If you're searching for a fun outdoor activity to do in the south west, then look no further than the Surrey Hills. From the rolling chalk downs filled with an abundance of shrubbery to the magnificent Greensand Hills which rise to form the highest point in south east of England, the Surrey Hills aren’t short of stunning scenery.
Whether you’re planning a family day out or a romantic couple’s stroll, there's so much to see and do in and around the Surrey Hills. For a stress-free journey, leave your car at home and instead travel by train, saving you the hassle of traffic jams and finding a parking spot. Read on to find out more about the Surrey Hills, including how to get there and what there is to do in the area.
Where are the Surrey Hills?
Stretching across a quarter of the county of Surrey, Surrey Hills is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that runs from Farnham in the west to Oxted in the east. The postcode for the Surrey Hills is KT20 7LB.
Whether you’re visiting in the summer sun or during the cosy winter months, there’s always plenty to do in and around the Surrey Hills. From thrilling cultural events to relaxing scenic walks, you'll find activities perfect for visitors young and old.
Grab your helmet and head out on one of the scenic off-road cycling trails that south west Surrey has to offer. With five different routes to choose from, it's totally up to you whether you opt for a long-distance adventure or a shorter leisurely loop.
Not to be missed is the Box Hill Olympic Route. As one of the top attractions in the Surrey Hills, it’s famed for being the route of the 2012 Summer Olympic cycling road race events - so why not follow in your favourite Olympian’s tyre tracks and embark on the very route that they cycled? Travelling with your bike couldn’t be easier on one of our services, and to give yourself peace of mind it’s best to plan your journey ahead of time.
A leisurely stroll is one of the simplest ways to be at one with nature, and with plenty of walking routes to choose from, the Surrey Hills is the perfect place to explore. Begin your hike at Leith Hill where you’re guaranteed to find spectacular views, before settling down at a pretty spot for a well-deserved picnic. While you’re here, pay a visit to Leith Hill Place, a beautiful patch of woodland where you can often find exhibitions, live music and theatre performances.
Another unmissable walking trail is Devil’s Punchbowl, where you can explore both fairytale-esque woods and open heathland dotted with grazing cattle and wild ponies. Not only is this particular spot an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but it’s also a site of special scientific interest due to the huge variety of wildlife that can be found here, making Devil’s Punchbowl a must-visit for animal-lovers!
Surrey Hills is absolutely packed full of fascinating historical sites, making it a must-visit for history buffs. Pop on your walking boots for a journey up St Martha’s Hill, where you can find the stunning St Martha’s Church at the summit - making the climb up worth every step!
If you fancy more of a leisurely stroll, visit the National Trust site Reigate & Colley Hill, which offers brilliant sprawling views of the Surrey Hills. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic - and while you’re there, you can also discover the remarkable Victorian Hill Fort and the ancient Inglis Memorial.
Next, head to the Lovelace Bridges, which were originally built to help transport timber and still stand strong in the Surrey Hills, before finishing off your day at the historic Farnham Castle.
Whether you’re visiting as a couple or bringing the whole family along, there’s so much to see in the Surrey Hills. Choose from events such as the Surrey Hills Wood Fair, the Artisan Market which showcases some of the best of Surrey Hills artisans, and much more. Car fanatics will enjoy the numerous car and motorbike fairs hosted throughout the year, while you can find plenty of opportunities to get involved with sponsored walks if you’d like to do your bit for charity.
Wildlife and landscape
For a memorable day out, pay a visit to Winkworth Arboretum, a dog-friendly landscape arboretum that’s brimming with greenery and wildlife. If you're feeling peckish, take advantage of the on-site tearooms, where you can find a delicious selection of lunches as well as hot and cold drinks. Little explorers can let off some steam at the arboretum's Tree Adventure playground, which was built using oak trees from the area! Built in the Middle Ages, Frensham Great Pond and Common are a must-visit with a sandy beach and the perfect place to have a picnic.
As well as its stunning scenery, the Surrey Hills is also home to some of the most picturesque villages in England. Step straight into a storybook with a trip to the village of Shere, where you will be surrounded by charming buildings, quaint tea rooms, and even a delightful, duck-filled stream.
Alcohol connoisseurs should head to the village of Albury to check out their vineyard and silent pool gin distillery, while lovers of nature can visit Worsplesdon, a village which is home to Whitmore Common, offering large areas of woodland.
Brockham village is a small yet vibrant area, and as one of the most photographed villages in the UK, it’s guaranteed to be beautiful. Finally, the villages of Chiddingfold and Chobham are also worthy of your bucket list.
Food and drinks
You can find a range of food and drinks options to suit every taste in and around the Surrey Hills. If you're bringing your own food, make the most of the spectacular views the Surrey Hills has to offer and settle down for a picnic. Choose from locations such as Reigate Hill, Box Hill Viewpoint, Denbies Hillside and Leith Hill Tower to name a few. Other spots for a picnic include Newlands Corner and Silent Pool - both of which feature on our list of perfect picnic spots.
Walking can be hungry work, so why not stop off at one of the many cafés along the way? Cyclists should head to Destination Bike, where you can get your bike fixed or replaced whilst indulging in a coffee and a slice of cake, or visit Ryka’s Café, a small venue which is hosted by cyclists offering hot and cold food and drinks. Alternatively, for a quick bite to eat, visit the eco-friendly Chimney Fire Coffee, or Box Hill Café.
Those in the mood for a heartier meal after a day of exploring can make the most of one of the many restaurants in the area. For a delicious American steakhouse feast, try out the Smith and Western in Box Hill, or for classic English pub grub, visit The Tree, also in Box Hill. If international flavours are your thing, get your taste buds tingling with an authentic Thai experience at Sang Thai, where you can find an array of set menu dishes to please every palate. For a taste of the Mediterranean, head to Roosters Kitchen, where you’ll be spoilt for choice with an impressive menu.
A visit to Denbies Wine Estate gives you the perfect excuse to enjoy a post-walk tipple. This popular vineyard is a hit with locals and tourists alike and has even previously welcomed members of the Royal Family! Alternatively, check out Surrey Hills Brewery Ltd, where you can embark on a guided tour of the brewing process and enjoy a delicious pint directly from the cask.
Places to stay in the Surrey Hills
The Surrey Hills has an array of accommodation options no matter your budget. For a luxurious stay, choose from The White Horse, Wooton House or Hartsfield Manor, while budget-friendly options include Mercure Box Hill Burford Bridge Hotel and Travelodge Dorking.
Bed and Breakfasts include Castle Mill, Chart House and The Waltons, while if you prefer a more independent and private experience, book a stay at Surrey Hills Cottage Holidays or Surrey Hills Yurts.
Surrey Hills accessibility
The Surrey Hills has accessibility routes available for wheelchair users, and Box Hill’s path from the Information Centre to the viewpoint has been re-laid which makes it suitable for wheelchairs.