Things to do in Surrey 2015 - more than 60 dates for your diary

Orchids bloom at Kew (Photo: Andrew McRobb/RBG Kew)

Orchids bloom at Kew (Photo: Andrew McRobb/RBG Kew) - Credit: Archant

There’s so much to celebrate in Surrey this year, we couldn’t possibly fit it all in here, but we’ve grafted away to edit it down to 60 (ish) of the most not-to-be-missed events for your 2015 calendars

The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic riders speeding through Abinger Hammer (Photo: David Ashdow

The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic riders speeding through Abinger Hammer (Photo: David Ashdown/Prudential RideLondon) - Credit: Picture David Ashdown for Prudential Ride London

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2015




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JAN+ Shere-based artist Alison Catchlove (a member of the Surrey Sculpture Society, Open Studios and Surrey Guild of Craftsmen) will be complementing RHS Garden Wisley’s ever-popular Butterflies in the Glasshouse with a sculpture trail leading to the Glasshouse from Saturday January 17.


JAN+ The booming tones of Brian Blessed are set to startle the local wildlife, as he takes to the stage with Guildford Shakespeare Company in King Lear at Holy Trinity Church. The show runs from Saturday January 17 to Saturday February 7.


JAN Surrey Life’s 2015 readers’ photography exhibition will be on at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking from Monday January 19 to Sunday January 25. There will be 35 beautiful Surrey images on display. Share your own pics at


JAN+ From the start of 2015, the prestigious Tante Marie Culinary Academy will have relocated to its new state-of-the-art premises in central Woking – along with a training restaurant, which will be open to the public from the spring.




FEB+ Discover why adopting enticing colours was the only sensible solution for the orchids at Kew Gardens’ annual tropical extravaganza from Saturday February 7 to Sunday March 8.


FEB+ It’s a Rugby World Cup year and the home nations teams will be keen to prove they are in the running by dominating the RBS 6 Nations. England head to Twickenham Stadium to play Italy on Saturday February 14, Scotland on Saturday March 14 and France on Saturday March 21.


FEB Avoid tying yourself in knots by visiting Farnham’s Unravel festival, for knitting, hand-spun yarns, talks, workshops and more, from Friday February 20 to Sunday February 22.


FEB A celebration of all that is steampunk, Victoriana and British eccentricity in general, the Surrey Steampunk Convivial takes place in New Malden on Saturday February 21 and Sunday February 22.




MAR This year’s Leith Hill Musical Festival sees conductor Brian Kay celebrate his 20th year holding the baton there, as the festival itself marks its 110th anniversary. The main event takes place on Sunday March 8 at Dorking Halls.


MAR From Friday March 13 to Sunday March 22, the University of Surrey will be hosting international and local music stars for the Guildford International Music Festival.


MAR Expect to see plenty of Kew Gardens on your television screen this spring, as the BBC follows two Michelin starred chef Raymond Blanc and his efforts to grow a sumptuous fruit and vegetable garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens for his latest series.


MAR Creative cake makers looking for advice and the latest trends, tricks and techniques will be heading to the Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015 in Farnham from Friday March 13 to Sunday March 15.


MAR+ The Surrey Half Marathon is a closed-road running event between Guildford and Woking in March. Also worth keeping an eye out for are the Bacchus Marathon at Denbies in Dorking (which includes wine for the hardy), the increasing number of Three Peaks Challenges taking place in the Surrey Hills and the growing number of ‘mad mud runs’...




APR+ Among the major, CAMRA supported beer festivals this year are Farnham and Egham in April and Woking in November. Keep an eye on our Gourmet Life pages throughout the year for more.


APR Do you have medals, items of uniform, photos, letters or other ephemera from your family’s military past? Surrey History Centre’s panel of experts will help you identify them at their Military Ancestry Roadshow on Saturday April 18.


APR For stunning gardening inspiration, head to the Loseley Spring Garden Show from Friday April 17 to Sunday April 19. Expect stalls of plants, garden tools, food, bygones, furniture, pottery and Loseley’s own home-grown plants and herbs.


