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Guildford & Cathedral of Surrey.JPG
Spring in Epsom (6980024124) - cropped.jpg
View from Leith Hill south over Leith Hill Place.jpg
Guildford and its cathedral; the Clock Tower, Epsom; the view from Leith Hill
Surrey UK locator map 2010.svg
Ceremonial Surrey within England
Surrey - British Isles.svg
Historic Surrey in the British Isles
Coordinates: 51°15′N0°27′W / 51.25°N 0.45°W / 51.25; -0.45
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South East
Established before 1066
Time zone UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police Surrey Police
Largest town Woking
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Michael More-Molyneux
High Sheriff Julie Llewelyn (2021–22) [1]
Area1,663 km2 (642 sq mi)
  Ranked 35th of 48
Population (2021)1,189,934
  Ranked 12th of 48
Density716/km2 (1,850/sq mi)


Besides its role in Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, many important writers have lived and worked in Surrey.

Arts and sciences


The "Surrey Delta" produced many of the musicians in 60s British blues movements. The Rolling Stones developed their music at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond.



The county is covered by BBC London and ITV London. BBC South and ITV Meridian can be received in western parts of Surrey and BBC South East and ITV Meridian in southeastern parts of the county. [92]


Epsom is famous for the Epsom Downs Racecourse which hosts the Epsom Derby; painting by James Pollard, c. 1835 James Pollard - Epsom Races- The Race Over - Google Art Project.jpg
Epsom is famous for the Epsom Downs Racecourse which hosts the Epsom Derby; painting by James Pollard, c.1835

Surrey football clubs

The county has numerous football teams. In the Combined Counties League can be found the likes of Ash United, Badshot Lea, Banstead Athletic, Camberley Town, Chessington & Hook United, Cobham, Epsom & Ewell, Epsom Athletic, Farleigh Rovers, Farnham Town, Frimley Green, Horley Town, Knaphill, Mole Valley SCR, Molesey, Sheerwater, Spelthorne Sports and Westfield; Lingfield play at the same level but in the Southern Combination; Ashford Town, Chertsey Town, Godalming Town and Guildford City play higher in the Southern League; equally Leatherhead, Merstham, Redhill, South Park, Staines Town, Walton Casuals and Walton and Hersham are in the Isthmian; Dorking Wanderers and Woking are currently the highest ranked Surrey based clubs, playing in the National League.

Chelsea F.C. practice at the Cobham Training Centre located in the village of Stoke d'Abernon near Cobham, Surrey. [103] The training ground was built in 2004 and officially opened in 2007.

Local government


  1891452,218 [104]
  19711,002,832 [105]
  Succeeded byN/A
Status Administrative county
   HQ Newington 1889–1893
Kingston upon Thames 1893-2020
Reigate since 2020
Surrey arms 1934.png

The Local Government Act 1888 reorganised county-level local government throughout England and Wales. Accordingly, the administrative county of Surrey was formed in 1889 when the Provisional Surrey County Council first met, consisting of 19 aldermen and 57 councillors. The county council assumed the administrative responsibilities previously exercised by the county's justices in quarter sessions. The county had revised boundaries, with the north east of the historic county bordering the City of London becoming part of a new County of London. These areas now form the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth, and the Penge area of the London Borough of Bromley. At the same time, the borough of Croydon became a county borough, outside the jurisdiction of the county council.

For purposes other than local government the administrative county of Surrey and county borough of Croydon continued to form a "county of Surrey" to which a Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum (chief magistrate) and a High Sheriff were appointed.

Surrey had been administered from Newington since the 1790s, and the county council was initially based in the sessions house there. As Newington was included in the County of London, it lay outside the area administered by the council, and a site for a new county hall within the administrative county was sought. By 1890 six towns were being considered: Epsom, Guildford, Kingston, Redhill, Surbiton and Wimbledon. [106] In 1891 it was decided to build the new County Hall at Kingston, and the building opened in 1893, [107] but this site was also overtaken by the growing London conurbation, and by the 1930s most of the north of the county had been built over, becoming outer suburbs of London, although continuing to form part of Surrey administratively.

In 1960 the report of the Herbert Commission recommended that much of north Surrey (including Kingston and Croydon) be included in a new "Greater London". These recommendations were enacted in highly modified form in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963. The areas that now form the London Boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Merton, and Sutton and that part of Richmond south of the River Thames, were transferred from Surrey to Greater London. At the same time part of the county of Middlesex, which had been abolished by the legislation, was added to Surrey. This area now forms the borough of Spelthorne.

