With several universities, areas of outstanding natural beauty and many options for entertainment, Surrey is a great county in South East England to live in.
If you are looking to move to Surrey, you have 11 different districts to choose from. They all offer something wonderful so it’s important to find which area best suits your lifestyle.
This guide is written to help any and all house seekers, from those single social butterflies to the young adults starting families and beyond. We’ve considered the schools, job market, safety, entertainment options and more for each area.
We know parks and green spaces are a major factor for UK adults when choosing where to live so we’ve added some notes about those too!
With Shere being the most popular village, from being in several blockbuster movies, let’s examine some other areas:
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Area #1: Guildford
Guildford sits about 43 km southwest of London and is popularly regarded as the county town.
It’s close proximity to London allows for the perfect balance between rural and city life.
Guildford attracts many young professionals because they feel like they have a good work-life balance with the vibrant shopping and dining scene offered.
It’s also popular with families because there are many world-class educational establishments in the area.
The town centre also has purple flag status ensuring there is a safe mix of activities for residents.
With one of the prettiest high streets in the south-east and top attractions including Guildford Castle, Guildford Cathedral and famous Guildhall gold clock you will always have something beautiful to see.
That beauty continues into Stoke park with a boating lake, skate park and a crazy golf course.
Guildford Lido is also open during the summer season from May to September.
Best for: Families and Professionals
Area #2: Reigate
Reigate is a popular town of over 20,000 people in eastern Surrey and they pride themselves on having a strong sense of community with all the local inhabitants.
Reigate attracts commuter families and first-time buyers with convenient rail lines to London as trains are running every 30 minutes for quick travel.
The Surrey Hills are right on your doorstep and provide a good chance to take a break from your daily routines and take in the beautiful scenery.
Priory Park is a vibrant park in the centre of town that has numerous amenities such as picnic areas, a playground, a skate park, tennis courts and playing fields.
Community events and food/drink festivals are held throughout the year. It’s also the site of a 13th-century monastery converted to a mansion during the Tudor Period.
Reigate is a thriving town where you can go explore the outdoors or stay close to the centre visiting the different chain and independent shops.
Other neighbouring towns such as Redhill also allow you to enjoy the beauty of nature right in your backyard.
Best for: Families and Professionals
Area #3: Woking
Woking is a big town in the northwest part of Surrey, England and is about a 24-minute train ride from London.
It’s close proximity to the major city centre and easy train lines make it a good alternative if you want the London lifestyle but on a cheaper budget.
Woking’s centre offers plenty of shops, boutiques and entertainment facilities and also includes a number of golf courses and plenty of greenery surrounding the town.
Their National League football team, Woking FC, is a major draw for the city and attracts many young professionals to the area.
New developments are starting to dominate the skyline and putting its place on the map as a great choice to settle down in Surrey.
Best For: Professionals
Area #4: Cranleigh
Located in between Guildford and Horsham, Cranleigh has self-proclaimed itself the ‘biggest village in England’.
The busy high street is bursting with independent shops that each have their own appeal and a weekly market where you can get all your fresh produce.
You can stroll along the banks of the River Wey that flows through the centre of Cranleigh and appreciate the charm that the village can provide.
The village has a little mix of everything and is a wonderful place for families to relocate to. The Cranleigh School is an excellent day and boarding school that is set on 280 acres on the edge of the village, and Cranleigh Prep is just across the road.
Fun fact: Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr bought the 200-acre Rydinghurst Estate in Cranleigh in 1999 that includes an indoor swimming pool, stable block, four cottages, and walled garden.
Best For: Families
Area #5: Bramley
In the heart of the Surrey countryside, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and a short distance from Guilford, you will find the village of Bramley.
It’s located in the southeast corner of the UK and covers about 10 square miles of the beautiful countryside.
Despite sharing a name with one of England’s most famous apples, it actually has no connection with the green fruit.
