Surrey is a county found just below London in the South-East of England. It is an exceptionally beautiful county, with lots of woodland and open natural spaces. Surrey has a huge variety of family attractions. Whether it’s historic houses, splendid gardens, theme parks, museums or animal attractions you’re looking for, you’ll be spoilt for choice when planning your family day out in Surrey. Having lived here for most of my life, I am very biased, but wanted to share some of the best things to do in Surrey with kids.
In this guide to my home county I will share some of the fantastic family-friendly places to visit and help you discover the highlights of Surrey.
Outdoor fun in Surrey
Alice Holt Forest
Surrey has many natural, outdoor spaces, including the North Downs and the Surrey Hills, which all provide a wide choice of outdoor places for kids to visit.
A visit to Alice Holt is definitely one of our top outdoor things to do in Surrey with kids. This royal forest is located about 4 miles from Farnham, Surrey and is a paradise for outdoor fun.
Alice Holt has 4 way-marked trails you can follow, one of which has wooden play structures and Gruffalo sculptures along the way, so is great fun for kids. There are also 2 cycle paths and a Go Ape centre, for those who prefer the fun in the trees.
After trying the the adventure trails, kids will love the fabulous adventure playground with its wooden pirate ship. There are plenty of picnic areas, or a café if you prefer.
What’s even better, admission to Alice Holt is free, apart from parking.
Wild Wood Adventure
Wild Wood Adventure is a tree-top adventure course in Stoke Park, Guildford. Children from the age of 6 can have fun orienteering themselves around the obstacles in the trees. They will have to cross bridges, climb cargo nets and fly through the sky on a zip wire.
Virginia Water Lake
Virginia Water Lake is on the southern edge of Great Windsor Park. It is about 4.5 miles to walk round the lake, but there is lot to spot on the way, including some Roman ruins and a totem pole. There are plenty of trees for climbing and hiding in and lots of wildlife to spot.
You can also walk from the totem pole to Savill Garden, a beautiful landscaped garden, stopping on the way at the small playground.
Frimley Lodge Park
Frimley Lodge Park is a large recreational site on the outskirts of Frimley. It borders the Basingstoke Canal and offers a great open space where kids can run around and play ball games.
Frimley Lodge has facilities for all the family, including 2 playgrounds, one of which has just had a major refurbishment. Other attractions include the pitch and putt, a trim trail and plenty of areas for picnics and barbeques.
One of the highlights for younger children is a ride on the steam railway. The miniature railway runs on the first Sunday of every month and at special events, you can even take your teddy!
Another place where you can take children for a ride on a miniature railway is at Mizens Railway in Woking. It’s open to the public on Sunday afternoons and there’s choice of 2 routes.
Formerly King Henry VIII’s hunting ground, Bushy Park is now a fantastic place to take kids. This royal park is on the opposite side of the road to Hampton Court Palace in Molesey. It covers 1090 acres, so there is loads of space to play, run around and picnic.
As well as a large playground, with a giant sandpit, Bushy Park is home to some decorative woodland gardens. It also has the beautiful Princess Diana Fountain. There’s plenty of nature and wildlife at Bushy Park. Children will especially enjoy spotting the deer, which roam wildly here.
In our opinion, a visit to Bushy Park is one of the best things to do in Surrey with kids for free.
Mr Mulligan's Pirate Golf
Well, me-hearties, why not try some mini-golf at Mr Mulligan’s Pirate Golf in Hoebridge, Woking? Children can enjoy lots of pirate adventures at this 18-hole mini golf centre.
The whole course is pirate-themed and there’s even a raft to pull yourself across the water. Expect to lose some balls, as there are lots of water features!
Another great place for spotting herds of wild-roaming deer is Richmond Park. King Charles I created this royal park in the 17th Century as a deer park. It is now a national nature reserve and an important site for wildlife conservation.
As well as deer spotting, there is plenty of space to picnic or run around and trees to climb. There is also a small playground.
The Surrey Hills is an area of outstanding natural beauty and covers some of the most spectacular countryside in South-East England. Probably the most famous of the hills, is Box Hill, near Dorking. We have been here many times and it is probably one of the best outdoor things to do in Surrey with kids.
You can take a steep walk up the hill or drive to the top and park near the viewpoint. From here you will have stunning views of the North Downs. However, children will probably be more interested in the fun nature trail through the woods.
Surrey Hills Llamas
Llama trekking in the Surrey Hills is one of the more unique things to do in Surrey with kids. But what could be better than a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Surrey Hills with these magnificent creatures?
You get to lead your own llama, but don’t expect to walk too fast, as the llamas like to take frequent stops for food. It’s not only the llamas who get to break for food, as visitors stop for a picnic too.