APR+ The Sir Michael Caine Awards will once again be handed out at the Leatherhead Drama Festival. Read our interview with the Hollywood A-lister here. This year’s events run from Monday April 27 to Saturday May 9.




MAY For a spectacular day out, and a brilliant photo opportunity, head to The Sculpture Garden at Birtley House in Bramley, which 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 2 to Sunday May 31.


MAY+ Believed to date back to the 11th century, the Barons Cave in Reigate is a fascinating piece of subterranean history. Local folklore has it that on the way to Runnymede to sign the Magna Carta, the barons held a secret meeting there. In any event, Wealden Cave & Mine Society open the caves on various dates through the year, starting on Saturday May 9.


MAY+ The polo season in Surrey promises to be extra-special this year, with Guards Polo Club near Egham celebrating its 60th anniversary – the Queen attended the club’s 50th birthday so watch this space. There’s also Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Ewhurst, Ascot Park Polo Club in Chobham and Ham Polo Club in Richmond to satisfy your polo passion.


MAY+ Seek out your literary inspiration this year at Surrey Heath Literary Festival in May; Guildford Book Festival in October; and the Richmond-upon-Thames Literature Festival in November.


MAY Golfing great Rory McIlroy will head to Wentworth in Virginia Water in a bid to reclaim his BMW PGA Championship crown. As always, a star-studded pro-am will take place before the main event.


MAY+ The largest one-day agricultural show in the country, the Surrey County Show takes place on Monday May 25. Other rural highlights include the 10th Blindley Heath Show in South Godstone and Cowpie Country Show in Lingfield in May; the Cranleigh Show in June; and the Chertsey Show, Edenbridge & Oxted Show and Egham Royal Show then follow in August.


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 upon Thames.


MAY+ An extensive miniature railway in Lyne near Chertsey, the Great Cockrow Railway opens every Sunday from the beginning of May until the end of October.




JUN+ Expect a whole host of Magna Carta connected events throughout the year in the lead-up to the 800th anniversary in June. The document itself was, of course, sealed at Runnymede, which will host a Festival of Liberty in commemoration.


JUN+ 2015 marks Hampton Court Palace’s 500th birthday! That’s going to have to be one hell of a cake. During the summer, there will be two large garden parties staged, celebrating a ‘palace of two halves’ and plenty more surprises along the way.


JUN Last year, the Epsom Derby added the magic of Jodie Kidd and Michel Roux Jr to the mix. Always attended by the Queen, punters will be keenly awaiting some new surprises this year.


JUN+ As well as all the National Gardens Scheme openings, there will be a host of other open garden events, mainly in June, which 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.


JUN A must for all art fans! Look out for the orange signs between Saturday June 6 and Sunday June 21 and discover our county’s flourishing arts scene as part of Surrey Artists Open Studios.


JUN The annual Double Twelve Motorsport Festival returns to Brooklands Museum near Weybridge on Saturday June 13 and Sunday June 14, with a full weekend of motoring action.


JUN Coverwood Lakes Opera will celebrate its 25th anniversary with some new developments at the Surrey beauty spot. The event takes place on Saturday June 13 and Sunday June 14.


JUN Held at Dunsfold Park, the home of Top Gear, The Supercar Event will host some of the greatest supercars available on Saturday June 20 and Sunday June 21. Last year, Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans took one lucky visitor for a spin in his Ferrari.


JUN With a whole range of associated events also taking place, Guildford hosts Armed Forces Day 2015 on Saturday June 27. A service at Guildford Cathedral will be followed by a formal parade in Guildford High Street and a ‘picnic and proms in the park’.


JUN Surrey Life columnists Surrey Wildlife Trust will be hosting a 24hr BioBlitz at Chertsey Meads (date still to be confirmed), where rangers and members of public will aim to find and count as many species as possible in a day.


