Leith Hill, Coldharbour Village, Dorking, Surrey
Back in Victorian times, horse drawn carriages brought daytrippers up to Leith Hill, not far from Dorking, for picnics; these days you have to stroll up there, but it's not far from the car parks around the foot of the hill, and anyhow, it does you good to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and that.
So go and embrace the great outdoors, explore the trails that take you deep into bluebell and rhododendron woods, over heather-clad heaths and through rich pastures; it’s all so, so glorious and to cap it all, right at the top of the hill there’s a Gothic tower – just like something from a fairytale. The tower was actually built in Georgian times by Richard Hull who lived in the big house lower down, and in 1864 stairs were added; if you climb all 78 steps to the top you'll be at the highest point in the South East of England. The views are astounding, sweeping across no less than 14 counties; if you're up there on a clear day have a peek through the telescope and you'll be able to pick out London landmarks and see the English Channel. Halfway up the tower there’s an information room where you can learn the history of the tower and where children can have a bit of fun with the dressing up box. Then you can all sit at one of the picnic benches, get out your sandwiches and your fizzy pop, tuck in and enjoy just being there.
Interesting fact: Richard Hull was buried beneath the tower on Leith Hill.
All information correct at the time of writing