Surrey located in the South East of England is one of the Home Counties. The county borders Greater London, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, and Berkshire and is divided into 11 boroughs and districts: Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell, Guildford, Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge, Waverley, Woking. Find the answers to some frequently asked questions about Surrey.
The historic county town is Guildford, although the county administration Surrey County Council was moved to Kingston upon Thames in 1893. The largest town in Surrey is Guildford with Woking is a close second. The third largest town is Ewell with 40,000 people to the north of the county.
Despite its location next to London, Surrey contains a great deal of mature woodland. Among its many notable beauty spots are Box Hill, Leith Hill, Frensham Ponds, Newlands Corner and Puttenham and Crooksbury Commons. It is the most wooded county in Great Britain, with 22.4% coverage. Box Hill has the oldest untouched area of natural woodland in the UK, one of the oldest in Europe.
Much of Surrey is in the Green Belt and rolling downland, the county's geology being dominated by the chalk hills of the North Downs. There are many commons with an extensive network of footpaths and bridleways including the North Downs Way. Towards the north of the county, the land is largely flat around Staines and borders the River Thames. The highest elevation in Surrey is Leith Hill near Dorking at 965 ft (294 m) above sea level, is the highest point in southeastern England.
Surrey’s history The name Surrey is Saxon meaning "South Ridge" though later the name of the area was Sudergeona or "southern". Little remains of the Roman or the Saxon periods in Surrey exist. However there is an Iron Age hillfort at Holmbury Hill and remnants of the Roman roads Stane Street and Ermine Street. The title of Earl of Surrey was given as reward for loyalty during the rebellion that followed the death of William I of England, with the signing of the great charter at Runnymede in 1215.
Surrey’s proximity to London and strategic location within South East England has resulted in it becoming one of the most affluent and successful counties in the UK. The busiest single runway airport in the world (Gatwick) was historically in Surrey, but is now part of West Sussex.
Surrey is also renowned for gardening, with the RHS’s flagship RHS Garden Wisley, along with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in Greater London.
WWF UK & Compassion in World Farming are based in Surrey. With more organisation and company headquarters than any other county in the UK. Electronic giants Nikon, Whirlpool, Canon, Toshiba, Samsung and Philips are housed here. Kia Motors and Toyota UK also have their HQs in Surrey. Some of the largest FMCG multinationals in the world have their UK and/or European headquarters here, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Superdrug, Nestle, SC Johnson, Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. Drug giants Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis house their UK headquarters here, as does oil conglomerate Esso. The racing organisation McLaren is based in Woking, and the home of British Racing at Brooklands is near Weybridge.
Did you know the first known record of cricket was in Guildford, Surrey? Discover some more weird and wonderful facts about Surrey.
Come and discover sun-dappled footpaths that criss-cross the most wooded county in the country. Leap into the 21st Century in our modern art galleries. Stand at the highest point in the south-east of England and marvel at the breathtaking views of the Surrey Hills and surrounding countryside.
Experience first-hand the very latest in music at a festival or in the pubs and clubs that abound. Or visit our imposing stately homes with their beautifully maintained landscape gardens where, for centuries, celebrated artists, musicians and literary figures have found inspiration.
Our comprehensive public transport network means that you can leave your car at home and discover the area with ease by simply hopping on a bus, train or even boat.
Whether you stay in a cosy bed and breakfast or one of our first class spa hotels, you will find that there is always plenty to do in a county where old traditions and institutions such as royal residences, cream teas and cricket rub shoulders with modern architecture, contemporary theatre, international horse racing (including the world-renowned Derby held each year in June), excellent sporting facilities and state-of-the-art theme parks.
For further information on Surrey visit the Surrey County Council website.
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