Looking for some lovely day trip ideas from London? Well, this day trip to Surrey & West Sussex countryside featuring some of the most beautiful villages in the South of England (Shere and Amberley) as well as beautiful Guildford is definitely a good idea. We also finished our day trip with a dinner in a stunning Michelin-starred restaurant, Gravetye manor, near Gatwick. In this [relatively short] post (especially compared to most of my articles on Tripsget), I will share with you our itinerary and some of the photos we took in these lovely locations.
Just before we start, I wanted to answer a few questions first.
This post's overview:
- 1 Do you need a car for this day trip to Shere, Guildford and Amberley?
- 2 How many hours do you need to visit Shere, Guildford, Amberley & Gravetye in one day? Isn’t it too much for a day trip?
- 3 Shere, Guildford, Amberley & Gravetye – a day trip through beautiful Surrey & West Sussex countryside
- 3.1 Shere – a quintessential English village where the iconic”The Holiday” movie was filmed
- 3.2 Next stop: Guildford – a lovely commuter & university town
- 3.3 Amberley – the most stunning village with thatched houses in England
- 3.4 Dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Gravetye Manor
- 4 Summary of our day trip to some of the highlights of Surrey and West Sussex: Shere, Guildford, Amberley & Gravetye
- 5 Some other posts you might like:
Do you need a car for this day trip to Shere, Guildford and Amberley?
Well, we explored all these places by car. However, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to visit all these places without having a car. Guildford is a very popular commuter town with excellent connections to London (assuming you’re planning to visit Surrey and West Sussex from London), and Shere is just a short bus drive away from Guildford (however, buses only go a few times per day). Hence, you would probably need to take a taxi! Amberley, on the other hand, is harder to reach by public transport, and so is Gravetye (especially if you’re heading there from Amberley). So the answer is yes, I would recommend making this trip by car!
How many hours do you need to visit Shere, Guildford, Amberley & Gravetye in one day? Isn’t it too much for a day trip?
It really depends on where you are starting your trip from, how early do you depart, what time of the year you’re taking this trip and what’s your average pace. In our case, we’re pretty used to fast-paced journeys and are happy to spend 1-2 hours in each location. For this day trip through the gems of Surrey and West Sussex, we departed from North London around 10 am, and we returned home around 10:30 pm. It was definitely a long trip; however, it wasn’t very tiring, as we spent quite some time in the restaurants (eating brunch in Shere and enjoying a 5-course set menu in Gravetye).
Alright, without further ado, let’s get started with the itinerary!
Shere, Guildford, Amberley & Gravetye – a day trip through beautiful Surrey & West Sussex countryside
Shere – a quintessential English village where the iconic”The Holiday” movie was filmed
When it comes to some of the most beautiful villages in England, Shere is definitely on this list. Shere is also one of the closest villages to London. If you’re based in South-West London, you can get there in as little as 40 minutes. Of course, I had to drive longer, as we’re based really far in the North of London, but anyway, it wasn’t that far!
Shere is a tiny little village; hence it’s difficult to spend there more than 1 hour unless you decide to walk through every single street more than once, unless, of course, you stay there for breakfast, lunch or brunch. I must say that the dining options in Shere are rather limited, especially if you’re planning to eat before 12 pm. Your only option would be a cafe called “The dabbling duck” – it had a small indoor area and a large outdoor garden. However, on sunny days, it’s better to call in advance and book a table, as it gets quite busy. They have a large menu and serve a lot of hot food, so you definitely won’t leave hungry!
If you’re arriving after 12 pm, you have another dining option – Kingham’s restaurant, which is a more upscale option. There is also a pub, “The White Horse”, which is also lovely and it was one of the filming locations for “The Holiday” movie.
Does the Rosehill cottage from “The Holiday” exist?
When I realised that the Rosehill cottage from “The Holiday” movie, in fact, doesn’t exist in Shere, I was a bit disappointed. Unfortunately, it was built for the movie on one of the empty hills near the village, and the interiors were just created in one of the studios.
If you’re interested in some other filming locations of “The Holiday” movie, you should also head to the neighbouring village of Godalming!
Next stop: Guildford – a lovely commuter & university town
Guildford is located just a short drive away from Shere, and it’s one of the most popular commuter towns in England. A lot of people choose to live in a quieter and also quite a posh town and then just take a train to London a couple of times per week for work. Guildford is also a university town, so you will see a nice mix of young people and families in Guildford.
Guildford has a castle (not the most impressive one, however, it still looks lovely), and it’s dating all the way to the times of William of Conqueror (that’s how old it is). The castle is always surrounded by wonderful colourful flower exhibits, which makes it look more cheerful!
There are a few art galleries you can visit in Guildford, but I recommend just strolling around the town centre and visiting the Sunday market (if you’re lucky, on some days, there is a market in the heart of Guildford). There are also plenty of cafes and shops on the high street if you decide to stop for a bite or do some shopping!
Amberley – the most stunning village with thatched houses in England
From Guildford, we decided to drive to another destination that I bookmarked ages ago. It wasn’t actually that close to Guildford (good 45 minutes driving), but it’s was definitely worth a drive! Amberley is located just north of Arundel.
Amberley is noted because of its thatched cottages, and oh, my, there are so many of them! I think there are more thatched cottages than cottages with regular roofs, and isn’t it wonderful. The village is absolutely quiet and serene, and if you decide to stay there overnight, you can stay in “Amberley Castle” – a luxury hotel located in the heart of the village. There is also a lovely pub, “Black Horse” and a famous museum “Amberley working museum” – an open-air museum dedicated to the industrial history of the region.
We spend about an hour walking around Amberley and taking photos of the most beautiful cottages! Previously, we visited villages with thatched cottages, and I even wrote a blog post about one of these villages; however, I think that Amberley is prettier than Welford-on-Avon now!
Dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Gravetye Manor
We decided to finish the day with dinner in a stunning restaurant located in Gravetye Manor. Gravetye Manor is an upscale hotel located in a former estate close to East Grinstead, so circa 45 minutes driving from Amberley. We didn’t know that we would be going to the restaurant, but when researching places to eat near Amberley, we saw a last moment cancellation at Gravetye and decided to book it. I usually recommend booking it in advance, especially if you’re visiting on Friday or Saturday night.
They only serve set menus at Gravetye, and the set menu was around £95, but it was definitely worth it. The food was creative, and the restaurant itself was absolutely stunning! They had a makeover some time ago, and now the restaurant has large panoramic windows facing the stunning garden. It might be even better to visit it in summer when the garden is open!
Summary of our day trip to some of the highlights of Surrey and West Sussex: Shere, Guildford, Amberley & Gravetye
I hope you enjoyed this day trip itinerary visiting some of the most beautiful places in Surrey and West Sussex! Stunning quintessential village Shere, one of the main filming locations for “The Holiday” movie, beautiful and vibrant Guildford, unique thatched village Amberley and gorgeous Gravetye Manor Near East Grinstead.
If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Instagram at @lizatripsget.