Priory Park’s new-look playground reopens after revamp

Priory Park’s exciting nautical-themed playground has reopened this afternoon (Friday 19 July) in time for the start of the summer holidays. It follows a six-week refurbishment project to replace the 12 year old deteriorating equipment.

The popular Reigate play space is packed full of fun and challenging equipment, with something for children of all ages and abilities.

The centrepiece is the impressive new ‘The Grey Lady’ ship, complete with sails and a ship’s wheel. The vessel features a tube slide, balance bars, ladders, a climbing net, hammocks and sensory play panels, all set over two decks.

‘Priory Castle’, a four-tower climbing frame, features two types of slide, a bridge, climbing net and a spiral ‘curly climber’ designed for children aged 4 to 12. The smaller two-tier ‘Priory Gatehouse’, aimed at 2 to 6 year olds, includes a slide, climbing net, firemans’ pole and sensory play panels.

An exhilarating 25-metre double zip wire offers twice the fun as before, along with nine swings for a variety of ages, two types of climbing nets, a multi-seesaw with back supports, a wheelchair accessible roundabout, horse springers and spinners. The popular climbing wall and summer splash play remain and the overall layout and planting has not changed.

The design is multifunctional, with bold colours and a 360 degree design (accessible from all angles), which offers diverse play opportunities. It also has a greater sense of openness to make it easier for parents and carers to keep an eye on children of different ages using different parts of the playground, something users said they wanted. 

The nautical theme fits with Priory Park’s unique identity and historic setting.

Cllr Mrs Natalie Bramhall, Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “With visitors from all over the borough and much further afield, 12 years of fun had taken its toll on the playground equipment which needed to be replaced if the playground was to remain safe and useable.                   

“We hope children and their parents and carers will love the new equipment and the countless opportunities it offers for imaginative play for years to come. We took a number of steps to make sure design is inclusive for the wide range of children using the park. The new equipment has been built to last and will also be easier and more cost effective to maintain.”

The Priory Park playground refurbishment is part of the Council’s rolling programme of investment in its parks and greenspaces around the borough. It saw play areas in Chipstead and Kingswood upgraded last year, with plans being developed to upgrade Merstham Recreation Ground in future.

Register today! for Round the Borough Hike 2019, a FREE event for all ages and abilities

The popular Round the Borough Hike takes place on Saturday 7 September. To take part, register online today atwww.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/rbhb  

Now in its eighth year, this free event for all ages and abilities starts and finishes in Horton Country Park local nature reserve (LNR). The off road walking route of approximately 20 miles long offers participants the chance to explore the beautiful open spaces of Epsom and Ewell including Epsom & Walton Downs, Epsom Common LNR, Nonsuch Park and the Hogsmill LNR.

Participants will set off from Horton Country Park LNR at 8.30am; the challenge is to complete the full 20 mile route in one day. It is estimated that the family friendly route takes between six to nine hours to walk depending on length and frequency of breaks. Dogs are welcome too.

Certificates will be awarded to those completing the full 20 miles. Those who completed the Round the Borough Bike earlier in the year and go on to complete the Hike will also get a special keepsake.

To view/download the route on a smartphone visit www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/rbhb  

Councillor Barry Nash, Chairman of the Community and Wellbeing Committee, said: "Round the Borough Hike is probably the best way to experience the borough’s plentiful and stunning green spaces with friends and family. You can complete the hike at your own pace or set yourself a challenge to achieve a milestone. You can also raise money for a charity of your choice.

"Don't miss out on this opportunity to discover something new in your borough."

Participants must wear suitable footwear as the route covers a variety of terrain and is uneven in places; and be prepared for the weather. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. Please note, bikes, roller blades/skates are not permitted for the Hike and dogs must be kept on a lead and under control. Registrations for the event close at 5pm on Thursday 5 September.

Can you spare a few hours? We are looking for volunteer stewards to help marshal the course and ensure the safety of our participants. If you are able to give up two to three hours of your time and help out please contact the Council's Leisure Development's Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01372 732000.

Funding for FISH from High Sheriff Youth Awards

Our holiday playscheme, FISH (Fun in the Summer Holidays) was awarded £2,000 by the High Sheriff Youth Awards scheme last week.  

The High Sheriff of Surrey, Mrs Bridget Biddel visited FISH at Kings College to award the scheme with the funding grant certificate. She engaged with over 150 young people aged between 10 -16 who were at FISH taking part in a variety of different activities which included go karting, crafting wire sculptures, playing football on the new 3G pitch and cooking on an open fire Bear Grylls style with our Playrangers.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves says:

“We are really grateful for the High Sheriff Youth Awards grant to further support young people in the borough. The grant recognises the valuable and imaginative work the FISH playscheme provides. It highlights our mission to create a safe, accessible, fun, environment for all our young people to play in. Play is vital for young people’s development, health and wellbeing and the Council is committed to play provision as a part of the necessary infrastructure at the heart of our communities. ” 

The FISH playscheme has been running for 19 years. As well as the huge range of activities onsite at the scheme there are opportunities for the young people to go on days out to experience a variety of activities such as indoor sky diving, an aqua park with a banana boat ride and virtual reality gaming. 

