Living in Reigate
What is life like in Reigate
The major draw of Reigate is its excellent links to London, making it a prime commuter destination, but it is important to remember it also has plenty to offer as a town in its own right.
It is a beautiful market town with most of its buildings dating back to the Victorian and Edwardian eras. These are ideally complemented by the ancient castle, which is located in beautiful gardens that are open to the public.
Good shopping facilities and a plethora of places to eat and drink ensure Reigate is popular with residents who love nothing more than to socialise.
The town is surrounded by attractive green belt land, so within minutes locals can be out of their urban environment and into the heart of the aesthetically pleasing Surrey countryside. In the town, Priory Park is the perfect place to relax and it also offers extensive sporting facilities.
The land around Reigate was given by William I to one of his supporters, a man named William de Warenne. His son, William de Warenne II, then ordered Reigate Castle to be built, it is believed. The original castle has largely disappeared, but even today the grounds and the Baron's Cave are a great place to visit.
In around 1150, the De Warennes decided that a town would be built around the castle, with this new settlement to replace the nearby village of Churchfelle. There is some debate over the origin of Reigate's name, with some saying it is linked to the word 'rhiegate', meaning the course of a river. Others believe it comes from a judge in the area who was called John de Reygate.
Reigate Priory was founded in the early part of the 13th century and the town went on to develop a strong presence in the oatmeal trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. The arrival of the railway in 1841 was another huge step and led to the development of Reigate.
Several famous people were born in Reigate or have lived in the town for many years. Actress Caroline Quentin and musician Newton Faulkner are among those who originally hail from the area.
George Best and Spike Milligan both lived in Reigate at various times, while David Walliams attended Reigate Grammar School in his younger years.
Entertainment, sport and days out
Priory Park is a favourite with many people in Reigate, as it provides ample green space for recreation. There are also some wonderful rural locations close to the town, including Earlswood Common, the North Downs and Greensand Way.
One of the most unusual features of Reigate is the range of caves that are found throughout the town. They are occasionally opened to the public by the Wealden Cave and Mine Society and make for a fascinating day out.
Sports-minded locals should head to the Fitness Zone and Fitness Hub leisure centres, which offer all the facilities and equipment required to get fit.
Eating, drinking & shopping
A number of the most popular chain restaurants such as Carluccio's, Pizza Express and Strada have establishments in Reigate. They stand alongside a selection of local independent venues, including the Vintage Tea House and Urban Kitchen.
There are also plenty of pubs around the town centre and the train station, ensuring nobody will have to wait too long for a drink.
If you love shopping, Reigate is definitely the place for you, with a choice of popular shops such as Jigsaw, Crew, Jack Wills, Accessorise, Fat Face, White Stuff and many unique boutiques and gift shops.
Schools & healthcare
There are plenty of high-quality private and state schools in Reigate, as well as more in neighbouring Redhill. Ofsted has judged several of the institutions to be 'outstanding' in its most recent round of inspections. These include Dovers Green, St John's, Earlswood Infants and Reigate Primary.
When it comes to secondary schools, the best-performing institution in the region is Reigate School, while Reigate College is also said to be achieving an incredibly high standard of education.
Redhill St Mary's is part of Reigate Grammar and this is one of the top two private schools in the area, along with Dunottar.
East Surrey Hospital, which lies just to the south of Redhill, is the largest medical institution in the area and will cater for all health needs. Whether people have an accident or are suffering from a long-term illness, they will find the help they need at the facility.
Reigate is ideally located for both road and rail users, with the town sitting just a few minutes from Junction 8 of the M25. This motorway provides easy access to London and the rest of the south-east.
There is also a direct train service from Reigate into central London, as well as to all other nearby towns. Journeys from the town take about 40 minutes to reach the capital and terminate at either Victoria or London Bridge.
A local bus service connects Reigate with other parts of Surrey and means local people should be able to get around relatively easily no matter what mode of transport they wish to use.