Things to do in Surrey 2016 - more than 60 dates for your diary

Artist Alexandra Creswell is patron of Surrey Hills CowParade 2016

Artist Alexandra Creswell is patron of Surrey Hills CowParade 2016 - Credit: SUR JAN16 DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 2016

From psychedelic cows taking over the Surrey Hills to Martians returning to Woking, it certainly promises to be another action-packed year for our county

British comics will head to Woking's The Lightbox (Copyright: Acme Museum Services)

British comics will head to Woking's The Lightbox (Copyright: Acme Museum Services) - Credit: SUR JAN16 DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 2016

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2016


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1 Head to the home of motor sport, as Brooklands in Weybridge welcomes in 2016 with their annual New Year’s Day Gathering. The perfect occasion for all motoring enthusiasts, there will be everything from classic motors to the most state-of-the-art supercars on display.

2 Hundreds of brightly-coloured cows are set to decorate the hills, farms, towns, schools and landmarks across Surrey over the year ahead as part of the public art event CowParade.

3 RHS Garden Wisley, near Woking, will once again be brightening up our cold, winter days with their Butterflies in the Glasshouse extravaganza from Saturday January 16.

4 The annual Surrey Life readers’ photography exhibition takes place at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking, from Monday January 18 to Sunday January 24. Admission is free.

5 Get some style tips at the Rose Fashion Show in Kingston on Thursday January 28. Presented by Style Bureau, collections include work, leisure and evening wear.

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6 In a display to rival Wisley’s butterflies, Kew Gardens adds its own vibrant hues to winter with its orchid showcase from Saturday February 6.

7 Guildford Shakespeare Company begin their 10th anniversary year with a production of The Winter’s Tale at the newly-restored Holy Trinity Church from Monday February 8 to Saturday February 27.

8 At The Lightbox gallery in Woking, John Constable: Observing the Weather will provide an in-depth examination of the celebrated artist’s fascination with the elements from Saturday February 13 to Sunday May 8.

9 Expect woolly madness at Farnham Maltings from Friday February 19 to Sunday February 21 at their annual festival of knitting, unravel.

10 In March, Leith Hill Place reopens with the exciting addition of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ original study piano, which has been gifted to the National Trust by his widow’s niece, together with other personal items such as his pocket watch and bedside photo of his father.

11 The Surrey Half Marathon is a closed-road running event between Guildford and Woking on Sunday March 13. Also look out for the Bacchus Marathon at Denbies, Dorking, the Run Reigate Half Marathon and Richmond Running Festival, all planned for this September, among others.


12 Discerning beer-lovers know that Farnham Beerex is the place to be from Thursday April 21 to Saturday April 23. There are also beer festivals in Oxted, Redhill, Woking and Guildford during the year. Here's some fantastic Surrey breweries...

13 Surbiton Food Festival kicks things off for the foodies on Saturday April 30. Later in the year, be sure to check out the Surrey Life award-winning Woking Food & Drink Festival, as well as the festivals in Farnham and Haslemere, all planned for September.

14 Surrey born and bred, chart-topping troubadour Newton Faulkner heads to Guildford for a homecoming gig at G Live on Tuesday April 12. He studied at the town’s Academy of Contemporary Music.


15 All the world’s a stage but Leatherhead becomes the centre of attention in May as the town’s Sir Michael Caine championed drama festival encourages all sorts of theatrics from across the county.

16 While Wentworth may have made the headlines recently for its increasingly selective membership policy, the BMW PGA Championship is set to return as normal from Tuesday May 24. But can it match last year’s tournament, which saw South Korean Byeong-Hun An set a new record score?

17 Bringing rural life to the heart of Guildford, the Surrey County Show takes place on Monday May 30. Elsewhere, don your boots for Cowpie in Lingfield and Blindley Heath in South Godstone (also in May); Cranleigh (in June); and Edenbridge & Oxted, Egham and Chertsey (all in August).

18 Although the full ‘Provence-style’ bloom happens later in the summer, Mayfield Lavender reopens for the season in May – check out their shop for gift ideas and pop into the café.


