Escape to the Country for a Summertime Surrey Hills Staycation
This summer is set to be all about the staycation. With vaccine levels increasing and restrictions loosening, many of us will be looking to escape into the countryside – and where better to head than the Surrey Hills…
Recently named the best place to live in the Southeast by The Sunday Times, this sublime stretch of enviable countryside, just an hour from London, extends across the chalk North Downs from Farnham in the west to Oxted in the east. The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is famed for its quintessentially English villages, bustling market towns, rolling hills, inspirational views and innovative independent artisan businesses.
Choose from a myriad of places to stay and a wealth of experiences providing the chance to reconnect with family, friends and the environment, whilst supporting the local economy and reducing carbon foot print. Surrey Hills Enterprises, the support network for independent local businesses, selects some of the very best for a Surrey Hills’ staycation, all of which hold the TradeMark Surrey Hills – a Mark of quality, local provenance, and sustainability. By choosing any one of these, visitors are guaranteed an outstanding experience, knowing that quality and sustainability are at the core of their business.
Where to stay
Denbies Vineyard Hotel in Dorking, is offering a relaxing one or two-night Summer Break package between June and October, for those looking to stay at the heart of England’s largest vineyard – Denbies Wine Estate. Voted as one of Britain’s Top 100 Hotels by The Times, stay in one of 17 sumptuous bedrooms, with king-sized beds as standard, elegance and comfort in equal measure and a truly spectacular vineyard setting. A full English breakfast and a two-course dinner in the Vineyard Restaurant is included, as well as a Wine Tour and Tasting and a bottle of Denbies Sparkling Wine in the room upon arrival.
A one-night break is priced from £240 (two sharing), or from £195 for single occupancy. A two-night break is priced from £425 (two sharing), or £345 for single occupancy. To book, contact: hotel@
The four-star Guildford mansion hotel, Barnett Hill, is offering a range of self-contained overnight escapes until 17th May – with savings of up to 50%. Stay in the Courtyard (home to ‘The Paddocks’, a series of rooms sleeping four to 10, with private entrances) or the Gardener’s Cottage (a four-bedroom, four-bathroom pet-friendly private residence with woodland and garden views, sleeping eight). Enjoy daily breakfast hampers, al fresco terrace lunches and drop-off daily supper specials. Swap the familiar four walls for drench showers, tubs for two and Hypnos mattresses.
Stay in one of Barnett Hill’s self-contained rooms for two nights and save 30% off the usual nightly rate (starting at £115.50 per room per night). Savings increase the longer you stay, with up to 50% off for a seven-night holiday (from £82.50 per room per night). To book, call 01342 859702.
Holly Cottage is a luxurious self-catering property set on Coverwood Farm in the pretty village of Ewhurst. A lovingly-renovated former cowman’s cottage, providing a touch of country tranquillity with modern styling, Holly Cottage offers three bedrooms (sleeps six) in comfortable accommodation that includes underfloor heating, a log burning fire and a private enclosed garden. Situated within rolling fields and outstanding Surrey Hills’ countryside, this is the ideal spot for a relaxing staycation.
A laid-back stay at Holly Cottage is priced from £230 per night (based on six sharing), including a welcome hamper. To book, visit www.
The historic White Horse Hotel is centrally-located in the market town of Dorking, at the heart of the Surrey Hills AONB. With the hotel having once played host to Charles Dickens, who took up residence whilst writing the Pickwick Papers in the mid-19th century, history abounds throughout the main hotel and the adjacent Pickwick and Stable Blocks. The White Horse Hotel is offering a two-night Walking Break this summer for those keen to explore the surrounding countryside.
Priced from £72 per person per night, the Walking Break features two nights’ accommodation in a comfy double room, with a hearty breakfast each morning, a selection of walking maps for the best local routes, a packed lunch to take on the trails and a £75 dinner voucher to spend over the two nights. To book, visit: https://www.whitehorsedorking.
This summer, The Adventure Zone, is offering Family Glamping Staycations for active families looking to make memories in the great outdoors. Stay in a tepee in peaceful woodland at High Ashurst near Dorking or an authentic Mongolian yurt overlooking Guildford’s iconic Cathedral at Henley Fort, and get involved in a host of adventurous activities as a family. Try archery or canoeing, climbing, abseiling, or a ropes course, mountain biking or learn new woodland and survival skills, whilst connecting with nature.
The two-night staycation includes accommodation, all activities and all freshly-cooked meals, as well as a welcome pack with site information, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, biscuits, torch (to borrow), sanitizer, hand towels, and marshmallows for fireside toasting. Priced at £190 per adult, £160 per child (aged 5-17 years) and £60 per child (aged under 5), to book visit: https://www.
Waggoners Campsite at Hampton Estate is a family-friendly, off-grid campsite, with a focus on space, seclusion and escapism. Open as a pop-up from 6th to 12th July and 14thJuly to 31st August, the campsite is ideally located for those wanting to adventure in the countryside. There is direct access to the North Downs Way for eager explorers, and the Surrey cycle network passes close by, perfect for those wanting to discover the AONB’s hidden gems on two wheels. The Estate provides a special rural Surrey Hills experience, with home-grown produce on offer, BBQ pits to rent and wild woodland showers and compostable toilets adding to the environmentally sustainable nature of this escape.
Pitches are available for 6 people. Priced from £15 per adult (aged 14+) per night, £10 per child (aged 2-13) per night and free for under 2s. For more information, visitwww.hamptonestate.co.uk/
What to do
Surrey Hills Artisan Trail A free self-guided trail taking you on a journey around the Surrey Hills, offering opportunities to meet Artisans, taste local food and drink, and experience traditional artisan craft skills. Activities include vineyard and gin distillery tours, cookery masterclasses, farm visits, coffee tasting and roasting, leather craft workshops, woodwork demonstrations and outdoor cookery experiences.
Hedges and Hurdles Have a go at traditional country crafts – perfect for connecting with the natural environment, learning traditional skills and creating precious memories. Activities such as Willow Weaving Courses and Wood Craft Workshops are held in the great outdoors at a variety of Surrey Hills’ settings, Visit: www.hedgesandhurdles.com.
We Fly Fish Fly Fishing Experience Days, for all levels from beginners upwards. The tranquillity of the fisheries and the thrill of the chase are a unique combination, whether for trout, carp or pike, and We Fly Fish lessons are led by expert fly fishers, qualified to coach at all levels of experience. Immerse in nature, disconnect from the digital deluge and enjoy the serenity and excitement that the sport provides. A four-hour Fly Fishing Introduction is priced at £170 for one angler, with additional people priced at £70 pp. Visit:www.weflyfish.co.uk.
The Surrey Hills Adventure Company (SHAC) Re-engage with the great outdoors through activities that teach how to best connect with nature whilst enjoying the associated health benefits. The company has five locations across the Surrey Hills which offer a range of activities, both on and off the water including Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) lessons and Open Water Swimming. A great way to engage with nature on the water, spotting wildlife, having fun and improving fitness, the activities are suitable for both the experienced and beginners alike. Visit: www.theshac.co.uk.
To plan the perfect Surrey Hills staycation, visit: https://www.surreyhills.org/