With so much beautiful countryside in Surrey you will never be stuck for fantastic outdoor places to take your kids. Getting outside is especially important now when we’ve all be stuck inside for so long. Luckily, with so many parks, woodlands, and commons it’s easy to find places in Surrey to walk, play and enjoy nature and the great outdoors.
Here’s a round-up of 7 fantastic outdoor places in Surrey to take your kids. So, wrap up warm and head outside to enjoy some of Surrey’s most natural playgrounds.
Painshill Park is a magnificent 18th century landscape garden in Cobham, Surrey. The beautiful garden’s design includes several rather unique follies which the kids will love exploring.
Look out for the Temple of Bacchus, the Gothic Tower, and Gothic Temple. If you venture into the woods, you’ll find the Hidden Hermitage. This rustic hut was briefly home to a hermit, who after just 3 weeks fled to the nearest pub.
Although Painshill Park has some of the prettiest gardens in Surrey, the highlight of our visit for the kids was a visit to the Crystal Grotto. The sparkly cavern, complete with glistening stalactites has a magical feel that kids just love.
Click here for more details on Painshill Park.
Leith Hill is an impressive hill in the Surrey Hills. In fact, it is the highest of all the Surrey Hills and is the second highest point in southeast England. Standing majestically atop the hill is Leith Hill Tower, an 18th Century Gothic tower. The National Trust now own the Tower and for a small admission fee, you can climb to the top (free for members).
As you’d expect from the lofty position, Leith Hill offers sweeping views reaching as far as London.
Leith Hill is a popular destination for nature walks in Surrey. The tower is an easy climb from the car park, but there are some more challenging walking trails if you want. If not, this splendid, wooded hill offers kids plenty of trees to play amongst. It is also one of the best picnic spots in Surrey, with spectacular views whilst you eat your lunch.
Click here for more family walks in the Surrey Hills.
Just west of Leatherhead, Bookham Commons is another of the great outdoor places in Surrey to take kids. In fact, there are three commons, Great Bookham, Little Bookham and Banks Common, which are all now managed by the National Trust.
These commons are so old they were even mentioned in the Doomsday Book. However, in modern times, Bookham Commons offers visitors a large natural outdoor space, which is ideal for exploring with children. Within this varied landscape, you’ll discover open grassland plains, ancient woodlands, and wetlands.
This variety of habitat means Bookham Commons attracts a lot of wildlife and has been designated a site of specific scientific interest. It is a perfect location for bug hunting or butterfly spotting. Or you could try your hand at bird watching at the Bookham Common Bird Hide. However, I was more excited to find llamas living in a field on the commons.
If you want to see the whole common, try the Bookham Commons family trail, which follows a circular route round the perimeter. This will take about two hours, depending on how often you stop. As well has tree climbing and den-building, there is a natural play area near the Isle of Wight Pond on Bookham Common.
We always walk to the common, as my sister lives nearby, and it has become a favourite Boxing Day walk. However, if you are not so local, there is a choice of 4 car parks. You can also find an entrance within walking distance of Bookham Railway Station, which connects to London Waterloo.
Alice Holt Forest
Probably our favourite Surrey attraction for children is Alice Holt Forest near Farnham. Originally an ancient hunting forest, this Forestry Commission managed park is now one of the best outdoor places in Surrey for kids.
You’ll find heaps of things to do with kids at Alice Holt and it’s a great venue for an outdoor adventure day. If you follow one of the waymarked nature trails into the woods, you’ll come across large wooden play structures or the Gruffalo and his friends. Plus, near the Visitor Centre is a large natural playground and a cycle hub, where you can hire bikes.
Honestly, Alice Holt has oodles of natural outdoor play space and is one of the best places in Surrey to visit with kids.
Click for more details on a visit to Alice Holt Forest.
Frimley Lodge Park
Another of the best free things to do in Surrey with kids is visit Frimley Lodge Park.
Frimley Lodge Park is a large recreational park on the outskirts of Frimley Green. It gets a mention as it has so much to offer young and old visitors alike. Younger visitors will love the brand-new playground, with castles, a sandpit and zip wires. You’ll also find several playing fields and a pitch and putt golf.
If you go on the first Sunday of the month you can take a ride through the woods on Frimley Lodge’s miniature steam train.
Or, if you fancy a walk there are several short woodland trails or you could take a longer walk along the stunning Basingstoke Canal. One direction will take you to Brookwood and the other way leads to Ash.
The Basingstoke Canal Centre is only short distance from Frimley Lodge Park and from here you can hire canoes and pedalos for some fun on the water.
Virginia Water Lake
Virginia Water Lake is one of the most popular outdoor places for kids in Surrey. It’s not surprising, as the landscape is stunning and there’s plenty to look at.
Virginia Waters is part of the Windsor Great Park estate. However, it is one of the most scenic places in Surrey and is always a favourite day out. In summer, the bushes are bursting with colour, as the rhododendrons and azaleas come into bloom.
Whilst there you have the choice of walking fully or partly round the beautiful lake, which is approximately 4.5 miles. If you do the full circuit, you can enjoy the cascade, some Roman ruins, and an impressive totem pole. Alternatively, you might prefer to head for the Valley Gardens, a large botanical garden spread over an amphitheatre-style valley.
Lastly, there’s a small play park for younger children and plenty of trees to climb and hide in. In front of the park is Obelisk Lawn, a grassy open area which makes it a perfect picnic spot.
Click for more details on Virginia Water Lake.
Spread over 1620 acres of heathland, Chobham Common is the largest National Nature Reserve in south east England. The landscape is predominantly heather and gorse, but there are plenty of other trees and flowers to see too.
Chobham Common was a childhood haunt of mine, and now a popular day out with the kids. There’s plenty of open space to run around and lots of wildlife to spot. Most of the paths are sandy, but it can get very wet in winter, so take your wellies.
With 6 different car parks, there’s lots of choice of walks at Chobham Common, but we generally start at one of the car parks on Staple Hill.
RHS Garden Wisley
Wisley Gardens is one of the UK’s finest gardens. And although Wisley is a dream destination for horticulturalists, it also has a lot to offer younger visitors.
The gardens at Wisley are laid out by themes, so there’s plenty of interest to explore. Some of the favourites for children are the lavender hill, the orchard, and the Bonsai Walk.
However, the highlight for children at RHS Wisley is always the Glasshouse, where they can discover exotic species from far-flung places. This beautiful warm greenhouse has waterfalls and ponds, with tropical plants and dry desert like areas, where only cacti can survive.
And when the kids have had enough of plants, you can visit the Nature Garden, the new and improved natural play area.
A map of 7 fantastic outdoor places in Surrey to take kids
Below is a map of 7 fantastic outdoor places in Surrey to take kids with the kids.
You can save the map to use when you are there by clicking on the star to the right of the title.
Find the map later by going to your Google Maps app and selecting the saved icon.
Where are your favourite outdoor places in Surrey? We’d love to hear your comments below.
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