If you climb to the top of Leith Hill, you will be at the second highest point in south-east England and will be able to see for miles around, even as far as London. It’s easy to park at the bottom and take a short walk up the wooded hill.
At the summit, you will find Leith Hill Tower, which is a National Trust Property. It is worth climbing the hill, just for the homemade cakes at the Leith Hill Tower servery. For a small fee, you can climb even further to the top of the gothic tower. From here, you can get breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Fun in the water
On a warm day, a trip to Frensham Ponds in Surrey is the nearest you will get to a day at the beach. There are 2 ponds, the Great Pond and Little Pond, which were built in the middle ages to provide fish for the Bishop of Winchester’s estate.
Nowadays, in good weather, you can play on the man-made beach at the Great Pond. If the sun’s out, you could even go for a swim. Even if it’s not that hot, you can visit Frensham Ponds for a scenic stroll in Surrey heath land or to enjoy the nature and wildlife.
If you are feeling very energetic, you could walk as far as the Devils’ Jumps in Churt. These 3 small hills will give you spectacular views of the Surrey countryside for miles around.
Thorpe Lakes Aqua Park
Now, one of the best things to do in Surrey with kids if you don’t mind getting very wet is head over to Thorpe Lakes Aqua Park. The aqua park is a giant inflatable obstacle course floating on the water. You can run, climb and slide and occasionally fall in to the water. Great fun!
Thorpe Lakes is easy to get to, as it’s just off the M25 at Chertsey.
Basingstoke Canal Centre
If you are on a day trip to Frimley Lodge Park, make sure you visit the Basingstoke Canal Centre. You can take a scenic walk up the canal, which goes for 32 miles from Greywell Village to Woodham. There is lots of wildlife to spot and it’s a good place to show children the workings of a lock.
Basingstoke Canal Centre is only small, but it has a small café and playground and information about the canal’s history. You can hire pedalos, canoes and kayaks. It also has a small campsite, if you fancy staying overnight.
Horseshoe Lake Activity Centre
Another great place for enjoying watersports near Surrey is the Horseshoe Lake Activity Centre .
You can hire out pedalos, kayaks or paddle boards for a session on Horseshoe Lake or even sign up for a multi-activity day in the school holidays.
Animal attractions in Surrey
Bocketts Farm Park
One of the best things to do in Surrey with toddlers is visit Bocketts Farm in Fetcham, near Leatherhead. This award-winning farm is a favourite with pre-schoolers, as kids can get up close and personal with the farm animals. They have goats, llamas, lambs and small animals such as rabbits.
Bocketts Farm is a perfect day out for little children, as they can pet and feed the animals. There is also a soft play and outdoor playground, with sandpits and a maze. And, of course, the highlight of any visit to Bocketts Farm is the pig race!
Another perfect child-friendly day out in Surrey for animal encounters is Godstone Farm, which is just east of Reigate. It’s another fabulous place for young children to see and interact with farm animals.
Did you know that their animals range from llamas, alpacas and horses, sheep, goats, pigs through to reptiles. They also have other small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas, so it’s a perfect place for children. If you go in the summer, you can see the pigs compete in their very own hogstacle race!
As well as over 500 animals, Godstone Farm has an indoor play barn and extensive outside play facilities. It really is great for a family day out in Surrey, whatever the weather.
Located in Bucks Horn Oak, near Farnham, Birdworld covers over 26 acres, making it the UK’s largest bird park. As well as over 600 birds, Birdworld has a daily schedule of flying displays and feeding sessions to attend.
Whilst you are at Birdworld, keep an eye out for Jenny Wren Children’s Farm. This small animal farm has a selection of small animals to pet and tractors to climb on.
And don’t forget you can also visit Birdworld’s Underwater World Aquarium. Here, you’ll see a variety of marine life including crocodiles and piranhas.
Chobham Adventure Farm
Chobham Adventure Farm is a great option if you are looking for things to do in Surrey with kids. As well as farm animals, it has both an indoor and outdoor play area.
There’s enough to keep kids entertained for hours, as it has. slides, sandpits, bouncing pillows and zip wires.
Indoor Fun in Surrey
Craggy Island Indoor Climbing
Craggy Rock Climbing Centre in Guildford is a great way to spend a few hours, if you are looking for things to do in Surrey for teenagers. The whole centre is full of walls and boulders just waiting to be explored.
Kids don’t have to have any climbing experience, as Craggy Rock offer taster sessions for beginners, as young as 5. If your kids haven’t done it before, it’s a unique experience and great fun.
If you are looking for things to do in Surrey on a rainy day, Guildford Spectrum is an ideal choice.
