Surrey is one of the UK’s home counties and a patchwork quilt made up of the North Downs, villages and towns and some of the prettiest countryside in the UK. A stone’s throw from London, this leafy green county is grand yet inviting and warm. I often go into Guildford and Farnham with their great shops and abundance of choice when it comes to places to stop and eat. I love meandering through the stone-cobbled streets, window shopping and enjoying the mix of old and new architecture that makes up their high streets.
There is much more than shopping and eating to enjoy while in Surrey, however. I’ve been looking at some ideas for the coming months and the school summer holidays will be upon us in no time – already we have several house guests booked in. I am definitely in the “best to be prepared” camp when it comes to having an idea of things to do and places to visit.
My first stop provides an exciting experience for all the family. Brand new and officially opened on Thursday 22 May is Wild Wood Adventure situated in Peacock Wood, Stoke Park in the heart of Guildford. Wild Wood is the epitome of treetop adventure courses, with over 60 elements for your little or big monkeys to enjoy.
Steve Lane, Director at Wild Wood confirmed this: “Wild Wood is the biggest treetop adventure in the UK. We have designed the courses for all abilities and ages, and you are guaranteed adrenaline-fuelled fun high in the trees with zips, wobbly bridges and all kinds of challenges. See you soon!”
The opening was great fun, with Surrey Mayor Bob Paton whizzing along one of the zip-wires at Wild Wood and Surrey TV presenting news stories from a wobbly bridge, making front page news in the Surrey Times. Book your tickets now and head off to Guildford to be one of the first to enjoy a treetop adventure at Wild Wood.
From the exhilarating heights of Wild Wood to something a little different – but nonetheless breathtaking. You may think a vineyard is more suited to an adult-only day out, but you’d be wrong when considering Denbies Wine Estate, the largest vineyard in England. Set in the heart of the Surrey Hills overlooking Box Hill, with 250 acres of vines peeling off into the distance, I can only describe Denbies as breathtaking. There is much to explore and experience from a day of visiting: seven miles of public footpaths; tours of the vineyard itself; and a train which young and old will enjoy, making its way around parts of the estate. If that’s not enough, over the coming months there will be plenty of events to attend and take part in.
Wednesday’s are special at Denbies; in conjunction with the Rainbow Trust Children’s charity, there will be a variety of fun events and craft activity sessions taking place throughout the summer, starting on 30 July and running until the end of August. From Tropical Forest Road Shows and Teddy Bear Discos, to flight displays from Henfolds Birds of Prey, simply see Denbies’ website for more details.
Two other noteworthy events are the annual BBQ and wine-tasting evening taking place on 21 August, a perfect way to spend a summer’s evening with a few friends. Of course, the Bacchus Marathon and Half Marathon take place on Sunday 14 September, with the latter voted the second-best Half Marathon by Runner’s World. It’s not only fun for those taking part, but spectators can expect a great day out too: there’s fancy dress, a post-race BBQ and wine stations at this fun-packed event. I could keep talking about Denbies – but it’s best to experience these things firsthand!
Moving on then, get closer to nature with the British Wildlife Centre, situated in the heart of the Surrey Countryside. This is a great day out, providing a dose of natural history that’s sure to be truly captivating; it has the finest collection of native species in the country, with over 40 different kinds. From tiny harvest mice to magnificent red deer, and rarer species such as Scottish wildcats and otters, it’ll excite the minds of you and your little ones. The Centre works really hard to inspire the younger generation, educating them on the wonders of our native species and the importance of protecting them for the future.
One of the highlights of your visit will most definitely be the walk-through red squirrel enclosure; walking amongst the red squirrels in their own wooded copse is, I think, an honour. The Keeper Talks have proved very popular with visitors too, giving them the chance to learn more about the squirrels and the challenges they face.
The British Wildlife Centre is open throughout the school holidays, weekends and bank holidays, and really is a very interesting day out. It’s informative not just for the children, but for the accompanying adults too.
So to make the most of a summer weekend, or a mid-week break here in the south of the UK, why not book a house or a cottage in this fair county and explore all that Surrey has to offer?