Is Surrey the pick of the Home Counties?   Well it certainly is for much of the city elite who flock to this prime cut of stockbroker belt and it’s easy to see why.  Enviable commuting times, table topping schools, and a patchwork of rolling hills with picturesque villages and market towns.  Prices here come at a premium to the rest of the South East so don’t say we didn’t warn you…In this guide, we will explore some of the best places to live in Surrey, carefully selected by our local experts.

At a Glance

The Vibe: Notting Hill in Surrey Hills

The Schools:  10 X schools in Times Top 100 (independent secondary); 2  Xschools in Times Top 100 (state secondary)

The Restaurants:  9 x restaurants in Michelin Guide, 4 with a Michelin Star and 2 Bib Gourmands

The Great Outdoors: The glorious Surrey Hills AONB and a slither of the High Weald AONB

Larger Towns



In little more than half an hour into London Waterloo, with spectacular countryside on your doorstep, the bustling market town of Guildford and its surrounds is often the first pin on the map for Londoners putting down roots in Surrey.  Much like a London suburb but one you can enjoy with a country/country-lite lifestyle from the nearby villages in the Surrey Hills.  

Dubbed a ‘shopaholics nirvana’ by The Sunday Times, you’ll not need to venture far from your new abode for your fashion favourites at Friary, alongside upmarket furniture and interior brands like Oka at Tunsgate Quarter. 

We all enjoy a good market and Guildford has a few of these – a local food and artisan goods market on a Friday and Saturday as well as a monthly farmers’ market which brings together over fifty stalls on the first Tuesday of every month.

Thinking about schools?  Guildford has an impressive 18 outstanding OFSTED rated state schools, a top choice for families then.

Locals Love

“A hit of the very best coffee (and possibly something sweet!) at MyCoffeeCulture

“Well, if it’s a special occasion, it would have to be dinner at the Clock House in nearby Ripley”

“Family days out at RHS Wisley, one of the world’s best gardens!”

Best Places to Live in Surrey - First In The Door

Market Towns


Lover of antiques and interiors?  You could lose yourself for hours browsing the various treasure troves of Dorking in search of that one beautifully unique piece to sit perfectly in your new home…maybe at the Malthouse, The Christique Antique Centre, or the eclectic and fabulous Sandrock House. Aside from its bountiful shopping temptations, you might just as easily be tempted here by Dorking’s proximity to breathtaking natural beauty on the edge of Surrey Hills AONB, with far reaching views and thigh burning walking, cycling and horse riding trails. 

At weekends or on half-terms, local families will often head straight for Polesden Lacey, a quintessential National Trust Edwardian mansion with incredible views as far as London – also great for picnics.  

Local wine lovers will talk animatedly about the Denbies Wine Estate here – England’s largest vineyard, spanning 265 acres, with tours, tasting and regular art exhibitions.

Locals Love

“I’m a cyclist so where we are in Dorking and the surrounding Surrey Hills couldn’t be any better!”

“An evening at Sorrel is a real treat for special occasions and very worthy of its Michelin Star! “

“We have fitted our house out from all the antique and furniture stores in town but I still can’t resist popping in now and again for the odd item or a bit of window shopping…

Best Places to Live in Surrey - Dorking


Standing on the banks of the River Wey, Godalming is only 4 miles from the much larger town of Guildford but packs it own unique punch of star attractions with a flourishing foody scene that includes Asian cuisine at Bada, Spanish fusion at Acorn, and a fine selection of what Surrey does best: the gastropub. Those of you who prefer cider to beer will enjoy the much-loved Star Inn which has held the area’s title for Cider Pub of the Year for a whopping ten years in a row.

The proximity to the Surrey Hills is unrivalled here with its expanse of woodlands and meadows in almost-touching distance. Hikers, cyclists and runners can find their stride, while also enjoying the fruits of a buzzing high street. During the winter months, take a hot chocolate along to watch the wildlife at Frensham Little Pond, or go bird watching at nearby Elstead Common – if you’re lucky you might see a green woodpecker, tawny owl or cuckoo. Make sure to stop in at the Mill Pub afterwards for a mouth-watering bite to eat.

Locals Love

“A restorative Autumnal walk through the Winkworth Arboretum

“The Stag on the River is my go-to place. Impeccable food, right on the water.”

“Canoeing on the River Wey, it’s a bit of a thing down here, and even better if you stop off somewhere for lunch.”

Best Places to Live in Surrey - Godalming


In Surrey’s South-West corner, you’ll find the prettiest of Market towns here in Farnham. Top notch eateries and exquisite boutiques housed in the most splendid mix of red brick Georgian and Tudor shop fronts all lead up to the handsome Farnham Castle.  

Indie favourites include the eclectic gift shop, Paisley Cat, and Blue Bear Bookshop for a side of coffee with your latest literary obsession.  There’s fine dining too and notably at Maison, in nearby Wrecclesham, which wows its clientele with a unique chef’s table experience – from former Masterchef finalist, Ben Piette.

Of course, you’ll have easy access to the great outdoors with the North Downs Way and Alice Holt Country Park just moments away. 

Locals Love

The Alfred is my favourite pub, with a very decent selection of craft ales and the Sunday roasts are something to shout about too”

“An unecessary splurge on something vintage (that I really don’t need but can’t resist) at Bourne Mill Antiques

Best Places to Live in Surrey - Farnham