The top days out in Surrey

Surrey is a county with beautiful countryside including the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are so many place to explore from world famous gardens to historic houses, museums, art galleries and a host of picturesque villages and vibrant towns.

Written by

Sheila Frampton

The only problem is deciding where to go for a day out.  The following are a selection of our favourites, so read on to gain inspiration for your next day out in this beautiful county. 

We have categorised our day trips by occasion, although these locations are of course worth visiting for many reasons.

Top places to enjoy a picnic in Surrey 》

Top places to discover Surrey's history 》

Top beautiful gardens to visit 》

Top days out in Surrey for adults 》

Top days out in Surrey with your grandchildren 》

And you can view our interactive map to discover the attractions closest to you, and our developments in Surrey by clicking here.

Winkworth Arboretum


The lake at Winkworth Arboretum

A greenhouse at Kew Gardens


One of the greenhouses at Kew Gardens

Top places to go for a picnic in Surrey

Box Hill

One of our favourite National Trust places in Surrey is Box Hill. 

On a sunny day, the views of the Surrey Hills and North Downs towards Dorking and Tadworth are simply beautiful.   At the foot of Box Hill, are stepping stones over the River Mole and there’s a circular walk along the River Mole giving you the chance to spot dragonflies, wagtails and kingfishers.   This is a fabulous place to picnic although there is a café and car park to stock up before your walk  - or to refuel afterwards.

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Virginia Water 

The woodland shores of this beautiful two-mile long lake are popular with walkers and anyone who enjoys relaxing and enjoying the view.

Features include a 100 ft totem pole and an ornamental cascade – and the Leptis Magna Ruins which are further on from the cascade.   Created in 1826, the ruins are a folly built from columns, pedestals and slabs recovered from the ancient Roman city of Leptis Magna in present day Libya.

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Box Hill, Reigate


The viewing point at Box Hill, Reigate


A couple enjoying a picnic 

Explore Surrey’s rich history

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace in East Molesey is a fabulous place for a day out.  

The whole family can visit Henry’s Great Hall and Tudor kitchens and explore the spectacular baroque palace built for William III and Mary II.   Hampton Court Palace has some fabulous outdoor spaces including 750 acres of parkland and 60 acres of magnificent gardens, all set within a loop of the River Thames.   The gardens are home to the world’s oldest puzzle maze, a record-breaking grape vine, three National Plant Collections and a huge variety of wildlife including the descendants of Henry VIII’s herd of deer.  In spring, the gardens come to life with over one million flowering bulbs in the Wilderness and in the autumn colours are spectacular in the Tiltyard, Wilderness and 20th century gardens.    Hampton Court hosts a whole range of events click on the link below to find out more. 

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Polesden Lacey 

This 1,600-acre estate features elegant gardens, an Edwardian house and plenty of space to walk and walk your dog I the wider estate.  

The house has sumptuous interiors and stunning décor and highlights include exceptional views, a walled rose garden, herbaceous borders and a winter garden.   The estate boasts rolling downland with a view over the Surrey Hills, ancient woodlands and wildlife habitats that are home to rare birds.  Measured walks make exploring the estate easy.  Younger family members can enjoy a natural play area crafted from the estate’s timber.  The estate hosts events including open air theatre.  

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Hatchlands Park, near Guildford

Inside the Georgian house at Hatchlands Park, there are six beautifully restored rooms, richly decorated with a family feel.  

There’s a chance to see some of Robert Adam’s early work, along with a wonderful collection of paintings and a world class collection of musical instruments.    The mansion is a family home so you need to check opening hours if you want to explore inside the house.  There are over 400 acres of woodland trails and parkland to explore, much of which id dog friendly.  Walks include the Wix Woods Walk, a circular walk across the centre of the estate through woodland and parkland and the Long Walk, a circular walk which follows the edge of the path, through woodland and open parkland with distant views of the house and the wider Surrey countryside. 

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Polesden Lacey


The main house at Polesden Lacey

Bodleian Library Oxford


A fountain view overlooking Hampton Court Palace

Landscape at Polesden Lacey


The beautiful scenery at Polesden Lacey

Visit one of Surrey's beautiful gardens

RHS Gardens Wisley  

For more than 200 years, the Royal Horticultural Society has been at the heart of England’s passion for gardening and the RHS Garden Wisley is one of the UK’s most visited and best-loved gardens.  

Extending to over 240 acres, it is home to some of the largest plant collections in the world and showcases inspirational gardening.  Visitors arrive at the Welcome building and there’s a large garden centre and the Wisley Café.   RHS Hilltop at Wisley is the home of the UK’s first dedicated science hub, surrounded by four acres of ‘living laboratories’ in the form of three new gardens.  There’s a naturalistic Rock Garden, a Wisteria Walk, the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden, an exotic garden, a heather landscape, a glasshouse and much more. 

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Crocodile at Crocodiles of the World, Witney

Winkworth Arboretum 

Winkworth Arboretum is the National Trust’s only arboretum and is perfect for visiting any time of the year as the landscape changes with the seasons.

