What locals really think about living in Reigate
- Credit: Lindsay Constable / Alamy Stock Photo
We asked four people living in Reigate to share what they love most about the market town, including their favourite places to go
Sarahjayne Matthew, has worked in the town for two years
Having co-founded Island House Reigate (islandhousereigate.co.uk) with her partner Jonnie [pictured right] in March 2020, Sarahjayne is exploring the town with relatively fresh eyes. ‘We have met some wonderful people and really felt the community spirit of Reigate, which is what we love the most. And the community support is real – the number of independent businesses thriving in Reigate is testament to that.’
I can't not say Island House. We really do love hosting special occasions and I do get envious when I see our specials – chateaubriand and shellfish platters – being bought out from the kitchen. I love sharing meals and having something a little bit different accompanied by theatrical cocktails.
There are so many stunning places to walk. Our boys love geocaching and Reigate Hill is a great spot to hunt for caches. The café Junction 8 is the perfect treat.
History and heritage attraction
I'm fascinated by local history. The Castle Grounds are reserved as a sacred area, yet are right in the middle of a busy town, so are the perfect place to escape. You feel a million miles away.
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Whilst renovating the property, we've come across cellars, tunnels and lots of historic features under and within the building. It led us to research the history of the town, and the tunnel and cave network is fascinating. Some are the result of sandmines, others were created for defence. They were used as dungeons, to store wine and spirits storage and also as a home for explosives during the war.
I really enjoy taking part in the Knot Another Florist flower workshops, being creative and learning something new.
Hugh Perkins, resident for 24 years
‘Reigate is friendly with lots going on and fantastic schools,’ says Hugh, who is chairman and founder of White Spider Media (whitespidermedia.com), which is based in London. ‘I love the rural county town feel of the place even though its only 18 odd miles to Westminster. It’s old fashioned but with a modern outlook and immediate access to the gorgeous Surrey countryside.'
Sadly, La Barbe has gone but Tony Tobin’s Ranmore restaurant at Reigate Heath Golf Club is wonderful.
Beryl and Pegs in Holmesdale Road is fantastic. It's also great for cheeky sandwiches at lunchtime.
The Dolphin at Betchworth is my favourite country pub and walking from there to Brockham, across all the fields by the River Mole, is wonderful. The Roedeer in Reigate is my go-to town pub.
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There's a secret library in one of Reigate’s churches – I’m not telling you which one, obviously.
Great day out
Walking on Colley Hill and then along the downs and over to Walton Heath.
Jo Roberts, resident for five years
‘Reigate is a lovely little town with a strong community spirit and lots of events happening throughout the year,’ says Jo, who used to run a cake business in the town. ‘It’s close enough for day trips into London by train with lots of other wonderful places to visit nearby. I love living in Reigate and honestly can’t imagine living anywhere else.’
The Black Horse or Island House. Both have a good menu and cocktail selection and are lovely settings for all occasions.
The Roe Deer is great. They have an impressive gin selection and friendly staff to help with deciding if you can’t make up your mind. They also do homemade pizzas, which are really tasty. There’s a cute outdoor area for drinks alfresco when the weather is nice.
I love The Nail & Body Boutique, particularly for facials and manicures. The staff are really helpful in helping select the right treatment for you.
Reigate Hill is definitely a family favourite. We went a lot particularly during lockdown. It can be quite steep and slippery depending on weather conditions but the views are breath-taking. If you’re lucky you might even see the Belted Galloway cattle grazing on the hill.
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The iconic windmill on Reigate Heath is actually a church. Built in the 1700s, last used as a working windmill in 1862 and later converted to a chapel in 1880, becoming part of St Mary’s Parish. Services are still held there in the summer once a month.
Victoria Cappella, life-long resident
‘I've lived close to Reigate all my life but now I live right on the high street,’ says Victoria, who runs Very Pilates Reigate and Very Yoga Reigate on Bell Street (veryyogareigate.com). She credits the allure of the town to: ‘Its community, vibrant high street full of independents and plenty of green space.’
Monte Forte – they do the best pizzas, in my opinion – or Buenos Aires Steak Restaurant.
The Chapel for its coffee and Urban Kitchen for their bagels. Both have amazing staff.
The woods in Reigate Priory Park are so secluded with great views.
You can often spot Peter Andre and Dame Judi Dench out and about in Reigate.
Great day out
Priory Park in the summer.
Run Reigate – a brilliant annual half marathon event, which starts in Priory Park.