The narrow high street is home to a wide variety of pubs, restaurants, shops, garage and an art gallery.
Bramley is best suited for people that don’t find the hustle and bustle of cities appealing and are looking for a more easy-going place to live and soak in England’s natural beauty.
Sadly no trains pass through the train station any longer. However, there are frequent busses from Guilford that can usually get you where you need to go.
Other towns in the area, such as Shamley Green and Farnham, are also good choices that are in the surrounding areas.
Area #6: Haslemere
Haslemere is situated on the borders of Hampshire and West Sussex and is the most southerly town in Surrey.
Driving through the town you will find Georgian and Victorian houses that are surrounded by trees and a charming market town with local shops and amenities.
The town is easily accessible from most major airports and ferries. You have reliable road links to the south coast and it’s also on the main railway line from London Waterloo to Portsmouth.
Locally you can find excellent education standards within both private and public schools that have attracted families that are looking to relocate or start a family.
Haslemere is also surrounded by National Trust land, it’s a gateway town to South Downs National Park and is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where you can spend hours appreciating nature.
Choose Haslemere if you want the convenience of being in close proximity to the bustling city of London but want to be surrounded by nature at all times.
Best For: Families
Area #7: Ewhurst
Ewhurst is a village about 35 miles southwest of London on the Surrey Sussex border and is close to the larger village of Cranleigh.
Annual cultural events are held in Ewhurst and the surrounding areas that help keep local residents entertained all year round.
House prices are relatively low, especially when compared to larger cities like London.
With it’s close proximity to Cranleigh, you can always be sure to find something going on in the community but without the high traffic of London city centre.
Best For: Families
Area #8: Chertsey
Chertsey is a pretty town that has a good mix of everything. Good schools, strong sense of community, indoor and outdoor activities are some of the top reasons people are flocking here.
Chertsey is a great place to raise a family in Surrey, it has been recognised as one of the best places for families in the UK and it also has exceptional child care centres.
Salesian School in Chertsey is one of the top 10 schools in England. If you are looking to relocate somewhere new and start a family, look no further than Chertsey.
Children can grow up in an active, safe environment with plenty of entertainment just a quick drive away.
There are plenty of parks to enjoy, walks along the river, bike trails, and enough green open space that encourages an active and exciting lifestyle.
Best For: Professionals and Families
Area #9: Weybridge
Weybridge is a small commuter town just outside of London, at the intersection of River Wey and River Thames.
You can experience the mix of river life, cosmopolitan living and a good foundation of heritage all in one town.
Over the past few years, the town has seen its volume of famous celebrities that have made these winding streets their own.
John Lennon, Cliff Richard, Mick Hucknall and Theo Paphitis are just some examples of the stars that have taken residency in Weybridge.
St George’s Hill in Weybridge is proud to boast that they were the first gated community in the UK. The community has exclusive leisure facilities and golf/tennis clubs to help create a sense of belonging with the neighbourhood.
This town is perfect for people who want to stay close to the dazzling lights of the big city but want the peace and quiet of life by the river.
Best For: Families and Commuters
Area #10: Leatherhead
The historic town is surrounded by stunning countryside and is the gateway to the Surrey Hills.
The compact town centre of Leatherhead has a mixture of larger chain stores and independent retailers to give it’s community plenty of options when shopping.
Chessington World of Adventure is just five miles to the north and has rides, attractions, zoo and sea life centre that can be enjoyed for any age in your family.
Leatherhead is a thriving town that hosts community-planned events and has activities that cover art, sports, history and more. The town is best suited for young professionals and young families.
The town also has a creative art scene with numerous galleries and studios for art lovers. Throughout June, artists across Surrey open their homes for Open Studio Week to showcase their creations.
If you like the beauty of a quaint town where you are surrounded by nature, you can also live in neighbouring towns Epsom and Dorking that each has its own charm.
Best For: Families
Area #11: Farnham
Farnham is a commuter hotspot with good transportation links and very breathtaking scenery.
