Step out of your luxury hotel in Surrey and you’ll be walking in the wake of royalty. Pay a visit to Runnymede – the Thames-side gardens where King John signed the Magna Carta. Picnic on the riverbank, then search out the ancient Yew tree where Henry VIII is said to have wooed Anne Boleyn. Then follow these ill-fated lovers all the way to Hampton Court Palace. This county has chronicled some of the most prestigious chapters in British history. And with classic English landscapes all around, the scene is set for a sublime stay in the country.
A regal county of palaces, picture-perfect gardens and princely tales.
Things to do
Trace the trials and tribulations of the Tudors on a day out at Hampton Court Palace. Stand in the medieval, tapestry-lined Great Hall, pop into the vast kitchens for a taste of courtly banquets, then enjoy a privileged peek at some of the paintings in the Royal Collection. When you’ve finished wandering the great corridors, why not try and escape the infamous maze?
Surrey’s sporting legacy is just as impressive as its royal heritage. Start with some superb batting and bowling at the Oval – home to Surrey County Cricket Club. Then tackle the same courses that legends Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros have played at the exclusive Wentworth Golf Club, rounded off with an evening of fine dining in the restaurant. Finish with a day at the races at Epsom – perfect as part of long weekend in the country.
Once the site of stately pageants, Virginia Water Lake is now a serene spot for a stroll. There’s an 18th-century miniature waterfall, ‘Roman’ temple from the 1800s, and even a 21st-century totem pole to discover – not to mention ancient woodland to delve into. Or swap this Royal Landscape Garden for a regal hunting ground and head to Nonsuch Park.
Round off a right royal stay in Surrey and seek out Maid of Honour cakes. These dainty local delicacies date from the 16th century and were so prized by Henry VIII that he kept the recipe a closely guarded secret.
Top Tip from SLH