Surrey Hills Tour
The hills of Surrey are just an hours drive From London and a great way to enjoy the English countryside in a day. You will be driven to the town of Guildford, where you will meet a local guide who will introduce you to an interesting day of history & culture and be guided through an area of natural outstanding beauty with a walk that’s packed with interesting sights and anecdotal commentary.
The walk is approximately 12 miles with a break for Lunch in a local pub of character.
Guildford began as a Saxon village shortly after Roman authority had been removed from Britain. Built on a ford where the Harrow Way crossed the River Wey, the root of its name may well derive from ‘Gold’ rather than ‘Guild’ due to the golden flowers that grew at the riverside or because of the golden sands on the banks of the river (not because of the amount of gold in the region’s sedimentary rocks).
The Wey River from Godalming (the location where the romantic comedy “Holiday” was shot) to the Thames at Weybridge provided the potential for dramatically improving the transportation of goods to and from London. Three hundred and fifty years ago the river was virtually impassable and it wasn’t until a local wealthy landowner, who was experimenting with innovative water management to improve his agricultural yields, struck upon the idea of constructing a canal that the idea was born.Our Walk Continues onwards through the Chantries, this is the ‘gem of Guildford’, said Councillor Wilkinson in November 1936, as Guildford Borough Council concluded its purchase of the land from the Godwin-Austen estate. Alderman Harold Gammon concurred, describing the Chantries as ‘one of the most beautiful strips of land any borough could boast of having within its borders.’
The Council paid £28,000 for 367 acres extending from the junction of Pilgrims Way and Echo Pit Road to Halfpenny Lane, and from the edge of Pewley Down to the southern slopes of the Chantries. The intention was to preserve the land from development and retain this beautiful scenery on the southern fringes of Guildford. Already the views from below the Chantries and St Martha’s had been impaired by house-building along Longdown Road and White Lane. The purchase of the Chantries did not form part of any Green Belt scheme initially: it was to be kept as a ‘private open space’ and the farmland of South Warren Farm cultivated as before. The area had only formed part of Guildford Borough since the boundary changes of 1933: without this the Council would have had no power to purchase the land.
There had never been a public right of way over the Chantries. But Surrey County Council insisted that Guildford change its policy and maintain the Chantries as a public open space. Surrey feared that a private open space could be sold or converted to another use, undoing the efforts of Surrey and London County Councils in acquiring nearby Tyting for the Green Belt. Ironically it is now Tyting under threat of sale.
Next Stop on our Journey following a sandy paths up to the Church on the Summit is St. Martha’s Church dating back from Saxon times and offering wonderful panoramic views.
Following on to one of the most Photographed English Villages located between Guildford and Dorking is Shere and our lunch venue, The William Bray pub.
The William Bray is an iconic and famous British pub, the food is award winning and the wine list extensive.
After lunch we continue up the North Downs Way and onto Newlands Corner. In 1926 Newlands Corner made national news when the author Agatha Christie had an accident one December evening. Her car ran off the road into a bush near a small quarry and was found abandoned the next day. The famous novelist was missing for 10 days whilst locals including a large detachment of the Surrey Police searched the area, but it later transpired that Agatha Christie was safe and well and had been staying in a Hotel throughout the whole event.The day concludes with meeting your driver at this point – approximately 5pm – for your 1 hour drive back to London in what has been a thoroughly absorbing day in the English Countryside
The day concludes with meeting your driver at this point – approximately 5pm – for your 1 hour drive back to London in what has been a thoroughly absorbing day in the English Countryside
This Day includes
- Transportation to to Guildford from your Hotel in London starting 8.30am
- Services of a knowledgeable local Surrey guide throughout the day
- Lunch at William Bray Pub (Drinks not included)
- Return transport back to your London hotel ending approx. 6:00pm
Please note good walking shoes are ideal for this day tour and the distance walked on the day is approximately 12 miles at a steady pace throughout, so a reasonable level of physical fitness is required.