The coat of arms of Surrey County Council Surrey shield.svg
The coat of arms of Surrey County Council

Further local government reform under the Local Government Act 1972 took place in 1974. The 1972 Act abolished administrative counties and introduced non-metropolitan counties in their place. The boundaries of the non-metropolitan county of Surrey were similar to those of the administrative county with the exception of Gatwick Airport and some surrounding land which was transferred to West Sussex. It was originally proposed that the parishes of Horley and Charlwood would become part of West Sussex; however this met fierce local opposition and it was reversed by the Charlwood and Horley Act 1974.


Following the elections of May 2021 the County Councillors' party affiliations were as follows: [108]

Conservative 47
Residents Association/Independent 16
Liberal Democrats 14
Green 2
Labour 2

As of 2 May 2019, the Conservative local councillors controlled 4 out of 11 councils in Surrey, the Liberal Democrats controlled Mole Valley, the Residents Associations of Epsom and Ewell controlled Epsom and Ewell, and the remaining 5 are in No Overall Control. Of the five No Overall Control councils, Elmbridge and Waverley were both run by coalitions of Residents and Liberal Democrats, Guildford was run by a Liberal Democrats minority administration, and Tandridge and Woking were both run by Conservative minority administrations.

The Conservatives held all 11 Parliamentary constituencies within the county borders. [109]


Export House in Woking, one of Surrey's tallest buildings ExportHouse2.JPG
Export House in Woking, one of Surrey's tallest buildings

The average wage in Surrey is bolstered by the high proportion of residents who work in financial services.[ citation needed ]

Surrey has more organisation and company headquarters than any other county in the UK.[ citation needed ] Electronics manufacturers Canon, Toshiba, Samsung and Philips are housed here, as are distributors Burlodge, Future Electronics, Kia Motors and Toyota UK, the medico-pharma companies Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis and oil giant Esso. Some of the largest fast-moving consumer goods multinationals in the world have their UK and/or European headquarters here, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Superdrug, Nestlé, SC Johnson, Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. NGOs including WWF UK & Compassion in World Farming are also based here.



Three major motorways pass through the county. These are:

Other major roads include:


Much of Surrey lies within the London commuter belt with regular services into Central London. South Western Railway is the sole train operator in Elmbridge, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Woking and Waverley, and the main train operator in the Borough of Guildford, running regular services into London Waterloo and regional services towards the south coast and South west. Southern is the main train operator in Mole Valley, Epsom and Ewell and Reigate and Banstead and the sole train operator in Tandridge, providing services into London Bridge and London Victoria.

There are many railway lines in the county, those of note include the Waterloo to Reading Line, South West Main Line, Portsmouth Direct Line, Sutton and Mole Valley Lines (from Horsham, West Sussex itself on the Arun Valley Line from Littlehampton) and the Brighton Main Line.

The Waterloo to Reading Line calls at Virginia Water, Egham, and Staines in Surrey. The South West Main Line calls at Woking and up to six other Surrey stops including Walton-on-Thames. The Portsmouth Direct Line is significant in linking Haslemere, Godalming and Guildford to the South West Main Line at Woking. The Sutton and Mole Valley Lines link Dorking, Leatherhead, Ashtead, Epsom to Waterloo via Ewell West or London Victoria via Ewell East. The Brighton Main Line calls at Horley and Redhill before reaching either London Bridge or London Victoria. Reigate is on the east–west North Downs Line.

Consequently, the towns Staines, Woking, Guildford, Walton-on-Thames, Epsom and Ewell and Reigate and Redhill, statistically the largest examples, [110] are established rapid-transit commuter towns for Central London. The above routes have had a stimulative effect. The relative development of Surrey at the time of the Beeching cuts led to today's retention of numerous other commuter routes except the Cranleigh Line, all with direct services to London, including:

  1. Chertsey Line linking the first two of the above national routes via Chertsey and Addlestone
  2. New Guildford Line via Claygate and Effingham Junction from Surbiton
  3. Hampton Court Branch Line to Hampton Court via Thames Ditton from Surbiton
  4. Shepperton Branch Line via Sunbury
  5. Ascot to Guildford Line via Wanborough, Ash, into Hampshire via Aldershot and back into Surrey to serve Frimley, Camberley and Bagshot.
  6. Alton Line calls at the far southwest Surrey town, Farnham.
  7. Epsom Downs Branch from Sutton and then Belmont in Greater London to Banstead and Epsom Downs.
  8. Tattenham Corner Branch Line calls at Chipstead, Kingswood and Tadworth.
  9. Oxted Line calls at Oxted and Hurst Green.
  10. Redhill to Tonbridge Line serves Redhill and Godstone.

