7 villages you might not have heard of in Surrey
- Credit: Eve Smallman
These spots may be hidden gems, but they have plenty of fascinating historic links, nature spots to walk around, and great places to eat and drink…
The idyllic village of Nutfield is just a short drive from Redhill and Reigate. The St Peter and St Paul’s Church was built in the 13th century and houses two stained glass windows by Edward Burne-Jones, as well as a large tower. Priory Farm has a sprawling outdoor space perfect for taking little ones to, as well as a garden centre and café for cosy catch ups. If you’re in need of serious relaxation, take a trip to the Grade II listed four-star Nutfield Priory hotel and spa. It also has a railway station with easy access to London.
With medieval origins, Bletchingley has plenty of attractive historical features. The village is well known for its many specialist antique stores – one of them, Laurences of Bletchingley, sold a collection of pocket watches for £145,000 in 2020. Other old roots include the fact King Henry the Eighth’s fourth wife Anne of Cleves lived in Bletchingley House after her divorce. Located just off Outwood Lane, the tucked away Hevers Pond has plenty of biodiversity. And the quaint Lamington tea rooms is a delightful spot for catching up with friends with a slice of their decadent cakes.
Nestled in the Surrey Hills of Outstanding Beauty, Elstead’s shops and houses span the River Wey. Its location by the river allowed it to have a thriving woollen industry before the 20th century. St James Church proudly stands there, and has done since the 13th century. Rustic pub The Mill is situated where the old water mill was, and serves all your favourite dishes, as well as five different options for roasts on Sundays. The surrounding Commons are popular for walks, and are also used for military training areas. And Thundry Meadows is a more tranquil location, perfect for romantic strolls.
This quintessential village is pretty and characterful with its green at the centre, and the River Mole running throughout its western side, making it even more picturesque. The green hosts an annual Victorian weekend in the summer. Near the river lay the ruins of Betchworth Castle, well-known in the county for its huge bonfire displays,, which date back to the 1800s. The Grumpy Mole is a great local pub, with lots of places to sit for al fresco drinks.
Situated just a few miles east of Reigate, Godstone is a charming village with roots going back to Anglo-Saxon times. For a gorgeous scenic open water swim, head to Divers Cove. It’s surrounded by shrubbery and you get a wonderful view of the village too. The Green Rooms is a lovely café for relaxing – try the ‘Eggs Ben’, topped with crispy bacon and black pudding. Godstone is also home to the grave of pirate John Edward Trenchman, who reportedly haunted the village when he died until they gave him a proper burial and gravestone.
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Full of grandeur and grace, Worpleston is a fine village near Guildford. It is well connected to surrounding places like Fairlands and Rydeshill with footpaths, making it an ideal location for walking. At the heart of the village is the mixed landscape of the Whitmoor Common. The Grade I St Mary’s Church has a wealth of stunning architectural details that make it truly worthy of a visit. In terms of famous people, in the 20th century the fantasy and satirical illustrator Sidney Sime lived there, as well as British explorer and conservationist Fredrick Selous.
Located on the North Downs, Kingswood is popular among commuters. Its arguably most iconic building is the gothic Kingswood Warren, which was owned by local MP Thomas Alcock in the 19th century, and housed the BBC’s research and development department until 2010. Thomas Alcock also funded the building of St Andrew’s Church, which has Norman architecture and a large steeple that can be seen for miles. For food lovers, the village has the exquisite No. 12 restaurant, which serves beautifully presented dishes and has a large terrace.