About – Set in the beauty of the rolling Surrey Hills Reigate is an enviable place to call home. This eclectic historic market town set against a hilly backdrop is brimming with interesting independents, foodie delights and unusual places to visit. Located within easy reach of London via Reigate or Redhill train stations and minutes from the M25, Reigate is the perfect location for commuters. And with London Gatwick Airport less than half an hour away, business trips or holiday getaways couldn’t be easier.
For those with young families or those looking to this in the future, first class State and Private schools for all ages and abilities are within walking distance or a short drive away. For older students Reigate College prides itself on being graded as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted since 2005.
History – Reigate’s early history can be traced back to the result of the Battle of Hastings. Victorious William the Conqueror awarded the land as part of a generous grant to one of his principal Knights, William de Warenne – Earl of Surrey in 1088. It is said it gets its name from Roe-deer Gate as the town was situated near to the entrance to the de Warenne’s deer park, now Priory Park and Reigate Park.
Hidden away out of sight, Reigate is well known for its ‘caves’ an astonishing maze of underground tunnels stretching east and west from Tunnel Road while to the north is the historic Baron’s Cave in the Castle Grounds. The castle is long gone but the mound and many of its excavations remain. Maintained by the Wealden Cave and Mine Society, the caves are open to the public.
The magnificent National Trust’s Reigate Hill and Gatton Park stretches across the North Downs and is good walking country with flower-sprinkled grasslands and quiet shady woods. A lovely spot too for family picnics and games. Sitting proud at the top of the Hill is the 19t-centuryReigate Fort. The fort commands a historic defensive position looking out over the weald towards the South Downs.
Eat – Wonderful independent eateries mixed with quality chains like Bills, The Giggling Squid and Cote Brasserie bring culinary delight to the town centre. For relaxed pub dining there’s The Black Horse with a large garden or just out of town and right by Reigate Heath there’s the Skimmington Castle both sporting rave reviews. Flint House Café on Bell Street is now the café to rival all café’s opened by Owner and Chef, Simon Flint, previously Executive Chef at The National Theatre on London’s South Bank.
Coffee – If coffee’s your brew, then you’re in the right place! Independent establishments like Beryl + Peg, The Chalk Hills Bakery and The Gallery are just a few of the huge array of coffee shops, with most offering breakfast, brunch, lunch and an opportunity to have lazy weekend time with family, a quiet catch-up with a friend, or a milkshake and cookies after school.
Drink – Pre-dinner drinks, a cosy night in the pub, dancing till the small hours or Craft Ales? Reigate has them all in abundance!
Just off the High Street, overlooking the local cricket pitch, is the Pilgrim Brewery and taproom. The South East’s oldest craft brewery is perfect for tasting a range of beers at source, what could be fresher? Their dedicated, knowledgeable staff are ready to advise and recommend. If a sophisticated cocktail is more your style, then look no further than Number 9 Reigate's Piano Bar offering an extensive menu of Wine, Cocktails and Bubbles in a relaxed and unique musical atmosphere.
Shop – One thing Reigate does particularly well is its independent shopping, with an amazing array of fashion boutiques, interior design, hobby and gift shops, alongside the usual names like Mint Velvet, Crew and Oliver Bonas. For a wonderful collection of unusual curiosities there’s That Qwerky Place at the top of the high street while at the other end is The Reigate Pop-Up opened by a group of local creatives.
On the culinary side M&S Simply Food and Cook are both in the centre of town. Paired with a visit to specialist wine merchants The Vine King, you have all you need for the perfect meal. It all happens right on your doorstep in Bell Street. Once you’ve bought your freshly baked loaf at Chalk Hills Bakery and had brunch at locally sourced Cullenders Parkside, wander up to the magical MIWK. This little book shop has everything from sci-fi titles, comics and fantasy fiction to collectible toys.
Do – Priory Park is the jewel in Reigate’s crown. Home to Reigate Priory School and Museum it is a vibrant cosmopolitan open space with the feeling of a “city-park”, hosting a raft of events all year round. By contrast, the wide-open spaces mixed with woodland and lakeside create a special tranquil feel. For the energetic, there’s tennis courts, a skate park, splashpad, playground, and numerous cycle and walking paths. This historic community space is the real focal point of the area. Boasting an Ice-Skating rink in winter, festivals, and an outdoor cinema in summer, along with regular Park Runs, picnic areas and a central café, there really is something for everyone.
Reigate also has its very own cinematic gem in the centre of town. Everyman Reigate is every avid film goer’s dream. With the usual great service, quirky films and food and drink brought to a comfy sofa, what could be better?
The area offers some of the country’s best cycle routes, for all levels of ability. If you prefer to take it easy, jump in the car and travel to the top of Box Hill for a picnic, enjoying stunning views over Surrey, the North Downs and to the South Coast (on a clear day!). Before heading home, a trip down to the “Stepping Stones” is a local must on a warm summers evening.
Close by, the famous Denbies Wine Estate is a stunning venue offering a fantastic setting for dining, vineyard experiences and regularly plays host to private Weddings and Special occasions, public Balls and cultural events.