Things to do in Surrey 2014: more than 60 dates for your diary

Butterflies in the Glasshouse, by Matthew Williams

Butterflies in the Glasshouse, by Matthew Williams - Credit: Archant

Make sure you don’t miss out in 2014 by taking note of this selection of Surrey’s most highly anticipated events

Balletboyz, by Hugo Glendinning

Balletboyz, by Hugo Glendinning - Credit: Archant

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2014


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Festival of Science at Royal Holloway

Festival of Science at Royal Holloway - Credit: Archant




Hampton Court Palace Music Festival, by Stephen Frak

Hampton Court Palace Music Festival, by Stephen Frak - Credit: Archant

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47 SEP Heritage Open Days returns and if you’ve ever wanted to visit a roman villa, the earliest public lending library in England, a private illustrators’ gallery or any other Surrey building of importance usually hidden behind locked doors, then this could be your chance. This year, it takes place between Thursday September 11 and Sunday September 14. More @


48 SEP Surrey Farm and Food Week brings a host of tasty farm walks and food fairs, culminating in the Surrey County Ploughing Match and Country Fair. More @

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough - Credit: Archant


49 SEP An illuminated display will be a highlight of the Guildford Boat Gathering at the National Trust’s Dapdune Wharf, which is a real celebration of river life in Surrey. More @ To get a taste of boating for yourselves, be sure to check out the likes of Guildford Boat House and Godalming Packetboat Company throughout the year.



Sir Michael Caine at Leatherhead Drama Festival, by Andy Newbold

Sir Michael Caine at Leatherhead Drama Festival, by Andy Newbold - Credit: Archant


50 OCT+ One of the first houses in Britain to become a World War One hospital and today home to the Surrey Regiment Museum, the National Trust’s Clandon Park will be transformed into a World War One surgery from October to December 2014. More @

Pigs at Surrey County Show, by Dan Tsantilis

Pigs at Surrey County Show, by Dan Tsantilis - Credit: Archant


51 OCT A celebration of all that is good about wood in England’s most wooded county, the Surrey Hills Wood Fair at Birtley House, Bramley, includes woodcraft such as carving, willow-weaving and hurdle making, as well as chainsaw sculpture, woodland walks and wood fuel suggestions on Saturday October 4 and Sunday October 5. More @


52 OCT The Esher Hall Antiques & Fine Art Fair returns for another year to Esher Hall at Sandown Park racecourse from Friday October 10 to Sunday October 12. Launched in 2008, the fair features over 30 specialist exhibitors from across the UK. More @

The Supercar Event, by Andy Newbold

The Supercar Event, by Andy Newbold - Credit: Archant

53 OCT An expanded Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards will return to the beautiful surrounds of Foxhills in Ottershaw, even bigger and better than the first time round. Who will take the culinary crowns this year? Watch this space for voting...


54 OCT+ There are more than your average number of spooky goings-on in Guildford and Reigate throughout the year, but with Halloween on the mind their ghost tours are particularly worth exploring. The one in Guildford starts at Holy Trinity Church (see, while in Reigate they leave from the Market Stores (


Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, by Sarah Cuttle

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, by Sarah Cuttle - Credit: Archant

55 OCT This year’s winner of the Surrey Artist of the Year will be announced in October at the New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham. Who will take current incumbent Janet Crook’s crown this year? More @


56 OCT Farnham Maltings hosts its 18th festival of crafts, a celebration of contemporary crafts in one of England’s creative hot spots. The event brings together over 80 designer-makers displaying ceramics, textiles, glass, metal, jewellery and wood. More @


Mayfield Lavender

Mayfield Lavender - Credit: Archant

57 OCT The newly refurbished Cumberland Suite at Hampton Court Palace will re-open with a selection of paintings from the Royal Collection. More @



The London-Surrey Classic, by Andy Newbold

The London-Surrey Classic, by Andy Newbold - Credit: Archant


58 NOV+ While still open during the start of 2014, the spectacular Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink’s main run sees Henry VIII’s favourite palace transformed into a winter wonderland from November. More @


Wings and Wheels, by Pete Gardner

Wings and Wheels, by Pete Gardner - Credit: Archant



Heritage Open Days at St Martha's, by Matthew Williams

Heritage Open Days at St Martha's, by Matthew Williams - Credit: Archant

59 DEC Kempton Park has in excess of 30,000 visitors over the two days of the William Hill Winter Festival every December, usually enjoying the music and food and drink as much as the horse racing. More @


60 DEC A fixture in the Cranleigh calendar, Blues legend Paul Jones hosts an annual concert that has had everyone from up-and-comers to local hero Eric Clapton taking to the stage at Cranleigh Arts Centre. Tickets sell out like multi-platinum albums, so keep an eye on





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2014 so far...