It’s located in the countryside of England and is on the edge of North Downs, less than 35 miles from London.
You can get to the bustling city in under an hour or in under 4 hours if you find yourself a long-distance cyclist. It can provide you with the convenience of being close to a major city but the beauty of having nature at your back steps.
Castle Street is a wide road that’s lined with Georgian homes that leads up the hill to the castle and is a stunning view to experience at the top.
You can then find more Georgian homes within the town. If you are a cyclist, take a ride along River Wey and take in the stunning views along the water.
While there are not many larger stores, the town more than makes up for it with independent and locally owned establishments.
It’s also most notably known for being the place where The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) is located. The school has over 2,000 students and is a place where you can feel a sense of belonging with its close-knit community.
Best For: Students
Area #12: Dorking
Dorking prides itself as the heart of the Surrey Hills. It offers beautiful views as you stroll through the local shops along the historic streets.
Box Hill is a great adventure playground park easily accessible by buses in Dorking. This is a great spot for bikers, orchid-spotters and nature lovers of all kinds.
Residents of Dorking like that in the community people work local so it’s not dominated by commuters.
When looking for homes in this area, the Rose Hill conservation area is a nice spot to start with.
Best For: Families and Professionals (not commuting)
Area #13: Shepperton
If you want to live in a place that is constantly talked about, Shepperton is for you! This riverside village is home of Shepperton Studios.
Not only is Shepperton Studios a major employer in the area, but they have also produced major motion pictures such as Love Actually, Bend It Like Beckham and Dr Strange.
Bounded by the River Thames, Shepperton sits in the southwest part of London sliced in half by the M3 motorway.
This is a popular retirement spot with a strong and vibrant community spirit.
Best For: Professionals (working or retired)
Area #14: Godalming
The historic market town of Godalming is located just 5 miles south of Guildford and is bustling with students from the local University and young professionals.
You can save money by buying a home in this town that’s on the outskirts of the more popular Surrey town of Guildford. Be along the train line and be into town in a flash.
The town is surrounded by naturally beautiful woodland, with plenty to do and see in the surrounding areas. You can take a walk or go out on a boat ride along River Wey for a restful afternoon.
The attractive town centre has a mixture of shops and cafes that you can spend the day shopping and enjoying the day.
Best For: Students and Young Professionals
Area #15: Cobham
Located on the Mole River, Cobham offers a charming landscape that was once the playground of England’s medieval monarchs.
This thriving village has an excellent choice of both private and state schools with good transport links to London as well, although it does have a reputation for being a Surrey playground for the rich that precedes it.
Several celebrities have made Surrey their home and Brian Blessed lives in Cobham!
For the nature lovers, Painshill Park provides one of the finest remaining examples of an 18th century English landscape park.
If you choose to settle down here, make sure to visit the best-known landmark: a red brick water mill and Mercedes Benz World.
Best For: Professionals and Families
Area #16: Chiddingfold
You may have heard of Chiddingfold because of the spectacular 10 bedroom mansion that’s one of Rightmove’s most viewed in the UK but it also has great options for family homes as well.
The three sides of the village are surrounded by A church (St Mary’s), a pond, shops and houses. Almost half of the land is forested which contributes to the active Scout Group.
The Chiddingfold Cricket Club is very active as well, with a junior section for children in school years 1 – 6.
With a population of approximately 3,000 people, this is the perfect place to relax.
Best For: Families
Now Over to You
Now that you know some of the best places in Surrey to raise a family, the best areas for commuters and which parts attract celebrities, which area will you choose?
With so many options for local shops and restaurants, plus the beautiful natural areas surrounding some of these villages, it makes it hard to choose!
No matter where you end up settling, we hope you enjoy your new home and community.
Note: We’re expanding our trusted moving and storage services to Surrey. So, if you need help moving you or your family into your new home in Surrey, let our professional team show you what makes us London’s #1 storage and removal company.