As much of the country navigates its newfound lockdown status, the possibilities of international travel in the early months of 2021 look rather bleak. Once Sussex and surrounding counties drop down the tier list and restrictions are loosened, a weekend getaway to the outstanding Surrey hills must be on the agenda.

The Surrey hills stretch from the market town of Farnham to an area just north of Reigate, which now houses the far from tranquil M25. This land of undulating greenery is 163 sq. miles in area, and was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1958. Looking away from the cantankerous commotion of the region’s motorways, such beauty is around every bend.

When thinking of the Surrey hills the word affluence springs immediately to mind, yet the subtle manner of which it expresses its wealth is another magnet to both tourists and residents. Quaint village greens are frequent sights, in fact the Surrey hills are awash with them. Ripley, Peaslake and Shamley Green have become local favourites, not to forget Shere in which the 2006 festive blockbuster The Holiday was set. Its not just Cameron Diaz and Jude Law who admire the idyllic location, with the village. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason also used Shere as a romantic setting. Given the influx of attention from Hollywood, the serene village nestled just a stone’s throw from Guildford is typically buzzing throughout all seasons. For a slice of cake to remember, drop into the welcoming reach of the Dabbling Duck, which sits proudly on the banks of the River Tillingbourne that calmly pierces through the village.

Such small outposts can act as a fantastic base for hikers, twitchers and cyclists alike. There is a plethora of charming rural paths that wind throughout the county’s eternal greenery. First the Wey, a river connecting the Arun to the south with the iconic Thames in Weybridge. It is upon the banks of this leaf-clad waterway that families take the time to walk and observe Surrey’s impressive display of flora and fauna.

In addition, the region’s most visited natural landmarks are duly noted in the AONB’s renowned title. Hills. Surrey’s highlands never fail to offer spectacular views across the county, reminiscent to one of the great paintings of a Victorian painter.

Lieth Hill, situated south of Dorking, is the county’s highest peak at 294m above sea level, as so marked with the quintessential Leith Hill Tower built in 1765. The tower allows the visitor a mesmerising view across the capital to the north on a hazy day, and an even better view across the Wealdland the opposite direction. Leith’s little brother is Box Hill, internationally famous from its appearance at the 2012 Olympics. Standing at 224 metres, the hill is popular with road cyclists and walkers. Small cafes and park benches adorn the hillside, offering a welcome break to tourists. At the foot of box hiss is Denbigh’s – one of the multitude of vineyards within the summer hills. Tours and tasting sessions are often on offer.

To cover the Surrey hills in depth would likely require a full book, let alone a small article. For an area of seemingly timid personality, this AONB draws you in to discover more.  As restrictions ease and travel into other counties becomes more acceptable, the Surrey hills and its many treasures are awaiting.

For more information about this spectacular region, visit Visit Surrey: The official tourism website for Surrey