19 The umbrella festival for events as diverse as Walkfest, the Town Centre Cycle Race and The Electric Theatre Summer Film Festival, Guildford Summer Festival takes place from the start of June till the end of August, promising something for everyone.

20 The Hampton Court Palace Music Festival will be back again this summer with world-class acts in the spectacular Tudor Courtyard.

21 Ranked the greatest flat race in the world and one of Great Britain’s most traditional days out, Epsom Derby Day brings the Queen and a crowd of many thousands to the town on Saturday June 4.

22 For a chance to go behind the scenes with some of Surrey’s most creative residents, pencil in a visit to Surrey Artists Open Studios, running from Saturday June 4 to Sunday June 19. Showcasing some of our county’s leading artists, there’s always plenty to inspire.

23 Set in a large, early Victorian country house with mature wooded gardens in the midst of beautiful Albury Heath, the Fircroft Summer Exhibition is another chance to explore exceptional local art during the same dates as Surrey Artists Open Studios.

24 Former Faces drummer Kenney Jones will be dusting off his contacts book to put together another stellar Rock ‘n’ Horsepower concert at Hurtwood Park Polo Club, Ewhurst, on Saturday June 18.

25 Organised in association with the Vintage Sports-Car Club, the Brooklands Double Twelve Motorsport Festival celebrates Brooklands’ rich motoring history on Saturday June 18 and Sunday June 19.

26 The New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham will be celebrating 50 years of being based at Waggon Yard this June. Watch this space for more information on the lead-up to their Surrey Artist of the Year competition (and read more about this year’s event here).

27 Those of a canine persuasion will no doubt be flocking to Dogfest in their thousands again as Channel 4’s The Supervet, Noel Fitzpatrick, puts our furry friends through their paces. And look out for a few celebrity dog-lovers too.


28 For alternative entertainment, these days it’s all about the Fringe! The likes of Guildford, Woking and Haslemere fringe festivals launch in July, bringing with them zany comedy, independent music and all sorts of onstage antics to Surrey’s towns.

29 Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans may be busy overseeing the return of Top Gear to Dunsfold Park, but he’s also not averse to turning up at The Supercar Event, which takes place in the same location. Run in aid of the Children’s Trust in Tadworth, this year’s festival takes place on Saturday July 2 and Sunday July 3.

30 Stunning at any time of year, Hampton Court Palace will positively bloom from Tuesday July 5 to Sunday July 10 as the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show takes centre stage. Another horticultural highlight is the Wisley Flower Show in September (read more about that on page 176).

31 Launched in 2009, the International Youth Arts Festival in Kingston has become one of the world’s largest and most diverse youth events and is considered by some to be a precursor to the Edinburgh Fringe. This year, it runs from Friday July 8 to Sunday July 17.

32 July is your chance to spend a night under the stars with a difference, as the National Trust throws open some of its top destinations for The Big Camp on Saturday July 16.

33 Fan of cheese? Fan of chilli? Well, head to Shalford Park, Guildford, on Saturday July 23 and Sunday July 24 and you’ll find a festival celebrating both.

34 This month marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter. Whether there will be any local celebrations of this world-famous children’s author, who used to visit Surrey to stay with her aunt and uncle at Woodcote Lodge in West Horsley, is yet to be announced.

35 Believe it or not, it’s been 10 years since Brooklands’ Concorde G-BBDG opened its doors. Celebrations are still to be confirmed but a glass of bubbly is sure to be close at hand…

36 The RideLondon-Surrey will once again see amateur and professional cyclists sweep through our county’s leafy lanes on Sunday July 31.


37 Cor! By Gum! Zarjaz! So goes the story of British comics so far, which will be told in a special exhibition at Woking’s The Lightbox. Discover old favourites and what’s cool today from Saturday August 6. Find out why 2016 is the year of the geek in Surrey!

38 The ever-popular Weyfest music festival returns to Tilford’s Rural Life Centre from Friday August 19 to Sunday August 21.

