If you are a new Mum, or have just moved to Surrey then this might come in handy. If you have been here a few years like me then you’ll know these places like the back of your hand. It’s priceless information I wish I knew when I first moved here from London 6 years ago, and I didn't know a soul. I also didn't know where a single playgroup or playground was. It was hard, but 6 years and 2 children later I think I have learnt a thing or two about where to take the kids during the long, long summer holidays. Sometimes days at home are good, but often you need to get out to keep everybody sane. Here’s a little guide of my favourite places to take the kids in the Summer holidays. If you can find just one new place from this list below that you didn't know about, then I’ll be thrilled.
1. Garsons Farm, Esher. Flower, fruit and vegetable picking. This is a special day out with a difference. You can pick flowers, fruit and vegetables in season. It’s quite a unique experience to come home with bags of delicious vegetables and fruit that you picked yourself! Really great fun and you can pretend to be a real farmer for the day. There is also a farm shop and a wonderful sun filled cafe sitting on the edge of the fields. Heaven!
2. Priory Farm Discovery Walk. Really inexpensive day out, with a toddlers trail though Priory Farm. A beautiful walk thought the farm and forests with activities for kids all along the way. You can buy fish food at the ticket stall and feed the fish in the lake. In August the amazing Sunflower Maze is spectacular. You can take your own picnic to the Discovery Walk. There is an small coffee shop by the Discovery Walk, as well as a restaurant within Priory Nursery which has great play equipment in an enclosed area to keep the kids happy and busy.
2. RHS Garden Wisley. Fantastic activities for kids though out the summer in the educations centre. Wisley has a wonderful natural playground area called “Wild at Wisley”. My kids love the greenhouse too, and I have to drag them out of the underground root display every time. We have a annual pass as it is very inexpensive and absolutely worth it.
4. Guilford Lido Swimming Pool - Save for sunny summer days. I’ve yet to try this myself but it looks great, with an outdoor pool and slides. I think I go there next week if this great weather continues.
5. Tandridge Leisure Centre Swimming Pool - Good for rainy days as it’s indoors. Cafe, wave pool, small indoor slide, a few ride on boats to play with. Keeps my toddler busy for ages.
6. Rollerskating at Reigate College: Sundays at 11.30 to 12.30. Perfect for when it is raining on a weekend and you really need to let the kids burn off some steam. It's very inexpensive, and they also offer lessons at a very reasonable rates.
7. Hobbledown. Not the cheapest day out but they have loads of summer activities on. Facepainting, puppet shows, falconry displays, bouncy tube things, and a zip wire for older kids etc. I get the annual pass which makes it a bit more affordable. We use the indoor play barn a lot when it’s raining, which is a life saver in the winter months too.
8. Mayfield Lavender Farm. A totally unique experience. There is something quite special about running down the aisles of lavender. Feeling waves of hot summer air mixed with lavender scent brushing past your face. It is quite exhilarating. I’m usually sprinting after my toddler, but it’s loads of fun and makes for really special photos, so take your camera! On site at the farm there is a small shop selling lavender and a cafe with and much needed ice cream and snacks. The fields are at their best from June to mid August. I was there last week and they were harvesting the crop. I will miss it!
9. Priory Park, Reigate. In summer this park gets busy. Really busy. Best to go very early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. In the summer months they turn on the water fountains and if you close your eyes a little it’s a bit like a day on holiday at the beach. Without the cost of a plane ticket and hotel accommodation which is great as the park is free! The adjacent cafe is good for ice creams and much needed coffee for those who got no sleep the night before with little ones. That sleep deprived coffee needing person is usually me!
10. South Bank, London: OK so it’s not Surrey but it’s a short train ride away. It’s my favourite place in London in the summer and offers a little reminder of my life in the city before children. Gigantic bubble displays and street performers on South Bank keep my two enthralled. South Bank offers great art, great food, beautiful vistas of London, access to the London Eye, London Aquarium and more. You can do as much or as little as you want here, and the possibilities are endless. It’s useful to note that there is a lovely little playground behind the London Eye which is really handy for small children to run around before the train ride home.