1 JAN+ This year, artist Jane Wafer’s gigantic chrysalis sculptures will accompany the always stunning Butterflies in the Glasshouse at RHS Garden Wisley, near Woking, from Saturday January 18 to Sunday March 9. There will also be Flights of Fancy afternoon teas in the restaurant, daily from 2pm, during the event. More @


2 JAN+ The fifth Surrey Hills International Music Festival kicks off in style with a special celebration concert by The Sitkovetsky Trio at Loseley Park near Guildford on Thursday January 23. The main run of the event will then take place in May with venues including Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Watts Gallery in Compton and Shere Village Hall. More @


3 JAN The very first Surrey Life photography exhibition, packed full of our readers’ beautiful pictures. will take place at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking from Monday January 20 until Sunday January 26. Featuring photos from our calendar (free with this issue), plus many more, admission is free. Read all about it on page 12.




4 FEB+ For the first time, distinctive works by celebrated artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) from major public collections in Britain will be brought together in one place: Woking. From Saturday February 8 to Sunday April 20, The Lightbox’s exhibition will also tell the story of how some of Renoir’s most significant works found their way into public museums and galleries. More @


5 FEB In another first – well, the doors have been shut for almost 300 years at least – Hampton Court Palace will see the opening of the only surviving ‘chocolate kitchens’ in the country. They’ll also host live Georgian chocolate making sessions. Mmm! More @

6 FEB+ Inspired by plant hunters past and present, the Orchid Festival at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is a great way to escape the winter blues, into a world of all things bright, beautiful and tropical. From Saturday February 8 to Sunday March 9, the Princess of Wales Conservatory is heated to a steamy 27C! More @


7 FEB Following triumphant UK and international appearances on stage and screen, Kingston’s own BalletBoyz bring two stunning dance pieces to G Live, Guildford, on Monday February 10. They then head to Richmond Theatre on Monday February 17 and Tuesday February 18. More @


8 FEB+ The vibrant town of Surbiton hosts a whole series of quirky events through the year, including the Seething Festival in February, the Surbiton Food Festival in May, the Seething Trycyclingathon in September, Surbiton Ski Sunday and the Seething Luge in October and the British Bread Golf Open in November! More @


9 FEB The sixth Farnham Maltings’ unravel festival will be expanding to three days in 2014, starting with a preview evening on Friday February 21. As always, the festival will feature hand-spun yarns, talks and workshops – plus the possibility of some guerrilla knitting. More @


10 FEB+ From busting myths about the brain to code breaking and building rollercoasters, the Royal Holloway Science Festival, running from Monday February 24 to Saturday March 1, unpacks a whole bundle of science know-how for all interested parties. More @


11 FEB+ Whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran, the UK’s biggest dedicated Triathlon Show at Sandown Park racecourse in Esher is the perfect place to start the season. From Friday February 28 to Sunday March 2, this is your opportunity to meet the world’s top triathletes and coaches and try all the latest kit. More @


12 FEB+ All eyes will be on England – and Twickenham - as the RBS 6 Nations arrives. The boys play at home against Ireland and Wales this year and continue to be based and trained at the luxury Pennyhill Park hotel in Bagshot. More @


13 FEB+ As the world celebrates Shakespeare’s 450th birthday in 2014, it’s looking like an action-packed year for Guildford Shakespeare Company. The company’s 20th production sees them return to Holy Trinity Church with Othello in February, April brings their Sonnet Walk Weekend and the summer will witness a double bill of Twelfth Night in the Castle Grounds and Henry V at Guildford Cathedral. Autumn will see another unusual addition: a staging of The Canterbury Tales. More @




14 MAR+ The first Surrey Half Marathon will launch on Sunday March 9, with a closed-road event between Guildford and Woking. Other long distance events for running fans include the Bacchus Marathon from Denbies (with wine tasting stations, of course!) and Surrey Care Trust’s 3 Peaks Challenge tackling Box Hill, The Nower and Leith Hill – both in September.


15 MAR+ Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Surrey Sculpture Society has grown from an initial membership of just 14 in 1994 to an organisation with over 350 members. 2014 sees them head for RHS Wisley, Beaulieu and Guildford Cathedral – with further venues to be confirmed. Plus there are rumours of a collaborative art event involving members of the public and a pop-up gallery to hopefully come to fruition.