The only diesel route is the east–west North Downs Line, which runs from Reading via Guildford, Dorking Deepdene, Reigate and Redhill.

The major stations in the county are Guildford (8.0 million passengers), [111] Woking (7.4 million passengers), [111] Epsom (3.6 million passengers), [111] Redhill (3.6 million passengers) [111] and Staines (2.9 million passengers). [111]


Both Heathrow (in the London Borough of Hillingdon) and Gatwick (in Crawley Borough, West Sussex) have a perimeter road in Surrey. First Berkshire & The Thames Valley operates a RailAir coach service from Guildford and Woking to Heathrow Airport and there are early-until-late buses to nearby Surrey towns.

Fairoaks Airport on the edge of Chobham and Ottershaw is 2.3 miles (3.7 km) from Woking town centre and operates as a private airfield with two training schools and is home to other aviation businesses.

Redhill Aerodrome is also in Surrey.


The UK has a comprehensive, state-funded education system, accordingly Surrey has 37 state secondary schools, 17 Academies, 7 sixth form colleges and 55 state primaries. The county has 41 independent schools, including Charterhouse (one of the nine independent schools mentioned in the Public Schools Act 1868) and the Royal Grammar School, Guildford. More than half the state secondary schools in Surrey have sixth forms. Brooklands (twinned with a site in Ashford, Surrey), Reigate, Esher, Egham, Woking and Waverley host sixth-form equivalent colleges each with technical specialisations and standard sixth-form study courses. Brooklands College offers aerospace and automotive design, engineering and allied study courses reflecting the aviation and motor industry leading UK research and maintenance hubs nearby.

Higher education

Emergency services

Surrey is served by the following emergency services:

Places of interest

Significant landscapes in Surrey include Box Hill just north of Dorking; the Devil's Punch Bowl at Hindhead and Frensham Common. Leith Hill southwest of Dorking in the Greensand Ridge is the second highest point in southeast England. Witley Common and Thursley Common are expansive areas of ancient heathland south of Godalming run by the National Trust and Ministry of Defence. The Surrey Hills are an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

Lawns at RHS Garden, Wisley Lawns at Wisley.jpg
Lawns at RHS Garden, Wisley

More manicured landscapes can be seen at Claremont Landscape Garden, south of Esher (dating from 1715). There is also Winkworth Arboretum southeast of Godalming and Windlesham Arboretum near Lightwater created in the 20th century. Wisley is home to the Royal Horticultural Society gardens. Kew, historically part of Surrey but now in Greater London, features the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as well as The National Archives for England & Wales.

There are 80 Surrey Wildlife Trust reserves with at least one in all 11 non-metropolitan districts. [112]

Surrey's important country houses include the Tudor mansion of Loseley Park, built in the 1560s and Clandon House, an 18th-century Palladian mansion in West Clandon to the east of Guildford. Nearby Hatchlands Park in East Clandon, was built in 1758 with Robert Adam interiors and a collection of keyboard instruments. Polesden Lacey south of Great Bookham is a regency villa with extensive grounds. On a smaller scale, Oakhurst Cottage in Hambledon near Godalming is a restored 16th-century worker's home. Shalford Mill on the River Tillingbourne, is an 18th-century water-mill.

A canal system, the Wey and Godalming Navigations is administered at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford, where an exhibition commemorates the work of the canal system and is home to a restored Wey barge, the Reliance. The Wey and Arun Canal is being restored by volunteers with hopes of a future full reopening.

Runnymede at Egham is the site of the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215.

Guildford Cathedral is a 20th-century cathedral built from bricks made from the clay of the hill on which it stands.

Brooklands Museum recognises the motoring and aeronautical past of Surrey. The county is also home to the Thorpe Park amusement park.

