Living in Leatherhead
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Our Living in Leatherhead guide will also tell you all about what it is like living in the area, along with exploring its history, culture and the leisure facilities on offer to residents.
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What Is Life Like In Leatherhead?
Leatherhead is a picturesque market town in Surrey, located close to Epsom and Dorking. The historic town is surrounded by stunning countryside and is the gateway to the Surrey Hills; an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Based in the heart of Surrey (and conveniently at Junction 9 of the M25), Leatherhead is a business hub and is home to many national and international organisations, employing many local residents.
Homes in the area range from large five bedroom family homes, to cosy two-bed semi’s and fantastically located apartments. As the area boasts great schools and superb transport links, it has become popular with families and commuters alike.
History Of Leatherhead
Leatherhead started life as a small Anglo-Saxon town and appears in the Doomesday Book of 1086 as Leret, listing just a church as its asset.
In 1248, Henry III granted Leatherhead a weekly market and annual fair. In 1392 the town survived an extensive fire and needed to be rebuilt. Some of those buildings – including The Running Horse pub that dates back to 1403 - still stand. As one of the oldest buildings in Leatherhead, many of the town’s stories feature the pub. It is believed that Queen Elizabeth I once spent a night in the inn, when floods made the River Mole impossible to cross.
This isn’t the town’s only link with royalty. The official censor of Elizabeth I, Edward Tylney, lived in The Mansion. To mark this, a pub on Leatherhead’s High Street is now named after him. Speaking of notable residents, Sir Thomas Bloodworth (who was Lord Manor of London during the Great Fire of London in 1666), lived in nearby Thorncroft Manor.
From 1800, Leatherhead saw much expansion, with two major railways linking to the town. Bringing Leatherhead up-to-date was the main focus from the late 1970s and early ‘80s, as Mole Valley District Council decided to modernise the town with a new pedestrianised High Street and one-way system. By the late ‘80s, the town was joined to the UK motorway system, when the M25 was built to the north.
Days Out In Leatherhead
Leatherhead has a variety of options for fun-filled days out!
Chessington World of Adventures is just five miles to the north. With 40 rides and attractions, zoo and Sea Life Centre, it’s a favourite day out for big and little kids alike!
Continuing the family-friendly theme, Bocketts Farm in the pretty village of Fetcham (in Leatherhead) is a great place to head for a day of cuddling cute animals, watching pig races, enjoying a pony ride and taking a trip on a tractor. The award-winning farm has outdoor adventure trails, two large indoor barn play areas and the Old Barn Tearooms, serving delicious homemade food; making it a great day out come rain or shine!
Looking for little more culture? Take a trip to Polesden Lacey! The National Trust property in Great Bookham (just five miles away) is a sumptuous Edwardian retreat, which Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother chose as her picturesque honeymoon destination. And with stunning views across the rolling Surrey Hills and miles of countryside, beautiful gardens and breath-taking rooms such as the Gold Room, with its extensive collection of arts and ceramics, we can see why!
Speaking of the Surrey Hills, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is only four miles away. The North Downs Way offers 153 miles to explore by foot or bicycle. There’s also the villages and market towns surrounding the AONB to visit too!
Things To Do In Leatherhead
As a thriving town, Leatherhead has plenty to do! From sports to arts, history to shopping and a whole host of community-planned days, throughout the year; there’s always something to do in Leatherhead.
Leatherhead Leisure Centre has first class leisure facilities consisting of a swimming pool, gym, exercise studio, indoor badminton and basketball courts, outdoor netball and tennis courts, a sports hall and much more.
For enthusiastic art-lovers, the town has a creative art scene with many galleries and artist open studios such as the Fire & Iron Gallery and The Studio Art House, for visitors to peruse, take a peek behind the scenes and purchase locally made works of art. Throughout June, artists across Surrey open their homes for Surrey Artists Open Studios Week to welcome guests, showcase their creations and even do live demonstrations – an event not to be missed!
Leatherhead’s Museum on Church Street (just a few minutes’ stroll from the High Street) is home to collections of Ashtead Pottery, old photographs, maps and paintings of the area. Based in the 17th century timber framed Hampton Cottage, the picturesque museum has a whole lot of history itself to be uncovered during your visit.
The compact town centre (most of which is traffic-free) has a mixture of large stores (Sainsbury’s, Boots and WHSmiths) and independent retailers throughout the Swan Centre, High Street, Church Street, Bridge Street and North Street. On Thursdays and Saturdays, a local market joins this mighty mix, giving shoppers plenty of choice!
Leatherhead has retained its close-knit community feel and residents enjoy organising dates for locals to get together throughout the year. Don’t miss St George’s Day in April, Leatherhead Drama Festival in May, the Arts Alive Festival in October and Christmas festivities throughout December.
Schools In Leatherhead
Leatherhead has a number of excellent schools and educational facilities within the town and surrounding area.
Primary schools include:
- Eastwick Infant School
- Fetcham Village Infant School
- Oakfield Junior School
- South Bookham School
- St Lawrence Primary School
- St Peter's Catholic Primary School
- The Dawnay Primary School
- The Raleigh School
- The Royal Kent Cofe Primary School
- Woodlands School
Secondary schools include:
- Howard Of Effingham School
- St Andrew's Catholic School
- Therfield School
- West Hill School
- Woodlands School
Independent schools include:
- Cranmore Preparatory School
- Danes Hill Preparatory School
- Manor House School
- St John's School
- St Teresa's Preparatory School
Transport In Leatherhead
Leatherhead has fantastic transport links, with buses and trains running to nearby towns, villages and London.
Leatherhead’s train station is well connected with regular routes running to London Victoria (taking on average 55 minutes), Waterloo (in 50 minutes), Guildford (within 30 minutes), Horsham (in 30 minutes) and Dorking (in less than 10 minutes).
Buses and coaches
Leatherhead is serviced by Epsom Buses and Buses Excetera with routes 408, 465 and 479 running regularly to nearby towns and villages; Epsom, Dorking, Chessington, Kingston and Guildford.
London Heathrow is Leatherhead’s closest airport, located just under 25 minutes drive away. Gatwick is also close-by, taking 30 minutes to drive.
Leatherhead is conveniently located on Junction 9 of the M25, which connects the town to London in just an hour. The A3 offers another route to central London, taking the same amount of time.