The Spectrum is Guildford’s main public leisure complex and offers entertainment for all the family. As well as the main pool, it has a leisure pool with slides and waves. Alternatively, other family attractions at Guildford Spectrum are ice-skating, ten-pin bowling, karting and soft play.
Little Street in Frimley is the perfect choice for toddlers and pre-schoolers who like to play in a world of make-believe.
Situated next to Frimley station, Little Street offers different themed rooms where toddlers can let their imagination run wild. Each room is themed as a work place (café, hairdresser’s, construction site) so children can role play the different jobs. There are props, dress-up clothes and ride ons, to enable imaginative play
As Little Street play town is fairly small, you book a session in advance, so it never feels overcrowded. If you are not at this end of Surrey, Little Street also has another similar venue in West Byfleet.
If your kids are feeling energetic, head over to Gravity Force in Camberley. This is an industrial-sized room with wall-to-wall trampolines and is bound to wear them out.
Quite honestly, Gravity Force is not my favourite trip as a parent. However, it’s a great rainy-day activity, as the kids love bouncing and flipping in this enormous trampoline park. As well as jumping, they can play dodge ball, try their hand at “jump-in” or head for the foam pit.
If you have younger children, it is worth checking when the family jump sessions are on.
Surrey museums & art
The Sculpture Park
The Sculpture Park is a unique place, where nature meets art. In truth, you don’t need to be an art lover at all to enjoy a visit here. Set on the outskirts of Farnham, the Sculpture Park has over 650 exhibits displayed in 10 acres of arboretum.
To see the art, you have to follow 4 coloured trails which lead up windy paths around trees and lakes. The sculptures are everywhere, placed randomly at the sides.
The art is very contemporary and most will appeal to children. There are sculptures of animals, skeletons and other obscure pieces that will catch their interest. You can wander round the Sculpture Park at your own pace and there are plenty of scenic stopping places for a picnic.
Rural Life Living Museum
There are several family museums in Surrey and all very unique.
One of the best options if you want kids to discover what life was like in their grandparents’ era is a visit to The Rural Life Living Museum. This open-air museum houses over 40 000 artefacts in 30 buildings. Children will enjoy stepping back in time to see what village life was like in days gone by.
While you are here, the kids could also enjoy a ride on the miniature railway.
A great day out in Surrey for transport enthusiasts is the Brooklands Museum. This motor and aviation museum was built on the site of the former Brooklands racing track near Weybridge. This was the birthplace of British motorsport.
Today, kids can enjoy cars and planes of yesteryear and discover stories of pilots and racing drivers from the past. And don’t forget to look out for one of the most famous planes ever, Concorde.
Mercedes Benz World
After a family visit to the Brooklands Museum, you should head next door to Mercedes Benz World .
As the name suggests, this is another great attraction for children (and grown ups) who love cars. Mercedes Benz World is set over 3 floors and will give you an insight into the company’s contributions to motor sport technology and racing throughout the decades.
If you have older children, you could sign them up for a driving experience on part of the original circuit.
Mrs Pott's Place
Mrs Pott’s Place is a small, but delightful shop at the edge of the Atrium shopping centre in Camberley. It’s the perfect afternoon out in Surrey if your kids want to get creative or arty.
Children can pick their own pottery piece and then can decorate it as they choose. The helpful staff will give guidance on painting techniques and give ideas to the not-so-arty amongst us!
If you have a newborn, you can capture your baby’s footprint onto ceramics, as the perfect keepsake.
Another of Surrey’s smaller museums is the Lightbox in Woking. It has free exhibitions of local history and art, which change regularly.
If you are planning a visit to the Lightbox, it is worth tying it in with some of the school holiday activity days.
Surrey historic houses and gardens
Hampton Court Palace
Surrey has a rich history and is home to one of the UK’s most famous castles, as well as an abundance of stately homes and fine gardens.
One of our favourite historic attractions in Surrey is Hampton Court Palace. I went often as a child and was keen to return as an adult with my kids.
Hampton Court Palace was actually built in the the early 16th Century. Queen Victoria opened the palace to the public in 1838. Today, it is still a really magnificent royal house. Children love it as it was the home of King Henry VIII and his 6 wives.
Nowadays, you can find more about life in Tudor times by exploring the inside of the palace. Or you can go outside to take a tour of the splendid gardens. There is a playground called The Magic Garden. However, for me, the best bit is getting lost in the 300 year old hedge maze.
Surrey is home to many grand houses and over 20 different National Trust properties. One of the most popular properties is Polesdon Lacey, which is in Great Bookham, near Dorking.
