The hidden sandy beach 75 minutes from London that’s actually nowhere near the sea

You’re never more than a few hours from a gorgeous seaside town in London, but sometimes you just fancy a day trip that’s a little bit different. What if we told you that just over an hour from London is a beautifully sandy beach where you can swim, sail and fish that’s actually over 30 miles from the sea?

The Frensham Ponds in the Surrey Hills are sparkling lakes with sandy shores offering lovely picnic locations, pretty walks and lots of nature to spot and, best of all, you can get there by public transport from London.

They’re located just outside the market town of Farnham, and were originally created in the 13th Century to supply fish to the Bishop of Winchester and his court while they visited Farnham Castle. Today, they’re a sanctuary for wildlife: you can spot many common and rare birds like woodlarks, nightjars, sedge warbler and great crested grebe, and dragonflies and damselflies decorate the water in the summer months.

READ MORE: The insanely pretty beach 2 hours from London where nearby homes can sell for £ 2 million



Doesn’t that water look refreshing?

Frensham Little Pond and Great Pond are surrounded by Frensham Common which, like the lakes, is owned by the National Trust. It’s a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is full of purple heathers, bracken and grasses, and if you keep your eyes peeled you might spot a sand lizard or a smooth snake there too.

The Frensham Ponds have wide sandy beaches, perfect for sunbathing and picnicking on a warm day. You can swim in the Great Pond if the water quality is good, but be aware that in summer months the water has previously been affected by high levels of blue-green algae which can be hazardous. If this is the case, the pond may be closed and you should not ignore the signs warning you not to swim.



The Frensham Ponds have all the fun of the beach without the need to go to the coast
The Frensham Ponds have all the fun of the beach without the need to go to the coast

Visitors should also be aware that the beach is not dog-friendly, so it might be best not to bring your pup for the trip.

If you do not fancy laying on the sand all day, there are lots of options for lovely walks in the area. You could take the Frensham and Bourne Wood walk, which is eight miles through pine-clad sandy hills, or you could explore the Devil’s Jumps, Sculpture Park and Heather six-mile trail including lakes, views, a heather trail and art.

The Great Pond has a snack bar and toilets, while the Little Pond has a National Trust cafe, and there are plenty of picnic sites dotted about the area too.



And relax ...: Frensham Pond is a peaceful spot not far from London
And relax …: The Frensham Ponds are a peaceful spot not far from London

Be warned, though: this hidden gem can get very busy on hot days, and the local borough council warns that if the car park is full then the beach is full and you should come back another day. The car park opens at 8am and is usually full by 10am on sunny days, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

However, if you do make the trip and discover the beach is full, or you’ve had enough sunshine for one day, there’s lots to do in the surrounding area. Enjoy a relaxing spa treatment (or night away from the city) at Frensham Pond Hotel and Spa, or visit Farnham Castle which stands on the crest of a hill overlooking the town of Farnham and features the motte and ‘shell keep’ of a castle founded in 1138. The Castle Keep is managed by English Heritage and is free to enter.

How to get there

Traveling by road takes between 1 hour 10 minutes and two hours from central London via the M4 and M3. On public transport, take a South Western Railway train from London Waterloo to Farnham and change for a bus towards Haslemere. Get off after 10 minutes at Pond Lane and walk around seven minutes to Frensham Great Pond – a journey which takes just under 1.5 hours.

For news on things to do in and around London sent straight to your inbox, click here to sign up to MyLondon’s Going Out Out! Newsletter.

Leave a Comment