6 Houses & Parks To Visit in Surrey
Surrey: A Home County
England is a popular tourist destination with visitors flocking from all around the world to see the sights, culture and history. There were over 31 million visits to the United Kingdom in 2012, with a large proportion choosing to visit London. There is no denying that London, as the capital city, has a great deal to see and do, but other areas of the country should not be overlooked. The county of Surrey is located just to the South of London, in easy reach for those staying in accommodation in the capital, and has a variety of things to see and do. There are a number of historic houses and gardens and a number of beautiful parks in Surrey that should not be missed on a trip to England. Here are six of the best houses and parks to visit in Surrey.
1. Polesden Lacey
Polesden Lacey is a large Edwardian house and estate that is near Dorking in Surrey. It is managed and run by the National Trust; an organisation dedicated to protecting and preserving cultural and environmental places, and is one of their most popular houses. The house has fantastic views across Surrey and there are gardens that you can explore in any season. The property has some lovely Edwardian interiors and is also home to an extensive collection of art and ceramics. The house was home to Dame Margaret Greville who was well known in the Edwardian period as a society hostess who threw celebrated gatherings and events. Members of the royal family were often her guests; she was close to Queen Mary and left all her jewels to the Queen Mother.
2. The Sculpture Park
Those looking for something more modern should not miss a visit to the Sculpture Park. Hidden away at the edge of the village of Churt in Surrey this mysterious park is home to 600 sculptures. The park was established in 2003 and features sculptures in a wide variety of styles. The collection includes sculptures from ‘deceased luminaries’ and ‘prestigious living artists’. There are four colour coded trails that you can follow to discover the different pieces. This ten-acre park set in a woodland arboretum is a must see for anyone interested in art and sculpture. There are surprises throughout the park, with some of the sculptures hidden in the trees.
3. Loseley Park
Loseley Park is manor house that was built in the 16th century and can be found outside Guildford in Surrey. The estate came into the hands of the direct ancestors of the More-Molyeneux family in the 16th century and is still owned by the family today. The story goes that the new house was built to replace a smaller one which was deemed by Elizabeth I as not ‘adequate’ for her to visit. There are a number of impressive pieces to see in the manor house. You can see panelling from Henry VIII’s, now ruined, Nonsuch Palace, George IV’s coronation chair and one of the few paintings of Anne Boleyn. You can also explore the walled garden that was based on a design by Gertrude Jekyll. The garden has a number of ‘rooms’ each with a different theme, these include the Rose Garden, the White Garden and the Flower Garden.
4. Silent Pool
A more intriguing and mysterious place to visit in Surrey is Silent Pool. Silent Pool is a spring fed lake close to the North Downs. The pool was a popular place to visit in the Victorian period and has remained something of an attraction to visitors to the area. The pool gives off a slightly eerie feeling, possibly due to the stillness of the water. There are, however, many different species of aquatic life that you can spot, including the kingfisher. Adding to the intrigue of the area is a local legend that Prince John, while out riding, came across a woodcutter’s daughter bathing in the pool. He attempted to lure her out of the water but when she did not comply he rode his horse into the water. The girl fled to deeper waters where she drowned. It is said that the ghost of the maiden can be seen at midnight.
5. Clandon Park
Clandon Park is an 18th century Palladian mansion located in West Clandon just outside Guildford. The house was built in c.1730 for the Onslow family and has stunning interiors which include the spectacular Marble Hall. As well as taking in the period interiors you can also visit Hinemihi, the only historic Maori meeting house in the UK. Hinemihi is in the grounds of Clandon Park and was brought back from New Zealand in the 1890s by the 4th Earl of Onlsow as a reminder of his time as Governor. The Surrey Infantry Museum is also located in Clandon Park. You can discover what life was like for soldiers fighting in wars throughout the centuries – including the Crimean War, Boer War, the First World War and the Second World War. Clandon Park also has some beautiful gardens and a collection of 18th century furniture and porcelain.
6. Claremont Landscape Garden
Finally, you should also make a visit to Claremont Landscape Garden. This beautiful park is found just outside of Esher and is one of the prime examples of English Landscape Garden design. With work on the garden beginning in 1715 it is also one of the earliest surviving English Landscape Gardens. Many well-known historical landscape gardeners, such as Capability Brown, Charles Bridgeman and William Kent, worked on the gardens. You can discover the turfed amphitheatre, the grotto, Camellia Terrace and the Thatched Cottage. You can also play with the miniature replica of the nine-pin bowling alley that was made for the Duke of Newcastle. The garden is also home the Beldevere Tower, which was also designed for the Duke of Newcastle (who was later the Prime Minister). The garden is now under the stewardship of the National Trust and is well worth a visit.
Useful Related Links
- Visit Surrey
Surrey's official tourist information website. Search for hotels and accommodation, things to do, attractions and events in Surrey
- Things to Do in Surrey
Official tourism guide to Surrey with places to visit, ideas for days out and Surrey hotels and accommodation information. All you need to plan and book your trip.
- Surrey on Wikipedia
Surrey is a county in the Southeast of England, and one of the home counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, and Berkshire, and its historic county town is Guildford.