What locals really think about living in Reigate

Reigate Castle is a secluded spot in the town

Reigate Castle is a secluded spot in the town - 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 and Jonnie Matthew

Sarahjayne and Jonnie Matthew - Credit: Rachel Thornhill Photography

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.’ 

Island House Reigate

The owners of Island House Reigate found cellars, tunnels and other historic features in and under the building while renovating it in 2020 - Credit: Island House Reigate

Favourite restaurant 
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.  

Green space 
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.  

SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to Surrey Life for the very best of the county – from food and drink to style and interiors

Top secret 
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. 

Amazing activity  
I really enjoy taking part in the Knot Another Florist flower workshops, being creative and learning something new.  

Hugh Perkins

Hugh Perkins - Credit: Hugh Perkins

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.' 

Favourite restaurant 
Sadly, La Barbe has gone but Tony Tobin’s Ranmore restaurant at Reigate Heath Golf Club is wonderful. 

Breakfast spot 
Beryl and Pegs in Holmesdale Road is fantastic. It's also great for cheeky sandwiches at lunchtime. 

Hugh's fox red Labradors, Hattie (right) and her daughter Skyler (left) lapping up the views of Gatton Park  

Hugh's fox red Labradors, Hattie (right) and her daughter Skyler (left) lapping up the views of Gatton Park - Credit: Hugh Perkins

Perfect pub 
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. 

READ MORE: 25 glorious Surrey gardens to visit in 2022

Top secret 
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

Jo Roberts - Credit: Jo Roberts

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.’ 

Favourite restaurant 
The Black Horse or Island House. Both have a good menu and cocktail selection and are lovely settings for all occasions.  

Perfect pub 
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.  
Pampering haven  

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 Heath Golf Club and the Grade II listed Reigate Heath Windmill

Reigate Heath Golf Club and the Grade II listed Reigate Heath Windmill - Credit: John Graham / Alamy Stock Photo

Green space 
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. 

READ MORE: Meet the Surrey pilot who captained Concorde's last flight

Top secret  
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

Victoria Cappella - Credit: Ralph James Estate Agents

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.’ 

Favourite restaurant  
Monte Forte – they do the best pizzas, in my opinion – or Buenos Aires Steak Restaurant. 

Breakfast spot 
The Chapel for its coffee and Urban Kitchen for their bagels. Both have amazing staff. 

Reigate Priory park is a popular destination park for many families living within Surrey.

Reigate Priory park - Credit: Catherine Philip/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Green space 
The woods in Reigate Priory Park are so secluded with great views.  

Top secret 
You can often spot Peter Andre and Dame Judi Dench out and about in Reigate. 

Great day out 
Priory Park in the summer. 

Epic event 
Run Reigate – a brilliant annual half marathon event, which starts in Priory Park.