30 Heritage Open Days in Surrey

Claremont Mansion

Claremont Mansion - Credit: SUR SEP17 HERITAGE OPEN DAYS

From historic streets to mysterious gems, Heritage Open Day weekend throws open the doors of Surrey’s hidden heritage. Matthew Williams shines a light on 30 of the best places to visit

1. Castle Street Architectural Walk

10 Castle Street, Farnham GU9 7HR

Among Surrey’s most picturesque streets, Castle Street is lined with beautiful architectural treasures. Retired architect and honorary president of the Farnham Trust, Michael Blower, will lead a walk revealing the stories behind the famous Georgian street.

Opening times (walk only): Sunday September 10, 2.30pm (approximately 90 minutes)

Booking essential: sfbrads@btinternet.com

2. Charterhouse

Godalming GU7 2DX

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One of the country’s great schools, founded in 1611, Charterhouse moved away from insalubrious surroundings in London to its current site in 1872. Guided tours of the South African cloisters, the Founder’s Chapel, the Memorial Chapel, the Main Hall, the Library and the Scholars’ Court will take place.

Opening times (guided tours only): Saturday September 9, 10am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm

Booking essential: Through Godalming Museum on 01483 426510

3. Chilworth

Gunpowder Mills

Blacksmith Lane, Chilworth GU4 8NE

Built in 1626 by the East India Company, these mills expanded rapidly when acquired in 1885 by a consortium, including a number of leading German gunpowder makers. A downturn in the demand for explosives at the end of the First World War led to its closure in 1920. This event will feature a BBQ and tours. No booking required.

Opening times: Sunday September 10, 12.30pm to 3pm. Note: there is no vehicular access to the site.

4. Claremont Mansion

Esher KT10 9HZ

As a former home to Queen Victoria, the exiled French monarchy and the Hawker Aircraft Company, this building is now home to Claremont Fan Court School and boasts a rich past. Located next to the National Trust’s Claremont Landscape Gardens, take a tour to unearth the royal, political and social history.

Opening times: Saturday September 9, 11am to 5pm.

Booking preferred: 01372 473727 / heritage@claremont.surrey.sch.uk

5. Cobham Heritage Day

Throughout Cobham

Church Street, St Andrew’s Church and Church Yard, Church Gate House Gardens and the Leg O’Mutton Field are set to celebrate the village’s history. Cedar House (opposite Cobham Mill) will be opening for tours between 11am and 3.30pm. The day culminates with Cobham Duck Race. No booking required .

Opening times: Saturday September 9, 11am to 4pm. Note: All day parking is available for £1 on the Leg O’Mutton Field.

6. Coombe Conduit

Lord Chancellor Walk, Coombe Lane West, Kingston KT2 7HE

For 350 years, Coombe Conduit formed part of a system that collected water from nearby springs and channelled it to Hampton Court Palace. One of three such conduits that supplied the palace, the remaining structure represents an intriguing and ingenious Tudor waterworks system. No booking required.

Opening times: Saturday September 9 and Sunday September 10, 12noon to 4pm

7. Farnham Pottery

Wrecclesham GU10 4QJ

Opened in 1872 by farmer potter Absalom Harris, Farnham Pottery is a rare surviving example of a Victorian country pottery. In 1998, when the unique buildings were in danger of demolition the property was acquired by the Farnham Building Preservation Trust which, over 12 years, gradually brought it back into use. Farnham Pottery, now privately owned, is run as a centre for ceramics and creative industries. No booking required.

Opening times: Saturday September 9 and Sunday September 10, 10am to 5pm

8. Guildford Castle

Castle Street, Guildford GU1 3SX

Located at the heart of our county town, Guildford Castle was a favourite royal residence back in the 13th century. For one day only, it’s free to head to the top of the Great Tower for a 360 degree panoramic view. A heritage explorers trail will be running from Guildford Museum. No booking required.

Opening times: Saturday September 9, 10am to 5pm

9. Guildford Cathedral

Stag Hill, Guildford GU2 7UP

Consecrated in 1961 in the presence of the Queen, Guildford Cathedral is a prime example of community spirit in action with a buy a brick campaign needed for its completion when it was built. Following a huge renovation, which saw the nave filled with an intricate network of scaffolding, should have returned to normal in time for HODs. As a special treat (for the athletically inclined), climb the 249 steps up the tower for views of Guildford and beyond.

Opening times: Saturday September 9, tower tours at 2.30pm and 3.30pm; Sunday September 10, tower tours at 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.3pm. Cathedral tours are available on both days at 2.30pm. Booking essential: 01483 547862

10. Hope Mausoleum

Deepdene Avenue, Dorking RH5 4BX

Venture into the peaceful interior of the last remaining standing example of a magnificent building designed by Regency taste-maker Thomas Hope. Originally built in 1818 to honour Thomas’ young son Charles, the Hope Mausoleum is where Thomas and his family were finally laid to rest. This unique structure was literally dug out of the ground only a few years ago and has been beautifully restored as part of the Heritage Lottery funded Deepdene Trail project. No booking required.

