Why should you retire to Surrey?

Retiring in Surrey will offer you a fantastic lifestyle, with plenty to do and see. You'll be kept busy by all the fantastic points of interest surrounding you.

Written by

Sheila Frampton

What makes Surrey a good place to spend your retirement? 

With miles of rolling hills, woodland, pretty waterways, picturesque villages and elegant towns, it’s no wonder that Surrey is considered one of the most desirable places to live in the country. 

Surrey is made up of eleven districts and boroughs, each with its own identity and its own amazing attractions from lively shopping centres to sporting venues and historic houses.    Indeed, Surrey is renowned for its golf courses – some of which are amongst the best in the world. 

The county’s excellent transport links mean that living in Surrey has been described as ‘having one foot in London and the other in the country.’  The northernmost areas of Surrey, within the M25, are suburbs of the capital whilst its more southerly reaches offer pockets of seclusion.  Regardless of the area of Surrey, there are good rail or road connections.  Trains run to London Victoria and Waterloo and road links make it easy to travel to Gatwick or Heathrow airports. 

For more information on the county, take a look at the Visit Surrey or The Surrey County Council websites.

A photo of the river in Bourton on the Water
A photo of a road sign in Burford

A county known for its quality of life

A combination of the lowest crime rate and the highest life expectancy, along with some of the country’s most attractive towns and villages and with plenty of places walk, cycle, play golf, explore historic houses or relax over afternoon tea, Surrey is undoubtedly one of the best counties for retirees.


Is the Surrey countryside accessible?   

Leafy Surrey is England’s most wooded county with woodland covering 20% of the land.  More than a quarter of the wooded areas are recorded as ancient woodland, rich in wildlife, flora and fauna.

The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty stretch across a quarter of the county, a specially protected landscape which extends from Farnham in the west, above Guildford, Dorking and Reigate, through to Oxted in the east.  This area is accessible by train, car or public transport and there’s a fabulous network of footpaths, bridleways and cycle trails available to walkers, horse riders and cyclists who are able to enjoy breath-taking views and to visit picture-postcard towns and villages.  The Inspiring Views Art Project offers visitors an opportunity to discover unique and beautiful artworks and sculptures within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

One of the best ways to explore is to use the long-distance Downs Link which follows the route of two disused railway lines and crosses the Surrey Hills, The Low Weald, the South Downs and the Coastal Plain.    In Surrey, it links the North Downs Way at St Martha’s Hill with the South Downs Way near Steyning in West Sussex.  ‘Easy Going On The Downs Link’ is a short walk of about one mile starting from the car park at the former Bramley Station.

Where can I go for a day out in Surrey?

Polesden Lacey

Surrey has a wealth of wonderful historic houses and beautiful gardens to visit.  The following are just a few suggestions:

Image above: Polesden Lacey. 

The best Surrey towns to retire in

We love so many Surrey towns.

There’s Guildford with its Yvonne Arnaud theatre and G-Live as well as great sports centres -  Surrey Sports Park and Spectrum Leisure Centre.  Kingston-Upon-Thames is a great place to shop or enjoy a night out at the theatre, cinema or in one of the many bars and restaurants.  Richmond-upon-Thames is also a fabulous location – nothing nicer than sitting beside the river enjoying a cool drink on a hot day – or browsing round the stylish, independent boutiques.

Our list of favourites, however, includes a few that are occasionaly overlooked – all charming towns with plenty to offer.

Retiring to Godalming, Surrey

The historic market town of Godalming is known for its excellent transport connections and for being ‘pleasing on the eye'.

The town, with its five conservation areas and 350 listed buildings, is surrounded by beautiful countryside which stretches beyond the water meadows on the banks of the River Wey.

London is just 30 miles from Godalming and there are excellent rail services. 

The A3 Portsmouth to London road bypasses Godalming, providing easy links to both the Capital and the South Coast.

A signpost in Burford, Oxfordshire

Best restaurants in Godalming?

Piazza Firenze Prezzo and The Fox & Finch are just a few of Godalming’s restaurants – and the barbecue restaurant at The White Hart in Witley is always a popular choice

Best shopping in Godalming?

In Godalming, you’ll find a delightful blend of independent shops and High Street names including branches of both Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.  It’s a pleasure to shop on the picturesque High Street, home to the landmark ‘Pepperpot’ building and family businesses as varied as Merlins The Jewellers and the Cornmeter hardware store – and there’s a branch of COOK.

Best walking locations in Godalming?

Godalming is set in the midst of Surrey’s most scenic countryside – and these words, written over a century ago, are still relevant today.  Climb up Hascombe Hill, the site of an ancient hillfort, and you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking, views over green meadows and wooded hills.  If you’re feeling less energetic, visit Winkworth Arboretum, Loseley Park or Busbridge Lakes. The River Wey towpath links Weybridge with Godalming and the beautiful North Downs Way.

