Surrey sits on the south bank of the River Thames and is home to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Archaeologically, there is evidence of prehistoric occupation, particularly Bronze and Iron Age exploitation of the rich soils of the river basin. Roman settlements were small and scattered but occupation picked up from the 5th century onwards with the arrival of the Saxons. Later history has left a greater mark with Norman castles and great Tudor palaces still very much in evidence today. Sites include:
- Bronze Age barrows at Frensham Common, as well as enclosures at Nore Hill.
- Iron Age hill forts at Holmbury, Hascombe and Anstiebury.
- Ashtead Roman villa and tile works.
- Anglo-Saxon religious sites such as Chertsey, Farnham, Woking and the churches of St. Mary’s in Guildford and St Peter and St Paul’s in Godalming.
- A wealth of medieval castles and palaces, including Farnham Castle, Woking Palace and Guildford Castle. There are also Norman mottes at Bletchingley, Abinger and Reigate.
- Waverley Abbey , the first Cistercian monastery in England.
- Chilworth gunpowder works, the home of gunpowder manufacture for over 300 years.