Founded by Dr Wilfrid Fox, a local doctor in the early 20th century, today this  arboretum is home to around 6,000 trees that comprise of over 1,000 different species.   Visit in spring to enjoy impressive displays of magnolia, bluebells and azaleas in bloom.  Summer visits are perfect for picnics and delightful walks.  In autumn the foliage blazes with vibrant colours and on frosty or snowy winter days, the scenery is dramatic.  The arboretum offers children’s trails during the school holidays and there’s a woodland play area open daily.  There’s also the Arbor Tea Room where visitors can refuel with a tasty drink and light lunch or snack. At Winkworth, dogs on leads are welcome all year round too.

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Claremont Landscape Gardens, Esher

This 18th century garden is a green oasis in the heart of Surrey within easy reach of London.  

Many of the great names in landscape design history have played a part in the creation of estate.  Sir John Vanbrugh, Charles Bridgeman, William Kent and ‘Capability Brown’ all put their own distinctive stamp on the pleasure grounds and in 1866 Queen Victoria herself acquired the estate to save it from development.   Explore the large turf amphitheatre, serpentine lake, grotto, Camellia Terrace and Belvedere Tower.   If you don’t take a picnic, light lunches and cakes are served in the café.  Dogs on short leads are permitted in designated area all year round.

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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 

With 326 acres of exotic plants, woodland trails and lily ponds and over 50,000 botanical collections, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew is a perfect place to spend a day.  

As well as being one of London’s most visited outdoor attractions, the gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, housing one of the oldest and most significant botanical collections in the world.  From a vast arboretum to an Alpine Rock Garden, there is plenty to see and do.  Rare and threatened plants in the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse, fragrance and rich textures are found in Rhododendron Dell – and there’s a host of events, including a summer music festival and a winter wonderland.

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Painshill Park, Cobham

Located in Cobham, Painshill Park has so much to offer that you’ll have to make more than one visit.

This beautiful 18th century landscape garden makes a great day out for all ages.  Winding past lead you past works of art and stunning views.   You can stroll around Serpentine Lake, wander through woodland, explore the follies and the dramatically placed garden buildings. There’s a Crystal Grotto (closed Mondays), a Gothic temple, ruined abbey, Turkish Tent and Gothic Tower.  Indeed, the 160-acre park,  designed by Charles Hamilton, has been described as a living canvas.   Historic plantings including a heritage collection of North American trees and shrubs, veteran English Oaks and the largest Cedar in Europe..  Hidden gems include a restored waterwheel, a hermitage in the woods, a vineyard and some amazing wildlife.  Dogs are allowed on short leads and there’s a host of places to picnic – as well as a tea room.  

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Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, Ockley

Nestled in a woodland valley just outside the village of Ockley near Dorking, this is a unique sculpture garden.  

Created more than 35 years ago, the garden exhibits an ever-changing collection of contemporary sculpture in a beautiful setting surrounding a 15th century Grade II listed cottage.  A huge variety of contemporary sculpture created by artists across the UK and Europe are set against a backdrop of broadleaved, architectural plants, ponds and mature trees,   Each sculpture, or series of sculptures, is given its own space allowing visitors to explore and appreciate each individual piece.  In 2022, the Indoor Gallery was launched to celebrate a collection of smaller sculpture, ceramics and delicate pieces. 

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A blossoming tree at Winkworth Arboretum
A close up of a butterfly
Inside the green house at Kew Gardens

Top days out for the adults in Surrey

Denbies Wine Estate 

Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking is one of England’s largest single estate vineyards.  

With 265 acres under vine, it has a production capacity of 1 million bottles.   Denbies runs indoor wine tasting winery tours throughout the year, daily on the hour between 11 am and 4 pm. The outdoor vineyard train tours provide panoramic views of the estate and the North Downs beyond.   The food is as good as the wine with a choice of the Gallery Restaurant, the Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Library, the Conservatory Restaurant and, if you’re on the go, the Hatch on The Lawn Takeaway.   

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The Wessex Distillery, Godalming

This family-owned craft distillery is proud of its reputation for creating the best English gin using premium ingredients from the English countryside.

Founded in 2017, the Wessex Distillery has already received global recognition, winning an impressive array of national and international awards.

With a 2-hour cocktail making masterclass or a guided gin lab experience using their copper still, you're able to create your own bespoke gin with their distilling experts. You can read about a trip some Beechcroft owners made to the Wessex Distillery in our blog here.

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The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford


A visit to the Wessex Distillery

The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford


The beautiful Denbies Wine Estate

Days out with your children or grandchildren in Surrey

Birdworld, Farnham

Birdworld is one of the largest bird parks in the country with 26 acres of landscaped parkland and gardens, home to over 1000 birds and 189 species from around the world.  

Interactive exhibits include the Jenny Wren Farm, Penguin Beach, Outback Landing and Seashore Walk where you can enjoy birds flying around.  The Palm Café serves snacks and sandwiches and there’s plenty of picnic spots.  

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Brooklands Museum 

Brooklands will be popular with the whole family, including older children.  

A visit here enables you to step back in time to the days of innovation, determination and record breaking on the site of the world’s first purpose-built race track.  You can discover supersonic flight with Concorde and get close to the aircraft designed, built and flown at Brooklands.  Explore the historic site brought to life, through interactive collections of motor vehicles, aircraft and real-life experiences.   In addition to the 100 years of great British history at Brooklands Museum, there’s a London bus museum and so many historic cars.  

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Scones with cream and jam
Huffkins Bakery, burford
Tea and cake

View the interactive map of the top days out in Surrey

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