JUN+ This year’s Surrey Sculpture Society season will be held at Loseley Park, Guildford, in June/July; the Riverhouse Gallery, Walton-on-Thames, in July/August; RHS Garden Wisley in August/September; and the Landmark Arts Centre, Richmond, in October/November.


JUN+ Some of the most spectacular show gardens in the world will be unveiled at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in late June/July.




JUL The International Youth Arts Festival is one of the most successful youth events in the country. Over the last six years, it has expanded to feature more than 4,000 participants in 320 events over 23 days across 18 venues in Kingston. This year, it will run from Friday July 3 to Sunday July 19.


JUL Launched with Kevin Keegan and Sharron Davies and claiming to be the UK’s first family festival of sport, fitness, dance and health, GoFest is heading for Surrey Sports Park in Guildford from Friday July 10 to Sunday July 12.


JUL Around 3,000 people made the most of the Guildford Fringe multi-arts festival in the town last year and, running from Wednesday July 1 to Sunday July 26, there are no limits to the organisers’ ambitions this year.


JUL+ For some delicious local treats, head to one of our local food festivals. Highlights include Godalming in July; the BBC’s Good Food Festival at Hampton Court Palace in August; and the Haslemere, Farnham, Elmbridge and Woking festivals in September, among others.




AUG Now an annual fixture in the Surrey calendar, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and Surrey Classic, a legacy of the Olympic cycling, will be back on Sunday August 2. Amateurs will once again tackle a tough 100-mile challenge on the same closed roads as the professional cyclists, all while raising money for good causes.


AUG For those who don’t know what to expect from the name, Wings and Wheels is a huge celebration of motoring and aviation heritage. Expect Red Arrows, flash motors and many other high-octane treats on Saturday August 29 and Sunday August 30.




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, your chance could be between Thursday September 10 and Sunday September 13.


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.


SEP+ The best rugby players on earth will be tackling the challenges in front of them at the Rugby World Cup this year. Follow the links to read about some of the teams that will be joining England in basing themselves from our county and read our interview with Jonny Wilkinson.


SEP+ A major development for Compton’s Watts Gallery should see the opening of the Watts Studios in late 2015. The studios are located in Limnerslease, the winter residence of GF Watts and his wife Mary.




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.


OCT The Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards just keep on growing. Watch this space to find out how your favourite pubs, restaurants, chefs, foodie shops, producers and more could take our county’s food and drink crowns. And don’t forget to vote for them! Check out this year’s winners here.


OCT Public voting will again take place for the Surrey Artist of the Year at the New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham. Expect Surrey Life to be on the judging panel again.


OCT Known as Surrey’s craft town, Farnham will once again witness Farnham Maltings’ Festival of Crafts.




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


NOV+ This year marks the 250th anniversary of the construction of Leith Hill Tower by Richard Hull of Leith Hill Place. Among the many ways the National Trust will be marking the occasion will be a spectacular firework display – the tower may even appear ‘gift-wrapped’ for a day!


NOV There will be all the usual spectacular bonfire nights, from Brockham to Chiddingfold via Ripley, which we will keep you informed of closer to the time.


NOV+ November will also see the 150th anniversary celebrations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. With his many Guildford connections and Surrey History Centre holding several significant archives relating to Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), expect there to be a few plans to spring out of the rabbit hole.


NOV+ From the end of November, Christmas at Kew will return for another season of stunning illuminations and trails in the gardens after dark. Look forward to Christmas treats, mulled wine and much, much more!


NOV+ Arguably the most spectacular outdoor Christmas market around, Kingston’s Market Place will once again take on its festive colours and traditional stalls.




DEC Kempton Park racecourse in Sunbury on Thames 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.


DEC Showcasing many of jump racing’s equine stars over two days of top-class racing at Sandown Park, the Tingle Creek Christmas Festival sees the pinnacle of the racecourse’s jump season.


DEC Music lovers in the know always make sure to pencil in blues legend Paul Jones’ annual concerts, which have seen everyone from up-and-comers to local heroes Eric Clapton and Paul Weller taking to the stage at Cranleigh Arts Centre.




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