Virginia Water

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For the lake, see Virginia Water Lake.

Coordinates: 51°24′07″N 0°35′20″W / 51.402°N 0.589°W / 51.402; -0.589

Virginia Water
Station Approach - - 134481.jpg
Station Approach which has some of the retail/convenience services
Side view of Chapel Virginia Water.JPG
Virginia Park is the former Holloway Sanatorium by Robert Weir Schultz with contrasting colour stone/red brick, dutch gable ends and hooded dormer windows
Virginia Water is located in Surrey
Virginia Water
Virginia Water
 Virginia Water shown within Surrey
Area  14.79 km2 (5.71 sq mi)
Population 5,940 (2011 census)[1]
    - Density  402 /km2 (1,040 /sq mi)
OS grid reference SU9868
Civil parish n/a
District Runnymede[2]
Shire county Surrey
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Virginia Water
Postcode district GU25 4
Dialling code 01344
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Runnymede and Weybridge
List of places

Virginia Water is a geographically large English village which has become the first traditionally defined settlement (town or village) outside London where house prices average more than £1 million; it is also a 'post town' which does not denote town status. Architecturally intricate mansions are particularly prevalent in the Wentworth Estate and its outskirts.[n 1] Virginia Water includes the Wentworth Estate and the Wentworth Club, where the first Ryder Cup was played. The village is in the Borough of Runnymede. The lake from which it takes its name stretches from its county of Surrey to part of Sunninghill and Ascot. Within the village area is the Savill Garden and part of Windsor Great Park.


The village takes its name from the lake mostly in the nearby Windsor Great Park. The lake's name was transferred from a previous stream, which was probably named after the 'Virgin Queen', Elizabeth I.

Egham included the area until 1838. At least all of the west of the old Egham lay in the confines of the Windsor Forest. The dispute about the boundaries of the forest finally left some of Egham and of the county of Surrey within it. The boundary perambulated in 1226 is for some distance the boundary of Berkshire and Surrey, but in its later course, where it runs from Thornhill to Harpesford, and then 'along the water to Inggfield' (Englefield) it followed the River Bourne, Chertsey. The county boundary is north-west of this. Harpesford Bridge must have been on this stream, most likely where the Roman road to the ruined fortified town of Calleva Atrebatum (in the parish of Silchester) and Dorchester crossed it, and would now therefore be covered by Virginia Water. Virginia Water was made by Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, as ranger of Windsor Park (appointed 1746), between his return from the Netherlands, 1748 and his command of the defeated army of Britain in the Invasion of Hanover (1757), part of the Seven Years' War, as opposed to its successful naval battles. The dam confining the water broke down in 1768, and caused a major flood. Thomas Sandby, an architect and surveyor whom the duke had employed in military surveying in Scotland and Flanders, was made by him deputy ranger of the Park, and was really responsible for laying out Virginia Water. He was the first Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy.[3]

The Church of England's Christ Church, Virginia Water was consecrated in 1838, is on cruciform plan, of brick with pointed stone/cement arches, a tower and a stone spire. A national school as a primary school was built in 1857 (i.e. not tied to the established church).[3] The Grade I Listed former Holloway Sanatorium close to the station was opened in 1885 and after a period of dereliction after its closure in 1980, was meticulously restored in the later 1990s as private apartments and is now renamed Virginia Park.

During World War II, the lake was drained, as its recognisable shape may have provided enemy guidance at night to Windsor and to important military targets in the area. Trees grew in the lake bed and/or may have been planted there as camouflage, although Windsor Castle's elevated position would have been fairly obvious.


Virginia Water (lake)[edit]

Main article: Virginia Water Lake

Virginia Water Lake lies within Windsor Great Park. It was created from a body of water of the same name: originally little more than a stream, which existed from at least the 17th century. The lake is mostly in Surrey, though the western extremities are in the civil parishes of Old Windsor and Sunninghill and Ascot in Berkshire. Part of the lake was used for lakeside scenes in the Harry Potter films and for the boat scenes in Robin Hood.

Wentworth estate golf courses[edit]

The village is home to the Wentworth Estate and the Wentworth Club, where the first Ryder Cup was played. The village is in the Borough of Runnymede[2] in Surrey and its bodies of water stretch over the borders of Runnymede, Old Windsor and Sunninghill and Ascot.

Savill Garden[edit]

Main article: Savill Garden

This the landscaped garden run by the Crown Estate, open to the public, with café and other facilities.[4]

Windsor Great Park[edit]

Main article: Windsor Great Park

A very small portion of the main area of the Crown Estate in southern England is in Virginia Water, this is adjoining the lake and Savill Garden.

The village[edit]

Many of the village's houses are large detached homes on the private Wentworth Estate home of the Wentworth Club which has four golf courses. The Ryder Cup was first played there. This is home to the headquarters of the PGA European Tour, the world's second-richest professional golf tour (after the PGA Tour in the US).