Opening times: Sunday September 10, 10am to 3pm

11. Jellicoe Roof Garden

High Street, Guildford GU1 3DU

Up in the clouds over Guildford, you’ll find the Jellicoe Roof Garden at House of Fraser. Designed in the 1950s by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, one of the 20th century’s leading landscape architects, it was inspired by the launch of the Russian earth-orbiting satellite, Sputnik. The garden almost disappeared completely in the 1980s when it fell into disrepair but has since been rejuvenated and is now a Grade II registered site. No booking required.

Opening times: Friday September 8, 9am to 5pm; Saturday September 9, 9am to 5pm; and Sunday September 10, 11am to 4pm

Note: The Tea Terrace has an exclusive buy one, get one free offer on cream teas and afternoon teas for Heritage Open Days customers.

12. Wienerberger

Factory Tour

Ewhurst Works, Horsham Road, Walliswood, Ockley RH5 5QH

Featured in last month’s Surrey Life because of the latest dinosaur discovery, Wienerberger’s Ewhurst factory is one of the largest brick manufacturing sites in the south east. It opened in the 1920s and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its geology – ie, there are probably more dinosaurs to be discovered. No booking needed.

Opening times: Saturday September 9, 10am to 3pm

13. King Edward’s Witley

Wormley GU8 5SG

Founded in 1553 in the City of London, this year marks the 150th anniversary of King Edward’s being located at Witley. The school was originally created with the vision of providing a home and education for poor children living in London before relocating to allow the pupils to benefit from the fresh air and green countryside of Surrey.

Opening times (guided tours only): Sunday September 10, 1am and 3pm

Booking essential: Through Godalming Museum on 01483 426410

14. The Meath

Westbrook House, Westbrook Road, Godalming GU7 2QH

A large Georgian house built circa 1785, Westbrook House features a white stucco frontage overlooking a sweeping lawn. Most of the interior dates from the 19th century with decorative Adam-style plasterwork on the stair hall ceiling. From 1718 until his death in 1785 it was the home of General James Oglethorpe, founder of the State of Georgia (read more at surreylife.co.uk). These days it’s home to The Meath Epilepsy Trust.

Opening times (guided tours only): Saturday September 9, 10am, 11am, 2pm and 3pm

Booking essential: Through Godalming Museum on 01483 426510

15. Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Holmbury St Mary RH5 6NT

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the UK’s largest university space laboratory – UCL’s MSSL. Visit to learn about the world-leading role they play in international space science. At MSSL, instruments are developed to advance space technology, telescopes are built to be launched into space and scientists use the data to study the sun, planets, galaxies, black holes and more.

Opening times: Saturday September 9, 1pm to 5pm

Booking essential: boxoffice@molevalley.gov.uk

16. Rowhurst Forge

Oxshott Road, Leatherhead KT22 0EN

The Fire & Iron Gallery is a hidden Surrey gem in its own right – it’s the place that created the Dorking Cockerel, Thursley National Nature Reserve’s giant dragonfly and more. For Heritage Open Days, you can enjoy a guided tour of the private historic house at the heart of the estate, Rowhurst, as well as learn more about its history – from the Iron Age gold coin found in 1960 to the coming of the M25 that dramatically split the estate in the 1980s.

Open times (guided tours only): Thursday September 7, 4pm; Saturday September 9, 4pm

Booking essential: 01372 386453 / lucy@fireandiron.co.uk

17. Royal Automobile Club

Epsom KT18 7EW

Visit Woodcote Park, home to the world famous Royal Automobile Club, where you will find the recently renovated Motor House – winner of the 2017 Surrey Heritage Awards – before enjoying a guided tour of the historic clubhouse and grounds.

Opening times (guided tours only): Saturday September 9 and Sunday September 10, 9.30am to 11pm

Booking essential: royalautomobileclub.co.uk

18. The Royal Grammar School

High Street, Guildford GU1 3BB

A Grade I Listed building from the late 16th century and remodelled in 1889, Ticketed talks will take place in the Chained Library every 30 minutes from 9.30am to 12noon and 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Timed tickets available on the day.

Opening times: Saturday September 9, 9.30am to 4pm

19. Shah Jahan Mosque

149 Oriental Road, Woking GU22 7BA

The first purpose-built mosque in Great Britain, Shah Jahan was designed by a local architect called William Chambers and paid for by the Begum of Bhopal. It has housed some great personalities like Lord Headly, Abdullah Quilliam and Muhammad Marmaduke Picktall. No booking required.

Opening times: Saturday September 9, 12noon to 3pm

Note: Visitors are requested to dress modestly as a sign of respect for the place of worship.

