with a mix of local and high street stores and restaurants. It's difficult to walk around without spotting castle remains or an inviting café.

With lots of parking and train links to London, Reigate is a fabulous spot to potter around. The green open spaces are a wonderful combination of town and country living set against the stunning Surrey Hills.

Above ground in nature

If you’re up for something a little more ‘outdoorsy’, then grab your bikes or scooters and head to Reigate’s stunning central green space, Priory Park.

There’s a stunning lake, tennis courts, skate ramps, and acres of open space to roam – endless hours of exploring natural beauty and precious wildlife.

Or head to the woods at the back and climb to the ridge for an alternative view. Take a stroll at Reigate Hill (there’s plenty of parking) and let the dogs (and kids!) run wild.

You can marvel at the stunning views, discover the old fort, and treat yourself at the Reigate Hill Tea Room to a sweet treat and a cuppa.

The Discovery Walk at Priory Farm

Although you must book in advance, this walk is a brilliant adventure just a short distance from Reigate and between Redhill and Oxted.

The walk holds little surprises along the way as you stroll through woods, green pastures, and finish by a lake.

Surprises include the Giant’s chair, a treetop house, a wishing well, a hidden dragon, and a wobbly bridge.

In the end, you can feed the crowds of fish that come close hunting for food. It takes about an hour, and it is suitable for pushchairs for tired little ones, too.

Before or after the walk, the kids can play on the enormous wooden pirate ship while you grab a steamy cappuccino from the Priory Farm Shop.

But we think your main challenge will be keeping away from the ice cream section!

Spend a day at Godstone Farm

Once you arrive at Godstone Farm, you’ll have a struggle to get the kids back in the car again! So, take your time, plan your visit, and book your tickets in advance.

There’s plenty to do for all ages, and depending on when you visit, there might be special seasonal events. Godstone Farm is wheelchair accessible, and there are accessible toilets on site.

If sweet, cuddly animals are your thing, then there are many different farm animals to get close to – there are often cute little piglets that we’re sure will steal your heart!

But if you want to get even closer to the smaller animals, visit the animal holding room and cuddle some adorable rabbits!

The World of Dinosaur Roar! Discovery Trail is perfect for budding paleontologists or just those who want to be near (fake!) dinosaurs.

If it’s dry, the outdoor adventure play area is vast, with various slides, climbing frames, sandpits, zip wires, and even a tobogganing slope!

You’ll also find a new den building area and an indoor and outdoor construction site to show off your creative flair!

But you should also visit the indoor soft play which has different areas for older and younger children, and a super convenient café and seating area.

And if you didn’t bring lunch, head to the Courtyard Kitchen. They serve hot and cold meals with plenty of seating for a relaxing break and a chance to chat about all the magical experiences you’ve discovered so far.

If you fancy more adventures, there are regular tractor rides, and check out the one-of-a-kind Meerkat and Farmer experiences, too!

Finish in leafy Oxted

The town sits at the bottom of the North Downs and has excellent train links to London.

As you can imagine, there are so many country walks to mention. But if the outdoors is on your agenda, an excellent walk starts and finishes at The Haycutter pub near Old Oxted.

You can finish a long, scenic walk that takes in an old church, a golf course, and lots of woodlands, and then reward yourself with scrumptious a Sunday lunch.

But there are also many walks around Titsey Place (it’s perfect if you’re bringing the kids and they want to cycle up and down the long drive) and in the wider Titsey Estate areas.

Push yourself to the limit and make it all the way to the top, where you can finish up at the Botley Hill Farmhouse for a well-deserved lunch.

Sit back and watch

Don’t worry if the weather turns: you’ll have a couple of options for inside family viewing.

The Barn Theatre, which is almost a hundred years old, hosts numerous plays and musicals and claims to be Surrey’s oldest community theatre.

Otherwise, the Everyman Cinema features a fabulous bar for drinks and food and shows current films and old classics.

More adventures in Surrey

So, this journey from central Surrey to the Kent border gives you an ample choice of fun things to do and places to visit regardless of the weather.