Statue of a Martian tripod from The War of the Worlds in Woking, hometown of science fiction author H. G. Wells Woking tripod.JPG
Statue of a Martian tripod from The War of the Worlds in Woking, hometown of science fiction author H. G. Wells

Jane Austen's novel Emma is set in the fictional town of Highbury, Surrey, and the picnic at which Emma Woodhouse embarrasses Miss Bates takes place on Box Hill. Austen's unfinished novel The Watsons is also set in Surrey, and Emma Watson's brothers Robert and Samuel live in Croydon and Guildford, respectively, while Emma has recently returned home to the fictional village of Stanton.

Much of H. G. Wells' 1898 novel The War of the Worlds is set in Surrey with many specific towns and villages identified. The Martians first land on Horsell Common on the north side of Woking, outside the Bleak House pub, now called Sands. The narrator flees in the direction of London, first passing Byfleet and then Weybridge before travelling east along the north bank of the Thames.

The late Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman mentions Camberley in his poem "A Subaltern's Lovesong", while Carshalton forms the literary backdrop to many of the poems by James Farrar.

The character Ford Prefect from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy claimed to be from Guildford in Surrey, but in actuality he was from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse.

Thomas Paine Kydd, the hero of the Kydd series of naval adventure novels written by Julian Stockwin, starts off as a young wig-maker from Guildford who is pressed into service and thus begins a life at sea.

Ian McEwan's Atonement is set in Surrey.

In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Harry spends his childhood in the fictional town of Little Whinging, Surrey, under the guardianship of his pernicious relatives, the Dursleys. He leaves their house permanently four days before his seventeenth birthday, and that night there is an aerial battle in the skies over Surrey between the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters.

The county has also been used as a film location. In the 1976 film The Omen, the scenes at the cathedral were filmed at Guildford Cathedral. [113] Part of the movie The Holiday was filmed in Godalming and Shere: Kate Winslet's character Iris lived in a cottage in Shere and Cameron Diaz's character Amanda switched houses with her as part of a home exchange. The final scene of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason uses the village church, also in Shere, as does the movie The Wedding Date .

Surrey woodland represented Germany in the opening scene of Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe; it was filmed at the Bourne Woods near Farnham in Surrey. The film I Want Candy follows two hopeful lads from Leatherhead trying to break into the movies, and was partly filmed in Brooklands College (Weybridge campus).

Scenes for the 2009 BBC production of Emma, starring Romola Garai and Michael Gambon, were filmed at St Mary the Virgin Church, Send near Guildford and at Loseley House.

See also


  1. Domesday Book valued the Surrey estates of Chertsey Abbey in 1066 at £189 a year, the abbey's only other holdings being £11 worth in Berkshire. Harold's lands in Surrey were valued at £175 a year, while another £15 worth were still entered under the name of his late father Earl Godwin. The revenues of King Edward's Surrey estates totalled £117, Queen Edith's £76, the Archbishopric of Canterbury's £66 and the Bishopric of Winchester's £55, all fractions of vast national holdings. The earl with jurisdiction over Surrey, Harold's brother Leofwine, held only £17 there, from a national total of £290, whose greatest concentrations were in Kent and Sussex, while his mother, Godwin's widow Gytha, held £16 from a total of £590, chiefly clustered in Devon, Wiltshire and Sussex. The other great landowners with Surrey estates were the thegns Ætsere, Ægelnoð and Osward. Ætsere held £61 in Surrey, from a total of £271 including £163 in Sussex, Ægelnoð held £40, from a total of £260 including £71 in Kent, £58 in Sussex and £50 in Oxfordshire, and Osward held £26, from a total of £109 including £65 in Kent, where he was also sheriff. Donald Henson, The English Elite in 1066: Gone but not forgotten (Hockwold-cum-Wilton 2001), pp. 20–23, 26–27, 32–34, 39, 49–50, 64–65, 70, 73, 85, 179–181.
  2. This was Oswald, whose brother Wulfwold, Abbot of Chertsey and Bath, died in 1084. Oswald was one of the small number of English landowners who managed to increase their holdings in the wake of the conquest: his estates, centred on Effingham, were valued at £18 a year in 1066, but the acquisition of additional manors raised this to £35 by 1086. His descendants, the de La Leigh family, relinquished the majority of their Surrey lands in the 12th century, but remained landowners in the county until the early 14th century. One of them, William de La Leigh, served as Sheriff of Surrey in 1267.
  3. Besides the castles built or rebuilt in stone, remains of Norman castles of earth and timber have been identified at Abinger, Cranleigh, Thunderfield, and Walton-on-the-Hill. [42]

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