Even when the Royals aren’t cheering on the horses at the Derby, Epsom Downs is still a fabulous day out, whether you’re picking a winner from Tattenham Corner or mingling with the post-race runners and riders in The Rubbing House, which claims to be the only pub on a racecourse in the world. A few miles north-west of town you can visit Chessington World Of Adventure – with its 40 rides, 10 themed areas, zoo, and Sea Life Centre, it’s among the most popular family attractions in the UK. Take advantage of the fabulous 2-for-1 offer when you buy your train ticket. Get your Tarzan on among the treetops on the zip-lines and canopy trails of the Go Ape forest adventure, meet the sea lions, otters and penguins at the daily shows, go on ‘Zufari’ in an open-back truck or see the only known Gruffalo in captivity.
Further afield, don’t miss the chance to strut around the stately halls and gardens of Hampton Court Palace pretending to be an angry Henry VIII, getting lost in its famous maze and taking part in a real-life Tudor joust. There’s another fantastic 2-for-1 offer available when you buy your train ticket, except at summer peak times. Or simply cycle, golf or ramble around Horton Country Park, a 400-acre nature reserve featuring a Children’s Farm and Hobbledown, a surreal wooden village straight out of Middle Earth, featuring underground tunnels, mazes, a petting zoo and kiddie climbing zones.