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Pocket Guide: Horley

Horley in Surrey is located at about the halfway point between Brighton and London. It's a mainly residential area but has a few interesting attractions that make it worth a visit if you're based nearby at a Surrey guesthouse or hotel. There are plenty of these in the area, all comfortable and affordable, and they make a good base for exploring more of this fascinating county.

Walks around Horley

Horley's connections are especially good. It straddles the A23 and is also on the main railway line, and with Gatwick Airport just a short distance away the town is popular with London commuters. The main attractions of Horley lie in its hinterland, and these make it a preferred destination for serious walkers and ramblers. The town is situated on the Weald, an area of unusually heavy clay soils close to the chalk Downs, a little farther to the south. This makes for a remarkably interesting landscape, once heavily forested and now criss-crossed with scenic walking routes.

Most of the archaeological remains are found on the higher North Downs, as in ancient times settlers tried to avoid forested areas. When you find a suitable Surrey hotel in Horley, such as Langshott Manor, the Downs make a great destination for a day out in the fresh air, with lots of bracing exercise. There are numerous old pubs in the area where you can stop off for a pint of local ale and a ploughman's lunch.

Old Ruins near Horley

It was in Saxon times that Christianity eventually arrived in southern England from the north, and there are a few interesting ruins in and around Horley that are a legacy of those times. The St. Peter Benedictine Abbey at nearby Chertsey, beside the Thames, controlled Horley and its manor for centuries, along with many other manors scattered about the North Downs. The remains of these ancient buildings form a serene backdrop to the landscape today. Reigate Priory Park for example is close by and makes a good destination for a picnic from your Surrey hotel.