This splendid Edwardian house was the former property of Mrs Greville, a former Edwardian socialite. You can visit inside the house or or just wander round the stunning gardens.
There are acres of countryside for children to explore, as well as a woodland play area.
Another of Surrey’s finest National Trust properties is Hatchlands Park, which is in East Clandon near Guildford. The house itself is a Georgian mansion, built in the 1750’s.
You can visit the house, but kids will probably prefer the extensive parkland and outdoor space. There are trails to follow and a natural play area near the house.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew dates back to the 18th century and is actually now a UNESCO world heritage site. It was originally established by the mother of King George III in the grounds of Kew Palace.
Today, Kew Gardens houses over 500,000 plants from all around the world and is a truly stunning place to visit. There are over 37 acres of natural woodland for kids to explore. On top of that there is a Great Pagoda, a treetop walkway and Japanese gardens to explore.
Of course, the beautiful Victorian Palm House with its tropical rainforest plants is one of the best reasons to visit Kew Gardens. And kids will surely be fascinated by the Hive, a giant art installation which replicates the inside of a beehive.
Don’t forget to take the children to the interactive children’s garden. This is a massive play space where they can have fun, whilst learning about the growth of plants. A visit to Kew Gardens really is one of the best things to do in Surrey with kids.
RHS Garden Wisley
Another of the UK’s most-visited gardens, RHS Garden Wisley, can also be found in Surrey. Wisley lies between Cobham and Ripley and is easy to get to by car, as it’s just off the A3.
You’ll find Wisley has different themed areas. Look out for alpine houses, a bonsai walk, walled gardens and an alpine meadow. Or, get the children to follow the sculpture trail around the gardens.
One of the highlights of Wisley Gardens is its own temperate house, where children can enjoy the exotic plants. Afterwards, spend some time in the Back to Nature garden, a new interactive garden play area.
Painshill Park is an award-winning landscaped garden near Cobham. It is a fabulous place for a family day out in Surrey, as there’s so much for kids to explore.
As well as the 158 acres of parkland, Painshill Park has a beautiful lake you can wander round. The park’s unique features are its follies, the Gothic Tower and a watermill.
However, the highlight of a visit to Painshill Park has to be the Crystal Grotto. This lining of this magical cave has thousands of crystals, giving it a very magical feel.
Although it’s not actually a historic house, Runnymede Memorial is one of the most important historic attractions in Surrey.
Not only is it the site where the Magna Carta was signed, but it has 2 other memorials there too, the JFK memorial and the Runnymede Air forces Memorial.
Runnymede Memorial is a National Trust Property in a meadow on the outskirts of Englefield Green. There is plenty of space for a picnic and you can cross the road to the River Thames.
Whilst you are there, don’t forget to look out for the new art installations, which can be found there too. For more details on a visit to Runnymede, read A circular walk to historic Runnymede.
Claremont Landscape Garden
Claremont Landscape Garden is another of the beautiful National Trust gardens in Surrey and has lots for families to do. After exploring the gardens and Serpentine lake, you can head for the ampitheatre, the Belvedere Tower or the grotto.
There are outside play areas for children and they can also enjoy dressing up and playing in the Victorian cottage.
One of the best theme parks in Surrey is Thorpe Park. Not far from the M25 near Chertsey, Thorpe Park is the perfect day out for teenagers and thrill-lovers.
With vertical drops, loop-the-loop and speeds of up to 80mph, the roller coasters will thrill any adrenaline seekers. Definitely not for the faint of heart!
For families who prefer a slower pace, Thorpe Park has water rides and a man-made beach for little ones.
Chessington World of Adventures
Another fabulous theme park for thrill-seekers is Chessington World of Adventures, which is just off the M25 and A3 near Kingston.
As well as being one of the biggest theme parks in Surrey, Chessington also has a zoo and Sea Life centre.
If it’s rides you’re looking for, Chessington has something for everyone. From high-speed roller coasters to a family-friendly Gruffalo ride, Chessington is a fun-packed day for children of all ages.
However, if you’re more interested in wildlife, Chessington has animals galore. Make sure to check the timetable, as there are regular animals talks and feeds throughout the day.
Hobbledown Adventure Farm Park and Zoo
My all-time favourite family theme park in Surrey is Hobbledown Adventure Park, which is near Epsom.
Hobbledown is a the perfect day out for kids because it combines animals with play. As well as its great selection of animals, Hobbledown has both an indoor play barn and outdoor play areas.
For the energetic, there are jumping pillows, wooden climbing frames, high ropes and zorbing. Hobbledown is one of Surrey’s best family attractions, as it has enough things to do to keep the kids entertained all day.
Pin for later: 40 things to do in Surrey with Kids