Virginia Water is also home to many London commuters. It is close to the M25, M4 and M3 motorways. The village has a large railway station in the mid-east of the village by its main shops on the Waterloo to Reading line. Heathrow Airport is 8 miles (13 km) to the north-east. The village has two rows of shops, although a wider range of outlets are provided in the nearby towns of Staines-upon-Thames, Egham and Ascot. The villages of Englefield Green and Old Windsor are nearby. Holloway Sanatorium, an asylum for the mentally ill, where the writer Bill Bryson worked, upon first settling in England was in the far north-east of the area but closed in the 1980s when it was converted to private apartments.

Famous residents[edit]

General Augusto Pinochet was kept under house arrest in one of the Westworth Estate's houses before extradition to Chile.[5] Sarah, Duchess of York is a former royal resident. Many entertainment personalities also have or have had homes on the estate including Chris Squire, Sir Elton John, songwriter Bernie Taupin, Diana Dors, Russ Abbot, Cliff Richard, Bryan Forbes and his wife Nanette Newman and Sir Bruce Forsyth.[6] Golfers who have or have had homes on the estate include Sir Nick Faldo, European Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher, Sam Torrance, Sandy Lyle, Ernie Els and Thomas Bjørn. Ex-formula 1 team owner Eddie Jordan and boxer Prince Naseem Naseem Hamed also live on the Estate. The author and traveller Bill Bryson spent his early married life in the village. Paul Pindar, Chief Executive of Capita lives there. Edward VIII was a resident of 'Fort Belvedere' within the parish bounds.

Trumps Green[edit]

51°23′46″N 0°34′08″W / 51.396°N 0.569°W / 51.396; -0.569 From time to time during the 19th and 20th centuries particular map-annotated features extended to hamlets or neighbourhood: (the) Harpesford, Broom Hill, Knowle Hill, the General's Copse, the Dell, Callow Hill and St Ann's Heath have been branded as notable localities, however with the advent of the motor vehicle and population and amenities expansion in the centre of the village, and split up by their own woodland, these are officially classified as one with their parish, Virginia Water. They lack village-style amenities however an exception exists, which is closer to the railway station than much of the Wentworth Estate.

Trumps Green is from many viewpoints an integral part of the village. In addition to a small church and community centre, it has its own parade of shops on Trumpsgreen Road, and immediately adjoins to the Wentworth Estate and station parade end of the village.

Demography and housing[edit]

2011 Census Homes
Output area Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes shared between households[1]
Virginia Water 1,204 507 224 373 15 0

The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[1]
Virginia Water 5,940 2,323 42.3% 32.8% 1,479

The proportion of households in Virginia Water who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).

Housing in Virginia Water is more expensive, given its high proportion of large plot, large size detached homes compared with the district, region and national averages. In 2013, it became the first town outside London where house prices average more than £1 million.[7] Much of the housing in Virginia Water is within the prestigious Wentworth Estate, with over 700 high-end homes intermeshed among golf greens and small pine woodlands. The Wentworth estate, contains private streets, including many with their own security guards and dogs.[8]

Investment has been made by entrepreneurs of Russia, South Africa, China and the Middle East acquiring an occasional or main home.

Local government[edit]

At Surrey County Council, one of the 81 representatives represents the area within the Foxhills, Thorpe and Virginia Water division which extends as far as the River Thames and Ottershaw.[9]

At Runnymede Borough Council most wards of the borough are deemed appropriate to be represented under the current constitution of councillors by three councillors, which is the case for the ward.[4]

Runnymede Borough Councillors
Election Member[4]


2010 Margaret Roberts Virginia Water
2011 Geoffrey Woodger Virginia Water
2012 Parshotam Sohi Virginia Water

The village is also a ward on the same boundaries, and qualifies in the postal system as a post town which has no other traditionally defined settlements within it.



Virginia Water is located roughly in the area between the M25 and A30 south of Egham. It is under four miles from junction 13 of the M25 and under five miles from junction 11 of the M25. Junction 13 is, however, accessed far quicker (around six minutes as opposed to ten minutes for J11) due to the dual carriageways and higher speed limits on the A30 as opposed to the B roads to get to J11 at Chertsey.

Central London is most easily accessed with the M4 via M25 J13. However other parts of London would be better accessed using other routes, for example North London using the M40 via M25 and South West London via the M3 via M25 J11.

Kingston is a large retail centre easily accessed from Virginia Water via the A30 and A308 after Staines. It is historically a popular retail centre for all Surrey residents.

It is nearer to West London, with areas like Richmond, Hounslow, Ealing, and Chiswick being often visited commercial centres for residents. In terms of road transport, motorists may drive to stations on the Great Western Main Line to get faster trains to Paddington.

Dormitory Towns

That said, a large proportion of residents work in Central London and commute daily, as well a shopping in dormitory towns in London and the Home Counties, for example Kingston.


The rail service from Virginia Water station is somewhat inconvenient for the West End, as it takes 45 minutes to Waterloo and yet convenient for access to the City of London. There are frequent trains westwards to Reading and eastwards to Staines and Richmond.


Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ As described in the main article, the Wentworth Estate, its mansion homes that have been on the market since 2010 have aside from a few outliers to either side fetched between £3 million - £12 million.

External links[edit]

Media related to Virginia Water at Wikimedia Commons