I’m so grateful to live in Surrey – there are so many wonderful spots to explore right on your doorstep. When the summer hits it’s amazing to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, but there’s no need for it to cost lots of money – there are so many great places which cost nothing (or very little) to enjoy.
Stoke Park Paddling Pool, Guildford
When the heat ramps up there’s no better place than a paddling pool, and the one at Stoke Park in Guildford is great – lovely and clean, and newly refurbished last year. Perfect for toddlers, as there are no deep bits at all, and with a good area around it for parents to sit and chill out. Arrive early for a spot in the shade though – it does get very busy! I’ve also found parking can be difficult, but always managed it in the end.
Address: Stoke Park, Guildford Surrey, GU1 1ER
Mayfield Lavender Farm, Banstead
We visited Mayfield Lavender Farm at the height of the lavender season last summer and it was spectacular. The smell was heavenly, and the rows of purple just stretched out as far as the eye could see. You can read more about our visit here.
Address: 1 Carshalton Rd, Banstead SM7 3JA
Cost: £1 entry per person.
The Gruffalo Trail at Alice Holt
We love a Gruffalo Trail! We usually do them in the winter for some reason, but the Forestry Commission have created a wonderful interactive app which brings the trail to life via your smartphone or tablet, so I’m really tempted to make a visit this summer with a picnic to enjoy.
Address: Alice Holt Forest, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 4LS
Cost: free admission, pay for parking.
The Medicine Garden, Chobham
The Medicine Garden is such a hidden gem – although less and less hidden as word spreads! It’s a beautiful spot, just outside Cobham, with a large courtyard garden, where as soon as you walk through the walls you feel instantly calmed. The planting is really beautiful and has something of interest throughout the year, and is a great spot for a toddler to explore. There are numerous options for eating – the Hothouse Cafe is a bit more formal, while the Garden Pod Cafe with it’s little airstream offers more relaxed outside seating. There is a play area which is more suited to to older children (4+ I would say), but has a sand pit for younger children to play in too.
Address: Downside Rd, Cobham KT11 3LU
Cost: free entry, however no picnics are allowed – any food needs to be purchased from the cafes on site.
The Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park
This was a recent discovery for me, after seeing it crop up on my Instagram feed so much this spring. It’s a real find – set in the middle of Richmond Park, it’s a little oasis of calm and shade amongst the exposed yellowed grass that typifies Richmond Park to me. It has lots of winding paths, perfect for children to explore, and Max loved darting about, running ahead to carve out the best route. You can read more about our recent trip here. It’s worth noting that there is no cafe, so bring your own picnic (and save even more money!)
Address: Richmond Park, Kingston upon Thames KT2 7NA
Cost: free entry, free parking
Splash Park at Priory Park, Reigate
The splash park at Priory Park was reopened last year and is still looking lovely and new. Much more of a splash park than the paddling pool at Stoke Park, it has fountains at different heights spraying water, as well as a great playground with pirate ship. We love this one!
Address: Bell St, Reigate RH2 7RL
The Woodland Gardens at Bushy Park
Like the Isabella Plantation, The Woodland Gardens is set within The Royal Parks, so entry and parking are free. And just like the Isabella Plantation, it’s another little gem, set amongst the deer park and grassland of Bushy Park. It’s a great spot for children to explore – lots of ducks to chase, bridges to play pooh-sticks on, and has lots of trees to give that welcome bit of shade. Lots of grassland to set up a spot for a picnic, but they also have a lovely cafe where I highly recommend trying the chocolate brownie – best brownie of my life!
Address: Bushy Park, Hampton Ct Rd, Hampton, Teddington TW12 2EJ
Cost: free entry, free parking
Crockford Bridge Farm – Pick Your Own
I love a PYO – it brings back memories of childhood for me, especially strawberry picking! Crockford Bridge Farm have a huge plot, with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables available for PYO, but in my view you can’t beat strawberries! The best bit about Crockford Bridge Farm though is the Ice Cream Parlour which is perfectly situated to treat yourself to a well earned ice cream after working hard to pick your fruit in the fields. Oh, and a children’s play area too!
Address: New Haw Road, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 2BU
Cost: free entry, obviously you need to pay for the fruit you pick!
Mizens Railway, Woking
I’ve not come across a toddler yet who doesn’t love a miniature railway! Mizens is a great one, because it runs every Sunday throughout the summer months and offers a choice of two different routes – a shorter one, and a longer one of about a mile long. At £4 to ride both routes, it’s not going to break the bank, and is a lovely afternoon out!
Address: Barrs Lane, Knaphill, near Woking, Surrey, GU21 2JW
Cost: £4 per person for both rides
The Muslim Peace Garden, Horsell Common
Perhaps this doesn’t spring to mind as the ideal place for children, but I’ve taken Max here on a few occasions and it’s always been lovely. The definition of an undiscovered gem, I’ve never come across anyone else on our visits here, and it’s a lovely quiet spot to just sit and relax. Max is a toddler who loves to follow a path, and he always has a great time running around here, while I get to sit and contemplate the world. One for a day when you just want a bit of quiet time!
Address: Monument Rd, Woking GU21 5LU
Cost: free admission, free parking
Are there any other Surrey gems I’ve missed? Do let me know – I’m always on the lookout for new places to explore!