To find out more please visit www.guildford.gov.uk/fish

A Star Studded Strictly Line Up at G Live, Guildford

The Strictly buzz is well and truly in the air! With the celebrity line up for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing finally confirmed and the names of its professional dancers revealed this week too, ballroom fever has been reawakened across the nation.

With millions of viewers each week, Strictly’s biggest stars have now achieved close to superstar status. With that, demand to see them performing live has meant many of your favourites are cha cha cha-ing out on tour – and Guildford’s G Live is delighted to welcome them to town over the coming months.

First up, two Ballroom legends, Ian Waite and Vincent Simone are preparing to dazzle on the G Live stage on Saturday 30 September in their new show The Ballroom Boys. Appearing alongside their professional dance partners they will perform signature dances such as the Waltz, Paso Doble and of course, the Argentine Tango. And mega-fans can even pick up VIP passes to meet the duo and maybe grab a selfie. 

The popular entertainment venue on London Road, Guildford has also just announced a trio of Strictly wonderful shows for 2020, with the return of Anton Du Bec and Erin Boag in Anton and Erin Dance Those Magical Movies on Saturday 1 February; one of the show’s most exciting young stars, AJ Pritchard performing in AJ Live 2020 at G Live on Tuesday 17 March and the welcome return of everyone’s favourite, Kevin Clifton and sister, Joanne Clifton in Burn the Floor on Wednesday 1 April.  

Anton and Erin, who were professionals on the very first season of Strictly, have waltzed into the hearts of their fans with timeless grace and elegance. Set to music from all your favourite films such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Singin’ in the Rain, Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, The Greatest Showman and Moulin Rouge, they plan to take you on a magical ballroom dancing journey as they glide across the floor with other worldly grace.

Meanwhile, AJ Pritchard will be lighting up the G Live stage with his high energy performance. Unleashing new choreography alongside his talented handpicked dancers, this exciting new show is sure to be a treat for all AJ’s mega-fans and one that all the family can enjoy. 

April sees the return of a fiery production, as Kevin Clifton, a confirmed professional dancer on this year’s Strictly, and his sisterJoanne Clifton, a Strictly star herself, are ready to wow the crowds in their show Burn the Floor which will return to the G Live stage by popular demand. 

But it’s not just the professional dancers to look forward to at G Live, as comedian and confirmed contestant on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing line-up, Chris Ramsey will make a very welcome return to Guildford with a brand new stand-up show next May that is already selling fast.

More information and tickets to all of these productions, and many more can be found online at www.GLive.co.uk or purchased via the G Live Ticket Office on 01483 369350. But please book early to avoid missing out!

Eat, drink, and be entertained in the iconic setting of Hampton Court Palace this August Bank Holiday

The hugely popular Hampton Court Palace Food Festival will be returning this August Bank Holiday, giving visitors the opportunity to sample some delectable treats within the palace’s stunning formal gardens. 

For those looking to learn from the greats, former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain and cooking legend Michel Roux Jr will be demonstrating their skills in live cookery demonstrations. They will also be joined by a host of culinary experts in The Kitchenthroughout the weekend as part of both free and ticketed sessions. 

This year, the Hampton Court Palace Food Festival welcomes more exhibitors than ever before. From tempting treats to devilishly delicious street food, the wide range of stalls on offer will ensure everyone will go home with a full belly and a smile on their face. For our adult visitors, Hampton Court Palace will see a brand-new Thatcher’s Cider bar for this year’s festival, providing the perfect summer tipple. While the adults relax in the sunshine, children will be treated to entertainment including circus performances, dance classes and much more. For aspiring little chefs, the special Kids’ Cookery School will allow children to try their hand at pizza making or creating sweet treats to take away. The popular Lexus Lunch Club will also be back for 2019, with local Restaurant One One Four and No.97 presenting a menu inspired by their new restaurant in Surbiton, Cento Uno. Expect delicious authentic Italian street food! The Music Stage is also back and will be filling the gardens with music and adding to the festival atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy the Festival in style with the VIP Package including complimentary Champagne PIAFF, access to the VIP area, goody bag, cookbook and more!

Once appetites have been satisfied, visitors can head inside Hampton Court Palace; the former home of one of history’s most notorious foodies, King Henry VIII. Here, visitors can walk through the Great Hall where the famous king once dined and entertained his guests, then pay a visit to his Kitchens, taking in the sights and smells which have the power to transport people right back to the 1500s. After wandering around the palace, getting lost in hundreds of years of history, visitors can explore the magnificent grounds, including the world’s oldest puzzle maze and the fun-filled Magic Garden.

Hampton Court Palace admission tickets include free entry to the Food Festival, while Historic Royal Palaces members can enjoy free entry across the sites throughout the year.  

For further information and to purchase tickets visit: https://www.hrpfoodfestivals.com/