UK Area Guides: South East England

Surrey Area Guide

South East England, UAE
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Top schools tend to follow the middle classes, and Surrey is very much affluent middle class England. 

Below is a table with the top 10 secondary schools in the county according to their Progress 8 scores. This means students achieved far more than initially predictions, based on a set of initial examinations that assessed their level on entrance.

Surrey's Top 10 state schools measured by Progress 8 improvement

  • St John the Baptist Catholic Comprehensive School
  • St Peter’s Catholic School
  • Salesian School Chertsey
  • Rosebery School
  • St Andrew’s Catholic School
  • Hinchley Wood School
  • St Bede’s School
  • Gordon’s School
  • Heathside School
  • Weydon School

The following is our pick of Surrey's independent schools. Note these schools would not perhaps fair so well on Progress 8 because students predictions on entry may well have been higher:

Surrey's Top 10 Independent Schools (by overall performance)

Click here for the full reasons as why we've chosen these as the best private schools Surrey has to offer.

Click here for the full list of independent schools in Surrey.

The economy

Strong. Unemployment in Surrey is much lower than the national average while Surrey residents working full time earned on average one quarter more than in the country as a whole. Full employment, high income, low crime. 

On a scale of average Index of Multiple Deprivation, where 1 is most deprived, at County level Surrey ranks 150 out of 152. So not deprived then. At all.

Catching the train into London is part of daily life for many of Surrey's residents.

This is in truth 'stockbroker belt', with an army of high net worth Savile Row tailored professionals heading to the city each day. As such its one million strong population boasts the highest GDP per capita in the UK which also reflects in its property prices, invariably just a blip below the London average.

Where to live

As well as attractive, affluent towns and villages, it is also green and leafy and its towns and villages offer history, character and lifestyle.

Richmond: Glorious sunshine, glorious architecture.

The most celebrated towns include Richmond, that sits on the edge of London, and is both elegant and cosmopolitan, and full of cafes and boutiques. It is also home to the amazing Richmond Park. 

Hello from Richmond Park.
The Christmas Market in Kingston. 

Kingston, the place where the kings of England used to be crowned, is now better than known for its bustling marketplace and variety of shopping opportunities. The strong presence Kingston University adds a younger feel to parts of the town with its riverside bars, pubs and restaurants coming alive at night.

A walk along Guildford's high street, with the Surrey countryside ever present.

Guildford is the county town of Surrey and offers shops, boutiques, bars, pubs and restaurants. There are regular street markets and farmers markets held in the town centre. In the city itself you'll find Guilford Castle, Dapdune Wharf, the 14th century Guildford Guildhall and Guildford Cathedral. The Guildford House Gallery featuring a range of art exhibitions located in the Grade I listed building. Guildford Museum includes sections for archaeology, needlework, local history and art relating to Guildford and Surrey.

The market town of Dorking lies 12 miles east of Guildford. It's an old Roman town, and its West Street has a great selection of antique shops to noodle through. Also check out St Martin’s Church. Its spire is one of the tallest in England. Visit if you can when the Leith Music Festival is on. Established for over 100 years, the event is one of the UK’s leading choral events. It takes place annually in April.

Epsom is the principal town of the Borough of Epsom and Ewell in Surrey,, about 13.5 miles south of central London. The town is famous for horse racing, which is believed to have been part of the town since the early 17th century.  The first grandstand at the racecourse was constructed in 1829 and more than 127,000 people attended Derby Day in 1843. However, it's not all horse racing. The town is lively, full of history, and bustles with activity on market days.

Farnham, cobbles ahead...

Farnham, located 11 miles west of Guildford, offers cobbled streets and a choice of shops and boutiques and traditional market squares. There are a choice of bars, traditional English pubs, upmarket wines bars and restaurants offering a choice of food and drink options. There's also a 12th century Castle that overlooks the town and numerous parks, gardens and forestry located close by including Victoria Gardens, Franham Park, Gostrey Meadow, Bourne Woods and Frensham Ponds.

Reigate offers convenient rail lines to London with trains are running every 30 minutes. No wonder it attracts commuter families - and, with relatively affordable property, first-time buyers.

Currently on sale in Weybridge - a snap at UKP 22 million.

Conversely, if you like (very) large houses, Weybridge is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the region, and an awful of of bankers.

Travelling to London from Woking takes less than 25 minutes which means its good alternative if you want the London lifestyle but on a cheaper budget. Its centre offers shops, boutiques and entertainment facilities and also includes a number of golf courses and plenty of greenery surrounding the town. 

Located in between Guildford and Horsham, Cranleigh has self-proclaimed itself the ‘biggest village in England’. Its high street is a celebration of independent shops that each have their own appeal and a weekly market where you can get all your fresh produce. The River Wey flows through the centre of Cranleigh.

Cranleigh School is an excellent day and boarding school that is set on 280 acres on the edge of the village, and Cranleigh Prep is just across the road.  

Bramley is situated in the heart of the Surrey countryside, and its narrow high street is home to a wide variety of pubs, restaurants, shops, and even an art gallery. No train stops at the village, so commuters will need to drive to the nearest station to them.

Haslemere features Georgian and Victorian houses, surrounded by trees with a lively market town full of shops and amenities. It is surrounded by National Trust land, and a gateway town to South Downs National Park deemed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

Chertsey offers good state schools, and is considered a great place to raise a family. Salesian School is recognised as one of the top comprehensive state schools in England. It's a vibrant town, with a large number of parks and green spaces... Like Surrey in general really!

Our view

Good for
Commuters to London
Anyone who wants to experience a very specific type of English middle class life
Families looking for good state and independent schools
Anyone looking to calm things down outside the city

Not Good for
Anyone on a small budget
Professionals that still want the buzz of city life
Anyone who does not want the commute

Surrey Ratings





Family Friendly


Transport Links


Surrey Pros & Cons


Suburbia, rural, pretty
Calm and relaxed living (comparatively)
Beautiful nature, architecture, villages and towns
A slice of English-ness


Very pricey
Quiet(er) than city life
Suburbia, rural

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