Nine Surrey picnic spots to enjoy in the sunshine when lockdown rules allow it

Boris Johnson has outlined a pathway leading out of lockdown with the first easing of measures coming at the beginning of March.

With the days getting longer, lighter and warmer, more of us are getting outside and enjoying the taste of spring in the air.

Current Government guidelines state only two people from two households can meet outside for exercise in England. However, from March 8 the rules will change slightly allowing two people to meet outdoors socially, this includes for a coffee or picnic outside.

Ahead of this date, SurreyLive has put together a list of nine places around the county which are ideal for al-fresco dining. The advice will continue to be ‘stay local’ so you should only visit the spots if they are already in your area.

Painshill Park, Cobham

Pretty scenes in Painshill Park
(Image: Surrey Advertiser / Darren Pepe)

The 18th century landscape garden, created between 1738 and 1773, is a romantic place for a picnic thanks to its sweeping lawn banks and iconic five-arch bridge.

The pretty spot has been open to local visitors and its members for exercise in the third national lockdown. It covers 158 acres so there is plenty space to find a quiet area.

Currently visitors are required to book tickets in advance. They are free for children under five or up to £10 for adults. Pre-booking may still be in place from March 8 but it is best to check on the Painshill Park website for further information on this.

Where? Portsmouth Road, Cobham, KT11 1JE.

Limpsfield Common, Oxted

A view of Limpsfield Common from Ridlands Lane car park
(Image: Surrey Mirror – Grahame Larter)

Limpsfield Common has plenty to offer when it comes to countryside views thanks to its Scearn Bank.

Its a great spot for family outings and picnics with open and flat spaces to explore. A large network of signposted footpaths over the common will help you find your way.

In the areas of woodland, in spring, the ground becomes covered in a beautiful carpet of bluebells.

Look out also for the partly hidden Second World War air raid shelter nearby if you are looking to stretch your legs after grabbing a bite to eat.

Where? Limpsfield, Oxted, RH8 0TW.

Denbies Hillside, Dorking

Spectacular views from Denbies Hillside
(Image: Dorking Advertiser / Mark Davison)

If you are after a picnic with a view, Denbies Hillside has it all. On a clear day you will see as far as Leith Hill, the highest point in south east England.

The National Trust says: “Named after John Denby, a 17th-century farmer, the hillside is home to a great variety of plants and animals, including adonis blue and chalkhill blue butterflies.

“The chalk downland at White Down offers yet more spectacular views. It also hides several Second World War pill boxes, built to defend against a Nazi invasion.”

While you are there you can also take a stroll on a circular walk through part of the estate of Polesden Lacey, accessed via Ranmore Common Road.

Where? Ranmore Common Road, near Dorking, RH5 6SR.

Epsom Common

Epsom Common is a nature reserve and thanks to its diverse range of habitats, there is always a lot of wildlife to see. Among the trees and scrub there are open grassy areas which are ideal to throw down a picnic blanket.

There are also benches dotted along the numerous footpaths in the common, and a quieter spot to rest can be easily found by leaving the main circular loop footpath.

Where? Christ Church Road, Epsom, KT18 7FB.

The Mount, Guildford

You can also see the Woking skyline from The Mount
(Image: Surrey Live – Grahame Larter)

Another perfect spot for a picnic with a view is The Mount in Guildford. It is located around one mile west of the town centre but offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

From the top of the hill you can see the main town and a very clear view of the cathedral. On a clear day you will even be able to see the London skyline – despite the city being located more than 40 miles away.

Where? 106 The Mount, Guildford, GU2 4JB.

Home Park, Hampton Court Palace

Home Park is just outside Hampton Court Palace’s gated gardens
(Image: Surrey Advertiser – Grahame Larter)

Home Park sits in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace and stretches over 750 acres. Due to its grassland, woodland and wetland habitats, the park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Deer, descended from Henry VIII’s original herd, roam the park freely. If you are visiting you will also be able to sit by Longwater Canal, known today as the Long Water. The stretch of water is said to have been completed by King Charles II in 1660 as a wedding present for his bride-to-be, Catherine of Braganza.

Where? 5 Summer Road, Molesey, East Molesey.

Harewoods, Redhill

The National Trust site of Harewoods has tranquil ponds and lush green meadows as well as an ancient common. There is plenty to explore and space to throw down a rug and enjoy a lunch al-fresco.

In the spring, colourful wild flowers including primroses, wood anemones and bluebells feature in Hornecourt Wood.

The National Trust says: “Over 100 ponds can be found, ranging from large open ponds to marshes, where keen bird-watchers may spot snipe and woodcock. Outwood Common was used by commoners for grazing and timber up until the mid 1800s and many ancient oak trees can still be seen today.”

Where? Outwood Lane, Outwood, Redhill, RH1 5PW.

Phillips Memorial Park and Cloister, Godalming

The Phillips Memorial Park in Godalming
(Image: Surrey Advertiser)

The memorial park covers 11 acres of ground and runs from Borough Road bridge in Godalming to Bridge Road.

There are winding paths and benches along the riverside walk offering spots to enjoy the sunshine.

The Phillips Memorial Cloister is a garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll which opened two years to the day of the sinking of the Titanic.

It opened in the name of Jack Phillips, a Godalming-born Titanic hero who was aboard when the ship hit an iceberg in 1912. He stayed at his post until the ship sank, frantically contacting nearby vessels and saving hundreds of lives.

Where? Godalming, GU7 1DY.

Silent Pool, Albury

Silent Pool near Albury is a magical place to visit
(Image: Surrey Advertiser – Grahame Larter)

Silent Pool is a very special place to visit. Legend has it that it is the most haunted body of water in the county as it is said to be visited every night at midnight by the ghost of a woodcutter’s daughter.

But in the sunshine and daylight it couldn’t feel further from this spooky tale, and the sun shining on the water turns it into a spectacular tropical paradise.

It is a spring-fed lake at the foot of the North Downs and sits next to a gin distillery which actually uses some of the water for its luxurious products.

It is home to many different species of aquatic life including kingfishers which can often be spotted darting angelically across the water.

Where? Shere Road, Albury, Guildford, GU5 9BW.

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