16 MAR One of the most successful bands to have emerged from the UK punk scene, The Stranglers actually started out on their career path here in leafy Surrey. Originally known as The Guildford Stranglers, they will be returning to their hometown during their 40th anniversary year with a gig at G Live on Tuesday March 25. More @




17 APR Roald Dahl’s much-loved tale Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be brought to life at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew this Easter, from Saturday April 5 to Monday April 21. Get your golden ticket as 50 scrumptious years of Charlie and Willy Wonka are celebrated in partnership with the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. You’ll even find the Television Room relocated to the Princess of Wales Conservatory. More @


18 APR Written by best-selling author and long-time local resident Jacqueline Wilson, the tale of plucky Hetty Feather is set to be brought thrillingly to life on stage for Kingston’s Rose Theatre by award-winning scriptwriter Emma Reeves (CBBC’s The Story of Tracy Beaker) and Olivier Award nominated director Sally Cookson from Saturday April 5 to Sunday April 20. More @


19 APR+ While there are a number of beer festivals in Surrey, the main CAMRA supported ones are Farnham from Thursday April 10 to Saturday April 12, Egham from Thursday April 17 to Sunday April 20 and Woking on Friday November 7 and Saturday November 8. More @


20 APR+ Held at Sandown Park racecourse on Saturday April 26, the bet365 Gold Cup moves to a high quality all-jumps card for the first time, befitting the official finale of the National Hunt season in Britain. A date to look out for earlier in the year is the Grand Military Gold Cup on Friday March 7. Steeped in racing and military heritage, the feature race dates back to 1841. More @


21 APR+ Could GuilFest make a return to Stoke Park this summer or will it be a second round of Magic Summer Live? Watch this space! Music lovers still have plenty to keep them entertained throughout the year, whatever the genre of choice. Highlights include: the Ralph Vaughan Williams associated Leith Hill Musical Festival in April; Hampton Court Palace Festival in East Molesey, which includes a double-headline show from Rick Astley and Jason Donovan, in June; Kew the Music will be moving to a new location in the gardens for the first time in 30 years this July; while Redfest will be cranking up the volume near Redhill in the same month; and Weyfest will be bringing the summer to a chilled conclusion in the rustic surrounds of Tilford in August. Expect the major racecourses to throw their hats into the parade ring too!




22 MAY+ Set in three-and-a-half acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and heated to 24C (weather dependant), the Olympic-size pool at Guildford Lido reopens for the summer season from May to September. Having celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2013, this year they are set to make a splash with three new waterslides. More @


23 MAY The Sculpture Garden at Birtley House, Bramley, has grown year-on-year and showcases over 150 exhibits in a wide variety of media and styles. The sixth exhibition will take place from Saturday May 3 to Sunday June 1. More @


24 MAY+ Believed to originate from the 11th century, the Barons’ Cave was known to exist at the same time as Reigate Castle – local folklore has it that the barons held a secret meeting there on the way to Runnymede to sign the Magna Carta. It and the neighbouring Tunnel Caves are opened by Wealden Cave & Mine Society on various dates through the year, starting on Saturday May 10. More @


25 MAY+ Bookworms should keep an eye out for the Surrey Heath Literary Festival in May; Guildford Book Festival in October; and the Richmond-upon-Thames Literature Festival in November this year. World Book Night also takes place in April and there is usually a Surrey libraries event or two organised to coincide. For something a little different, The Cranston Library above the vestry St Mary’s Church, Reigate, was the first public lending library in England. Usually closed to the public, it does host occasional open days (notably during Heritage Open Days in September).


26 MAY Local acting companies compete for the Sir Michael Caine Awards at the annual Leatherhead Drama Festival. Depending on filming commitments, the Hollywood A-lister and long-time Leatherhead local is also known to hand out the awards on occasions.


27 MAY Once rotated around several of Britain’s finest courses, the BMW PGA Championship has called Wentworth in Virginia Water home since 1984. Millions from around the world will watch on to see if the likes of Luke Donald and Justin Rose can tee-up a challenge. Keep an eye out for the star-studded pro-am before the main event! More @


28 MAY Surrey County Show is the largest one-day agricultural show in the UK attracting up to 40,000 visitors and hundreds of top quality animals from giant beef bulls to bantam hens. This year, it takes place on Monday May 26. Other rural highlights include the likes of the Blindley Heath Show in South Godstone, and Cowpie Country Show in Betchworth, in May; and the Cranleigh Show, Edenbridge, and Oxted Show and Egham Royal Show in August. The only traditional agricultural show within the M25 takes place at Chertsey, also in August.


29 MAY? The date, topic and finer details are yet to be finalised but make sure to pencil in Sir David Attenborough’s annual not-to-be-missed wildlife lecture for the Environment Trust for Richmond on Thames. More @


30 MAY+ Savour the delights of Surrey’s food festival highlights this year, which include the Foodies Festival at Hampton Court Palace in May; Croydon in June; Godalming in July; and the Haslemere, Farnham and Woking festivals in September.