Best arts, culture or events in Godalming?

Films are shown at Godalming’s Borough Hall and Godalming Theatre Group stages three main productions a year at Charterhouse School’s Ben Travers Theatre.  Many of the most successful West End productions are first performed at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.  For the artistic, a visit, a talk or a workshop at Watts Gallery Artists’ Village, in Compton is a must.  For a wide variety of events and live entertainment, G Live is located near the top of Guildford’s sloping High Street, approximately 5 miles from Godalming.

Retiring to Reigate, Surrey

Set in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, within easy reach of Gatwick Airport, Reigate is a thriving, affluent market town and a charming place to live. 

The High Street is full of independent shops, pubs and restaurants as well as green spaces.

Best restaurants in Reigate?

When you’re eating out, there’s a good mix of independent restaurants and quality chains such as Bill's, Giggling Squid and Côte Brasserie.  For relaxed pub dining, there’s The Black Horse and, next to Reigate Heath, the Skimmington Castle.  

Best shopping in Reigate?

Reigate is a great venue for retail therapy – and for those who are conscious about recycling the ‘Re.Work.It Boutique’ dress agency is a good choice – selling a mix of high end, high street and design clothing.  Independents include Gerrards and Quattro Rish and there’s a good selection of High Street favourites including White Stuff, Mint Velvet, Crew and Whistles.  

Best places to exercise in Reigate?

When you feel the need for fresh air and exercise, head to Priory Park in the middle of town or the National Trust’s Reigate Hill – a stretch of the North Downs with vast grasslands and quiet shady woods.  

Best arts, culture or events in Reigate?

For a night out, Reigate has an Everyman Cinema and there’s the Harlequin Theatre in nearby Redhill.

Retiring to Esher, Surrey

Esher, within easy reach of London, the M25, Heathrow and Gatwick airports is an affluent and desirable place to live. 

It’s got a great sense of community, elegant shops and stylish places to eat and drink. 

There’s also a thriving cultural scene that includes a large number of heritage sites.


Best restaurants in Esher?

You’re spoilt for choice in Esher.  There’s a whole range of excellent restaurants from the Italian menu at Café Piccolo to the Chinese cuisine at The Good Earth.  Côte Brasserie is a popular chain restaurant – but there’s also Maru, the Panahar, Sherpa Kitchen, Siam Food Gallery and more.  The Bear on The High Street is a popular pub serving good food.

Best shopping in Esher?

Esher is a good centre for shopping with a selection of boutique shops sittings alongside butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and florists – and there’s a branch of Waitrose.  Find local womenswear in Rocco women and Muddy Awards Finalist Bernard Boutique, plus lifestyle store The Interior EditThe Art Agency, a contemporary gallery, stocks exquisite modern pieces to view and purchase. Garson’s Farm is a short drive away and a day out for the whole family, with a ‘pick your own punnet’ and large farm shop.

Best places to exercise in Esher?

Situated on the River Mole, Esher is surrounded by countryside but if you want to enjoy more formal landscapes, there’s Claremont Landscape Gardens on hand, Painshill Park in nearby Cobham and Hampton Court Palace and Gardens on the Thames at East Molesey.

Best arts, culture or events in Esher?

Esher has its own cinema and a variety of events are on offer at Sandown Park throughout the year – including horse-racing, concerts and exhibitions.  Nearby Kingston-upon-Thames offers a theatre, cinema and plenty of night life.

What are Surrey’s transport links like?

Many Surrey towns are on the mainline links to London Waterloo and London Victoria stations.  The A3 and A24 run through the county as does the M25 which links with the entire motorway network.  The A3 London-Portsmouth Road makes it easy to drive to the South Coast as well as to London.

  • From Esher, the rail journey to London takes just 30 minutes
  • From Guildford, the rail journey to London takes around 35 minutes
  • From Cobham & Stoke d’Abernon station, trains to London take 40 minutes
  • From Reigate to London, the average rail journey time Is 51 minutes
  • From Godalming: the rail journey to London takes approximately 54 minutes
  • Leatherhead to London by rail takes less than an hour.

Best retirement homes in Surrey 

Take a look at Beechcroft’s beautiful retirement development in the heart of Surrey:

Fonthill Place, Reigate

Fonthill Place, Reigate

Set in secluded walled gardens close to the heart of Reigate, with everything this vibrant market town has to offer on the doorstep, Fonthill Place brings to life a grand Victorian residence and coach house, where timeless architectural elegance meets stunning contemporary interiors.

Space, light and luxury abound in this collection of 10 thoughtfully converted, beautifully proportioned two-bedroom, two-bedroom with study and four-bedroom apartments.

View the development

Fonthill Place

Reigate, Surrey, RH2 0QN

Anticipated launch January 2025

Latest articles

Get regular updates from us

We’ll email you details of the latest properties, exclusive events and real life stories straight into your inbox.