Aerial view of Virginia Water.
Virginia Water shown within Surrey
|Population||less than 3,000|
|OS grid reference|
|District||Runnymede Borough Council|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||Virginia Water|
|Postcode district||GU25 4|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Runnymede and Weybridge|
Virginia Water is an affluent village, becoming the first town outside central London where house prices average more than £1 million. However, large houses are considerably more expensive, £40 million and upward and the average figure is a reflection of the smaller housing near the station and to the south-east of the town. It would be difficult to find a property for less than £10 million in the west of the town. It is home to the Wentworth Estate and the Wentworth Club, where the first Ryder Cup was played. The village is situated in the Borough of Runnymede in Surrey England, and the bodies of water stretching over the borders of Runnymede, Old Windsor and Sunninghill and Ascot, England.
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 and may well be named after Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen. The lake is mostly in Surrey, though the western extremities are in the civil parishes of Old Windsor and Sunninghill and Ascot in Berkshire.
Recently the shores of the lake have been used for lakeside scenes in the Harry Potter films and for the boat scenes in Robin Hood. The lake is also the site of the British record capture of a pike, weighing 58 lb 5oz.
During World War II, the lake was drained, as its recognisable shape was thought likely to provide enemy guidance at night to Windsor and to important military targets in the area.
The 2001 census population of Virginia Water was 6,113. Many of the village's houses are large detached homes situated on the private Wentworth Estate home of the famous Wentworth Club which has four golf courses. The Ryder Cup was first played there. It is also home to the headquarters of the PGA European Tour, the world's second-richest professional golf tour (after the PGA Tour in the US). The estate reached the headlines in 1998 when General Augusto Pinochet was kept under house arrest in one of its houses prior to his extradition. 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. 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.
Virginia Water is also home to many central London commuters. It is close to the M25, M4 and M3 motorways. The village has a four track railway station in the middle of the village on the line between London Waterloo, Weybridge and Reading. Heathrow Airport is located four miles to the north-east. The village has two rows of shops, although many inhabitants travel to the nearby towns of Kingston-upon-Thames, Ascot and Windsor for shopping. The towns of Sunningdale, Englefield Green and Ascot are the closest. Holloway Sanatorium, an asylum for the mentally ill, where the writer Bill Bryson worked upon first settling in England was located near to the village but closed in the 1980s and was converted to private accommodation.
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.
Despite being half an hour from Central London, it is very near West London with areas like Richmond, Hounslow, Ealing, and Chiswick being often visited commercial centres for residents.
That said, a large proportion of residents work in Central London and commute daily, this is evident in the dormitory nature of the shops and the mention above of the frequent use of West London areas as commercial centres.
Frequent trains link Virginia Water railway station to London Waterloo and Reading. Access to the West End involves changing enroute. The Chertsey Branch connects with Weybridge. Access to Guildford involves changing at Ascot or Weybridge, whilst Kingston can be reached from Twickenham.
Thomas Sandby's cascade at Virginia Water
- Runnymede Borough Council
- Virginia Water community website
- BBC News:Pinochet retreats to luxury estate
Media related to Virginia Water at Wikimedia Commons