Visit Reigate and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Reigate, Surrey. Although not mentioned under this name until the 12th century, Reigate is an old town. It was a manor of the powerful de Warenne, Earl of Surrey in the reign of William the Conqueror. He built a strongly fortified castle here. Nothing of it remains above ground except the mound on which it stood, now in the pleasant gardens called Castle Grounds, with traces of the moat and the dry fosse. But below is the Barons' Cave, a central underground court off which led a number of medieval tunnels, some penetrating for long distances beneath the town and reaching to the priory on Reigate Heath, and even, so it is said, as far as Bletchingley Castle some miles distant. It was in the Barons' Cave, according to local tradition, that the barons deliberated before their meeting with King John at Runnymede and the signing of Magna Carta.
During the Second World War the cave and the tunnels were put to good use, serving as stores and air-raid shelters.
Most of the tunnels have now been sealed off, but the main cave, the more modern chamber, and part of the old tunnel system are open to the public; application to view should be made to the Head Gardener of the Castle grounds.
The gateway to the grounds is a reproduction of the medieval structure, and was erected in the 18th century.
The Church of St Mary Magdalene, one of the largest parish churches in Surrey, is built of local stone, except for the tower, which was rebuilt in 1874. The oldest part, the nave, dates from the late 12th century. Externally the church is mainly in Perpendicular style; the interior is of various earlier periods. The chancel is 14th- and 15th-century and contains a fine stone reredos and sedilia. In the ancient vaults is buried Lord Howard of Effingham, the admiral who led the English fleet to defeat the Spanish Armada.
In the vestry is one of the oldest public libraries in England; it was founded in 1701 by the vicar, and now contains about 2,000 volumes, mainly on theological subjects.
Just outside the town on Reigate Heath stands an old windmill which has been converted into a church. It is a subsidiary to St Mary Magdalene, and regular monthly services are held here. The interior retains much of its old form and has a heavy beamed ceiling. It has been given a new set of sails and restored to its original appearance, but not to working order. Another mill, on Wray Common, 2 miles from the town, has been preserved externally much as it was; it is now a private residence.
On Reigate Heath, which covers 130 acres and includes a 9-hole golf course, have been found Iron Age barrows and remnants of a settlement of that period.
Nearby towns: Bletchingley, Bletchworth, Dorking, Epsom, Leatherhead, Redhill
Nearby villages: Ashtead, Banstead, Blindley Heath, Capel, Chipstead, Coulsdon, Dawesgreen, Great Bookham, Holmwood, Hookwood, Horne, Kenley, Kingswood Warren, Lower Kingswood, New Chapel, Newdigate, Ockley, Oxshott, Parkgate, Purley, Salfords, Sanderstead, South Nutfield
Have you decided to visit Reigate or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Reigate bed and breakfast (a Reigate B&B or Reigate b and b)
- a Reigate guesthouse
- a Reigate hotel (or motel)
- a Reigate self-catering establishment, or
- other Reigate accommodation