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Page last updated at 13:49 GMT, Friday, 28 May 2010 14:49 UK
The sun lover's guide to Surrey's hidden beaches
By Heather Driscoll-Woodford
BBC Surrey

The beach at Frensham Pond
There's no need to travel thousands of miles to reach a beach

Sun, sea and sand. It's the holiday maker's dream combination.

Sadly, Surrey has never been known for its sun-kissed coastal shores or miles of glittering sand. Mainly, it has to be said, because it doesn't have any.

But you can keep all your blue flag resorts, and forget the long traffic jams heading seaward on a Bank Holiday.

Because those in the know head inland to one of Surrey's hidden beaches to enjoy the delights of the seaside, just without the actual sea!

Picture the scene.

You are lying on a long stretch of golden sand, listening to the waves gently lapping at the shore, and soaking up the afternoon sun.

The beach at Frensham Pond
And only 4500 miles away from the Bahamas

The wind is filling the billowing white sails of the yachts as they skim the surface of the sparkling blue water in front of you.

The leaves of the trees which surround this secluded beach, rustle in the breeze.

But this is not a tropical island paradise. This is isn't even the English Riviera.

This is Frensham.

And the sandy shore you are reclining on, is Surrey's famous inland beach.

Local people have been coming to Frensham Great Pond to sunbathe and swim for years.

The large beach, which consists of clean pale sand (no dogs allowed) is an ideal spot to soak up some rays.

It has its own designated, unsupervised swimming area too and the water is tested regularly to keep it safe for bathers.

It can get pretty busy in the summer months so be prepared to arrive early to save a spot for your towel.

The Royal Landscape

If you enjoy watching your pooch swimming but would prefer not to join him and his doggy pals in the water, then Virginia Water lake has several choice spots along the shoreline.

A particular favourite for sun lounging on the sandy bank for people and pets, is Botany Bay Point on the Valley Gardens side of the lake.

Strictly no human swimming allowed, but to be honest, watching the doggies paddling is exhausting enough, without joining in!

Towards Botany Bay Point at Virginia Water
Looking towards Botany Bay Point at Virginia Water

You can buy drinks and ice creams from one of the kiosks nearby, or do what most people do and bring a picnic.

River Wey

Not so much a beach, and more a river bank, a certain grassy spot in the village of Tilford attracts plenty of visitors looking for a refreshing knee-deep dip over the summer months.

The area next to the historic cricket pitch, where the River Wey flows under an ancient bridge, is a firm favourite for paddling and relaxing.

Even better, the local public house is happy to serve sunbathers so long as they return all glasses to the pub, so you can refresh parts other rivers can't reach.

And lets not forget the Lido!

If you prefer swimming, not paddling and would rather not share the water with the fishes, you can still enjoy the great outdoors at one of our man-made pools.

Either at Guildford's original 1930s lido in Stoke Park, or just over the Hampshire border at the Aldershot lido on Guildford Road.

Of course, as with any activities near water, stay safe and don't take risks.

And never swim anywhere that is not a designated swimming area.


Do you know of a sandy riverbank or lake side spot in Surrey, that is used as a beach? Email me at surrey@bbc.co.uk with your suggestions.

St Catherine's Hill on the River Wey, just half a mile south of Guildford. Sandy slopes running right into the river one side, flat grassy area the other with a footbridge.

Steve Bailey

A small 'beach' - just a short walk from Town Bridge, in Common Meadow, Leatherhead.

Walk downstream by the River Mole from Town Bridge, beneath the road bridge & the imposing rail bridge. After 1/3 mile through the gate into the meadow & the 'beach' is there on left hand side!

Ted Smith


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