24 local celebs share their favourite Icons of Surrey

St Catherine's Chapel (Photo: Matthew Williams)

St Catherine's Chapel (Photo: Matthew Williams) - Credit: Archant

Over the years, Surrey Life has interviewed most of our county’s famous residents – with each espousing at length about why they choose to call the area home. Here, we celebrate a selection of Surrey’s icons through our celebrities’ eyes, and invite you to share yours...

The ruins at Painshill Park (Photo: Fred Holmes)

The ruins at Painshill Park (Photo: Fred Holmes) - Credit: Archant

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2015


“I don’t really go for long walks nowadays, but I do still visit Richmond Park regularly, which I enjoy, or Kew Gardens perhaps, but I seldom eat out or anything like that. I tend to stay very close to home these days.”

Sir David Attenborough, naturalist


“Nonsuch Park, between Cheam and Ewell Village, is very nice. Also, in the summer, it’s not far to take a picnic up to Hampton Court Palace, where you can hire a rowing boat for a relaxing trip down the Thames.”

Tim Vine, comedian


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“Driving down from London, there was always this moment going through Limpsfield when you felt the town was behind you. We always said we’d move here (near Oxted) and eventually we did in 1975 – and we’ve been here ever since.”

Sir Richard Stilgoe, songwriter


”The view from Leith Hill Tower is to die for – you can see seven counties – and there’s a lovely tea shop too. The hill also boasts the highest cricket pitch in England, where I watch one of my sons – and sometimes a grandson – play cricket every summer.”

Virginia McKenna, wildlife campaigner


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“I like the National Trust’s Hatchlands Park in East Clandon. I played there a couple of times with The Blues Band, but I’m not sure if they have gigs any more.”

Paul Jones, musician


“The winding River Thames from the Ornamental Gardens in Richmond is a lovely spot. It’s one of those quintessential English views. I’ve owned several boats on the Thames and my favourite stretch is the approach to Hampton Court.”

Rick Astley, singer


“The view from the middle of Epsom Downs racecourse is amazing. For 360 degrees, all you can see is big sky, and it’s my favourite place to take the dog for a walk.”

Andrea McLean, TV presenter


“I think Box Hill is magnificent. There’s always some great training for me out there, which I love, and if I do some hill sprints or stamina training on the inclines, the reward at the top is incredible, with such amazing views of the North Downs.”

David Weir, Paralympian


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“The view from the Star and Garter building on Richmond Hill is pretty special. You can see the meadows and the River Thames winding through – and I like to imagine all the history that’s taken place there.”

James Cosmo, actor


“I love the view from Richmond Hill down to the river. The Prince’s Trust dug up broken paths and reseeded grasses and wild flowers, and I cut the opening ribbon with Sir David Attenborough, who lives around the corner.”

Jerry Hall, actress


“I particularly like the cast room at Watts Gallery in Compton. GF Watts’ allegorical work is very poetic and beautiful. They also serve very good tea in charming mismatched china.”

Nic Fiddian-Green, sculptor


“As well as regular exhibitions, Watts Gallery has an excellent café and bookshop, with fascinating books on the Victorians and their art.”

Dame Jacqueline Wilson, author


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“I loved the view from my old flat. When I lived on the river, I could see Kingston Bridge lit up blue at night. It’s such a beautiful view and I miss it terribly.”

Erin Boag, dancer


“I love nature and I can get lost in Richmond Park. And the Isabella Plantation in spring with all the rhododendrons is lovely.”

Jenny Seagrove, actress


“The Devil’s Punch Bowl near Hindhead is always a favourite view. I worked in Guildford for a while and often passed this stunning natural amphitheatre.”

Shane Lynch, singer


“I enjoy visiting St Martha’s Hill, between Guildford and Chilworth, where we go walking. The view from the church across the Surrey Hills is beautiful.”

Mark Austin, newsreader


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“The view from the top of St Martha’s Hill, near Guildford, is lovely. We always stop at our favourite bench near the church to look out over Newlands Corner and other parts of the Surrey Hills. You can also see our village, which is nice.”

Roger Black, Olympian


“Take a walk up to St Catherine’s Hill near Guildford. There’s a ruined chapel up there that is pretty atmospheric. It’s a great view too.”

Bruce Foxton, musician


“I love Abinger Hammer. I ride through it on my training sessions and there’s a really pretty picnic area on the village green, where I’m often tempted to stop!”

Joanna Rowsell, Olympian


“The view that always gladdens my heart is from the top of Stag Hill when I travel up the A3, particularly at night. When I see that wonderful velvet sky and the stars, I know I’m nearly home.”

Dame Penelope Keith, actress


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“Painshill Park, near Cobham, is one of the finest remaining examples of an 18th century English landscape garden. It’s also the perfect spot for a family picnic.”

Bonnie Langford, actress


“One of my favourite memories of Box Hill is running round on the beautiful, grassy hills playing ‘It’ with my friends in the summer, after a long, yet unforgettable, six-hour hike on our year-six geography trip. It’s an amazing place.”

Tyger Drew-Honey, actor


“I have such incredible memories of exploring Box Hill with my grandparents when I was younger, so I’m very pleased it’s a National Trust site and is being protected for future generations to discover.”

Mollie King, singer


“I love visiting Ham House as it has beautiful, calm, relaxing grounds, a great house to have a nosey in and some fantastic children’s activities on offer. A great memory of mine is when I visited with my family a few years ago and we took part in the Easter egg hunt there.”

Nell McAndrew, model and fitness expert


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