20. Sime Art Gallery

Worplesdon GU3 3RF

This gem of a gallery was purpose built in 1956 and exhibits more than 800 drawings, paintings, theatrical and local caricatures, watercolour and oil landscapes, as well as fantasy oil paintings, books and letters in a variety of artistic styles by Victorian illustrator Sidney Herbert Sime. No booking required.

Opening times: Friday September 8, 2pm to 4pm; Saturday September 9 and Sunday September 10, 10am to 4pm

21. St Martha-on-the-Hill

St Martha’s Hill, Chilworth

This Grade II Listed hill top church has far-reaching views over the Surrey countryside and beyond. The hilltop has been a place of worship for more than 1,000 years. The many interesting features inside the church include a drawing by EH Shepard, the original illustrator of Winnie the Pooh. No booking required.

Opening times: Saturday September 9 and Sunday September 10, 11am to 5pm

Note: Access on foot from two car parks in Halfpenny Lane and Guildford Lane, followed by a long steep walk on a sandy path.

22. St Teresa’s School

Effingham RH5 6ST

The setting of the former Effingham Hill House, which was built circa 1799 for General Oliver de Lancey, the house that now forms part of the school buildings has many original features. The school was founded by a teaching order of Roman Catholic nuns in 1928 and today is a thriving girl’s school. No booking required.

Opening times (with regular guided tours through the day): Saturday September 9, 9am to 5pm

23. The Great Barn

Wanborough GU3 2JR

The Great Barn is the oldest standing wooden structure in south east England and an impressive example of 14th century building design. Wanborough Manor was a training school for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War and, as well as tours of the barn and surrounding hamlet, there will be a special exhibition and film based on the life of Noor Inayat Kahn – one of the best known agents to have trained at Wanborough. The 10,000 years of Wanborough’s history features its links to Waverley Abbey. No booking required.

Opening times: Saturday September 9 and Sunday September 10, 10am to 5pm

24. Waverley Abbey

farnham GU9 8EP

Discover the rise and fall of the hauntingly atmospheric Waverley Abbey by joining guide Roger Jude for a walk describing the Abbey Church ruins, the Chapter House, the Monks’ dormitory and the undercroft of the Lay Brothers’ dormitory. No booking required.

Opening times: Sunday September 10, tours at 9am and 11am

25. West Horsley Place

Epsom Road, West Horsley KT24 6AN

A medieval manor house estate, West Horsley Place dates from around 1450. It was added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register in 2016 but now belongs to the Mary Roxburghe Trust, a charity committed to creating a vibrant arts centre there. In the orchard, you’ll find Grange Park Opera’s Theatre in the Woods and this will also open for tours on the Sunday (booking required at grangeparkopera.co.uk).

Opening times: Saturday September 9, 12noon to 4pm; Sunday September 10, 11am to 4pm.

Booking essential: 01483 282032

26. West Street

Dorking RH4 1BU

Step back in time and experience a scene which has scarcely changed in a hundred years. The main landmarks are as they were at the end of the 1800s. West Street is a conservation area and has been known for over 50 years for its antique shops. Pick up a guide to the history of the street and its buildings from Mullins Coffee House.

Opening times: Thursday September 7 to Sunday September 10, 10am to 5pm

Note: Pubs, tea and coffee houses and restaurants are offering a 10% discount on production of the West Street HODs leaflet.

27. Royal Holloway

Egham TW20 0EX

Visit for the truly special Grade I listed Founder’s Building, Picture Gallery, Chapel and extensive grounds. Commissioned by entrepreneur Thomas Holloway and opened by Queen Victoria in 1886, it’s modelled on the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley. No booking required.

Opening times (various guided tours): Sunday September 10, 11am to 5pm

28. Abbot’s Hospital

Guildford GU1 3AJ

Framing a picturesque corner of the High Street with Holy Trinity Church and the Three Pigeons pub, Abbot’s Hospital is a Jacobean almshouse still used for its original purpose. It was founded by George Abbot, former Archbishop of Canterbury and a translator of the King James Bible.

Opening times: Thursday September 7, 11am and 12noon; Friday September 8, 11am and 12noon; Saturday September 9, 10am to 1.45pm. Guided tours only.

29. Box Hill School

Mickleham RH5 6EA

Dalewood House was constructed in 1883 by a local developer, Charles J Fox. Its design is both mock Tudor and Gothic, and the interior is full of hand-painted tiles, stained glass windows and fine wood panelling. It was converted into a school after the Second World War.

Opening times: Saturday September 9, 10am, 11.30am and 1pm. Guided tours only. Booking essential. boxoffice@molevalley.gov.uk

30. Brockham Limeworks

Brockham RH3 7HA

Now a scheduled ancient monument, important nature reserve and bat hibernation site, these chalkpits and lime kilns were last worked in 1936. There will be short guided walk to see the chalkpits, kilns and mine shaft. No booking required.

Opening times: Thursday September 7 and Friday September 8, 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm; Sunday September 10, 10.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm.

Note: Parking in Brockham Lane.