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5 Historic places to visit in Surrey in 2018

1. Painshill Park

Location: Portsmouth Rd, Cobham KT11 1JE

The Alice in wonderland in Surrey!

Painshill 18th century landscape garden was created between 1738 and 1773, by the Hon. Charles Hamilton.

Born in Dublin in 1704, Hamilton, the ninth son and 14th child of the Sixth Earl of Abercorn, embarked on two Grand Tours across Europe before acquiring the land at Painshill. With ancient artefacts in his luggage and Italian romance and natural beauty in his head – along with exotic plants seen on his tours – his vision was to create ‘living paintings’ in a new style of magical garden.

Inspired by Renaissance art and his Grand Tours, Hamilton went on to create a sequence of breathtaking and surprising vistas at Painshill. The landscapes form living works of art into which Hamilton placed follies for dramatic effect.

Once considered to be among the most beautiful and intriguing landscape gardens in Europe,

the park is a cultural melting pot of architecture and horticulture, designed to lead visitors by sight alone from one folly to the next, each framed with awe-inspiring precision.

The next pieces in the Painshill puzzle will be the impressive Temple of Bacchus a columned structure drawing inspiration from Ancient Rome and the Five Arch Bridge.

The genius of Painshill Park is all in the design of its creator. The mood changes as you move from the Chinese bridge peninsular with its colourful plantings to the seemingly rocky outcrop of the Grotto and on to the yew trees down to the Mausoleum.

Situated on an island, the grotto is an unusual folly. Visitors can wander through a tunnel covered in crystal stalactites into a large cavern with rock pools.

Painshill produces its own wine from its on site vineyards. From this, they produce their own Painshill Wine, which is available in the shop.

Find out more about Painshill Park >

2. The Undercroft

Location: 72-74 High St, Guildford GU1 3HE


Dating from the end of the 13th century, this stone vaulted semi-basement is thought to have been a merchant’s shop,selling wine or expensive cloths or silk.

Undercrofts like this are a feature of towns engaged in the import and export trade, and the merchant who built this Undercroft must have expected to deal with prosperous clients who sought luxury goods.

There are traces of perhaps half a dozen Undercrofts in Guildford at the time that this one was built. They were very expensive and only a rich merchant could afford the masonry work, indicating that Guildford was very wealthy throughout the middle ages.

Undercrofts like these were mostly built in the 1200s and the early 1300s. They were used as shops: the extensive stonework and the carvings were intended for display and not merely as an embellishment to a cellar or storeroom.

Access to the Undercroft is down a narrow flight of stone steps to the entrance, then further steps down within the historic interior.

Please do contact Guildford Museum staff in advance of your visit so we can assist you. An induction loop is available at the information desks

Find out more about the Undercroft >

3. The Deepdene Trail

Location: Deepdene Ave, Dorking RH4 1SR

The Deepdene Trail is a brand new walking trail, just a 15 minute stroll from Dorking’s town centre and railway stations.

Visitors are able to enjoy free access to one of the country’s most historically significant gardens – privately owned since their creation in the 17th Century. Guided by a new mobile App that reveals glimpses of the landscape as it was in the early 1800’s, the story of the picturesque, Regency landscape and its owners is presented for all ages to enjoy.

Visitors can uncover the many fascinating stories and grand physical features of the Deepdene Estate on The Trail.

Discover Deepdene’s connection to the famous cursed Hope Diamond, the tragic reason behind the Hope family Mausoleum and how this unique landscape has changed over time.

come and explore!

Find out more about Deepdene trail >

4. Waverley Abbey

Location: Waverley Ln, Farnham GU9 0JA


Waverley Abbey in Surrey was the very first monastery founded in Britain by the reforming Cistercian religious order. A small group of monks from France settled in this quiet spot by the River Wey in 1128, and Waverley soon became the springboard for Cistercian settlement in southern England. The impressive remains include the fine 13th century vaulted refectory or dining hall for the lay brothers, the Cistercians’ labour force.

The monastery at Waverley, the first Cistercian house to be established in Britain, was founded by William Gifford, Bishop of Winchester, in 1128. It was colonised with 12 monks and an abbot from Aumone in France. By 1187 there were 70 monks and 120 lay brothers in residence.

In 1201 the abbey buildings were badly flooded. This became a common occurrence and as a result the abbey was substantially rebuilt during the 13th century.

It continued to grow in the 14th century. The monks and lay brothers farmed the surrounding land, were active in the Cistercian wool trade and provided shelter for pilgrims and travellers and an infirmary for the sick.

In 1536, with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the site passed to Sir William Fitzherbert, treasurer of the king’s household. Much of the abbey was dismantled and some of the stone was reused to build Sir William More’s house at Loseley, a few miles to the east.

In more recent times, the abbey has been used as a backdrop to the films Elizabeth (1998) and Disney’s Into the Woods (2014

Dogs on leads are welcome.

Find out more about Waverly Abbey >


5. Hampton Court Palace

Location: Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU

How could we make a list without mentioning HCP…

The original Tudor palace was begun by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century, but it soon attracted the attention of Henry VIII, who brought all his six wives here. Surrounded by gorgeous gardens and famous features such as the Maze and the Great Vine, the palace has been the setting for many nationally important events.

By the 1530s, Henry VIII’s Hampton Court was a palace, a hotel, a theatre and a vast leisure complex.

The King used it to demonstrate magnificence and power in every possible way, through lavish banquets, extravagant court life and fabulously expensive art.

Hampton court today.

The palace is still a magnet for visitors from all over the world. One of the newest attractions for families is the Tudor-inspired Magic Garden, which was opened in 2016 by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Two famous annual festivals – the Hampton Court music festival and the RHS Flower Show – stay true to Henry VIII’s ‘pleasure palace’ principle.

And the superb art collection – a permanent, rotating display of some of the Royal Collections finest works, continues to delight.

Find out more about Hampton Court >

Published on: 15th May 2018  -  Filed under: Uncategorized