39 Surrey Sculpture Society add their magic touch to RHS Garden Wisley, near Woking, from Saturday August 20 to Sunday September 25, with more Surrey shows expected to be announced through the year.

40 The Wings & Wheels air and motor show takes off at Dunsfold Park, Cranleigh, on Saturday August 27 and Sunday August 28.

41 The BBC Good Food Festival brings a host of top chefs and producers to Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, over the August bank holiday weekend.

42 Tuesday August 30 would have been landscape designer Capability Brown’s 300th birthday. With Gatton Park, near Reigate, and Claremont Landscape Garden, Esher, bearing his mark, look out for events.


43 Expect actors from film and TV, movie props, guest talks and more at Guildford’s first Comic-Con at Guildford Spectrum on Saturday September 3 and Sunday September 4.

44 Always hugely intriguing, Heritage Open Days (HODs) offers the chance to really get beneath Surrey’s skin and behind usually-locked doors from Thursday September 8.

45 Back with a bang for 2016, the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards will be bringing the best of our county’s food and drink scene to Foxhills, Ottershaw, on Thursday September 8.

46 The Big Arts Show is set to host its first Surrey event at Secretts of Milford, near Godalming, on Saturday September 10 and Sunday September 11, showcasing over 150 exhibitors, workshops, painting classes and poetry readings, a real ale bar, eateries and live music.

47 The ever-expanding feast of flavours that is the Surrey Farm, Food and Drink Festival will be tantalising taste buds from September 10 to September 24.

48 Whether the Martians will return to Horsell Common to celebrate or not, sci-fi fans will be descending on Woking to celebrate HG Wells’ 150th birthday. The big day is Wednesday September 21 but events are planned throughout the year.


49 On Saturday October 1 and Sunday October 2, the Surrey Hills Wood Fair celebrates all that is good about wood at Bramley’s beautiful Birtley Estate.

50 The Esher Hall Antiques & Fine Art Fair brings around 35 specialist exhibitors from across the UK to Sandown Park racecourse from Friday October 7 to Sunday October 9.

51 Turning the page of the latest best-sellers with a showcase of top authors, Guildford Book Festival will create a new chapter from Sunday October 9 to Sunday October 16.

52 For spooky goings-on this Halloween, why not check out the Ghost Tour of Guildford or the Reigate Ghost Walk for a little bit of the towns’ more ghoulish history.

53 Tentatively pencilled in for the autumn, all being well Surrey residents should be able to walk the completed Hope Trail in Dorking around this time of the year.

54 A town renowned for its crafts, Farnham Maltings’ Festival of Crafts provides a fitting centrepiece for the area’s overflowing creativity.


55 Now held in a heated marquee rather than the spectacular nave, Guildford Cathedral Winter Fair takes place on Friday November 18 and Saturday November 19.

56 There are few more magical places in the country to go ice skating (or to see celebrities falling over...) than at the Hampton Court Palace ice rink, in East Molesey, which usually launches around November-time.


57 The Ramblers’ Festival of Winter Walks offers an added incentive to explore Surrey’s great outdoors in December and January – make sure to keep a copy of our top winter pub suggestions to take with you!

58 Every December for more than 20 years, the Wintershall Nativity play has been performed at the Wintershall Estate nearly Bramley. It takes place in an outside barn, complete with shepherds and sheep, donkeys and the three wise men on horseback.

59 One of the hottest music tickets around, former Manfred Mann star Paul Jones hosts a charity concert at Cranleigh Arts Centre every December. Previous years have featured the likes of Paul Weller, Van Morrison and Eric Clapton in the intimate surrounds of this small Surrey venue.

60 Horse racing aficionados get to end the year in style, with both the Tingle Creek Christmas Festival at Sandown and Kempton’s William Hill Winter Festival to bring the year to an exciting close.


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For access to our online archive of celebrity interviews, key features, top restaurant recommendations and more, flick through and you’ll also find our special Best of 2015 magazine