31 JUN Attracting an eclectic mix, from royalty and famous celebrities decked out in traditional morning suits, to gypsies and partygoers spanning the famous Hill in the centre of the course, the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs racecourse is always a grandstand occasion. This year, it takes place on Friday June 6 and Saturday June 7. More @


32 JUN+ Held since 1862, Walton and Weybridge Regatta in June is followed by Kingston Regatta in July, which has been running even longer, dating back to 1857, and then Sunbury Amateur Regatta in August. The Great River Race, meanwhile, is a spectacular boat race up the River Thames from the Docklands to Ham, near Richmond in September.


33 JUN+ Open gardens events in Surrey this year, mainly in June, are likely to include: Hidden Gardens of Grayshott; Bookham Open Gardens Day; Horsell Garden Safari; Kingswood, Tadworth and Walton Open Gardens; Shere Open Gardens; Sunbury Open Gardens; Tatsfield Garden Tour; and Woldingham Open Gardens. Of course, there will also be many National Gardens Scheme (NGS) openings as well – check out the front cover of this year’s Yellow Book, which features our very own gardening expert Leigh Clapp’s photography.


34 JUN Around 5,000 people attended the Brooklands Double Twelve Motorsport Festival 2013 and this year’s event is anticipated to be the biggest motoring competition held at Brooklands since 1939. Taking place on Saturday June 14 and Sunday June 15, it is being organised in association with the Vintage Sports-Car Club. More @


35 JUN+ Cartier’s third year of sponsoring the Queen’s Cup at Guards Polo Club, Egham, will inevitably bring glamour, style and elegance to the event’s high-goal polo. The Queen regularly attends finals day, which takes place on Sunday June 15. There’s also Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Ewhurst, Ascot Park Polo Club in Chobham and Ham Polo Club in Richmond to pleasure your polo passion.


36 JUN Held at Dunsfold Park, near Cranleigh – the home of Top Gear – The Supercar Event will host some of the greatest supercars available on Saturday June 21 and Sunday June 22, with Ferrari Enzos, Tesla Roadsters and Ultima Spiders and more likely to be on show. More @


37 JUN+ Artists and crafts-people open their studio doors to the public throughout June for Surrey Life favourite, Surrey Artists Open Studios – the perfect chance to see behind the scenes. Look out for their Christmas openings too for unique gift ideas.


38 JUN+ A popular performer of Shakespeare and burlesque from the age of nine, Ellen Terry was introduced to Surrey artist GF Watts in 1863 – they married a year later but it lasted only briefly. Watts Gallery in Compton will be hosting a landmark exhibition about this muse to artists and photographers. More @




39 JUL Kingston comes alive for the International Youth Arts Festival, as the very best in youth arts, selected from the UK and internationally, is showcased. Over 5,000 young people will come together to participate in workshops, projects and shows, performing their work in more than 300 events over 15 venues across the town. More @


40 JUL+ The world’s largest flower show, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show returns from Tuesday July 8 to Sunday July 13. This year sees exciting new features across the three zones of Inspire, Escape and Grow. Elsewhere, there are also gardening shows at Loseley Park, Guildford, in April and July; the Claygate Flower & Village Show in July; and the Wisley Flower Show in September.


41 JUL+ Though merely ruins these days, Woking Palace has an illustrious past. In its heyday, during the Tudor period, it was a hunting lodge of sorts for passing royals. The Friends of Woking Palace open the ruins on Saturday July 12 and Sunday July 13 to celebrate the Festival of Archaeology. More @


42 JUL The Guildford Cricket Festival will see Surrey County Cricket Club taking on Kent in the County Championship from Sunday July 20 to Wednesday July 23, and Glamorgan in a London Life 50 overs match on Sunday July 27, at Guildford Cricket Club. More @


43 JUL+ Up until a hundred years ago, a vast swathe of Surrey was covered with miles and miles of lavender and our county is home today to the stunning Mayfield Lavender. The harvest usually takes place towards the end of summer when the lavender is in bloom and they are set to host another lavender festival around July. More @




44 AUG+ RHS Garden Wisley will witness a magical poppy field to commemorate the World War One centenary in August. Sowing for the meadow started in December with a poppy and coreopsis mix called Lest We Forget. The field should be in bloom throughout the summer. More @


45 AUG With the exact routes still to be confirmed, what is certain is that the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and Surrey Classic 2014 will return on Sunday August 10. Amateurs will once again tackle a 100-mile challenge on the same closed roads as the professionals, all while raising money for good causes. More @


46 AUG Held at the home of Top Gear, Dunsfold Park near Cranleigh, Wings and Wheels is a huge celebration of motoring and aviation heritage. Expect Red Arrows, flash motors and many other high-octane treats. Wowing crowds of over 28,000 in 2013, this year’s event will take place on Saturday August 23 and Sunday August 24. More @