Surrey - the region



Surrey is your gateway to the south east of England, and London. The county covers some 1,500 square kilometres between London to the North and the protected countryside of the Surrey Hills to the south. Home to over a million residents, it's a place where traditional English villages meet modern centres for business and commerce.

Situated in the heart of South England in close proximity to London, Surrey has a dynamic economy and a population of 1.06 million, of which over half are economically active. The unemployment figure remains at 0.9%. The 2002 workplace based Annual Business Inquiry puts the total number of Surrey businesses at around 56,000.

Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or sector in the UK and is used in the calculation of GDP. In 2002 Surrey's GVA had grown to £16.5bn, equivalent to an annual growth rate of 3.8% since 1982. Output has grown steadily above the UK annual trend growth rate of 2.5%. In 2003, the single largest sector in output terms was business services, including activities such as professional services, IT services, and consultancy. The sector contributed £400m to output in Surrey, almost twice as much as the second largest producer in Surrey, the retail sector.

Surrey is served by two of the world's largest international airports, Gatwick and Heathrow. Most major towns in Surrey have connections by rail to central London with a frequency of half an hour or less. Surrey also benefits from a comprehensive road network including the M25, M3 and M23. Proximity to Europe is also clearly a factor in the decision of a number of international companies to locate in the county.

The county is rated highly for its industrial structure and there is a strong focus on knowledge based industries. There is also good representation from sectors such as ICT, biotechnology and advanced engineering and a number of business clusters have developed around certain sectors.

The skills and occupational attributes of Surrey's local workforce are strong. There are high levels of entrepreneurship and above average percentages of the resident workforce are employed as managers and senior officials. The percentage of the population with degrees is high and education within the county is also highly rated, both the schools and the universities. Of particular importance to the business community is the varied graduate labour market, a significant amount of which has come from highly rated research departments within the county's universities.

The main employment is concentrated in the central towns of Guildford and Woking, to the west in Camberley and Staines and to the East in Leatherhead, Dorking and Reigate. Employment levels are very high, although the county's commercial premises have varying levels of occupancy.

The county also rates highly in environmental terms. Surrey is England's most wooded county and over 70% of its land lies within the greenbelt.

Look one way and you'll find quintessential English countryside. Look the other and there sits London, one of the greatest cities in the world, just up the road, yet a million miles away. The experiences that beckon are wide and varied.

Discover a landscape rich in history - from the grand palace of Hampton Court to the Saxon churches and many idyllic villages. You'll find gardens beyond compare - from the ornate wonders of Kew to the horticultural marvels of RHS Wisley - you're sure to find your own version of paradise. And don't be too surprised if you come face to face with one of the many deer in one of our vast parks. But even Eden could benefit from a traditional pub and a hearty lunch by the Thames.

Looking for human drama? Join in the infectious excitement at the Derby or international tennis. Feel the adrenalin at an adventure park or relax and play a round on one of the many golf courses. And for those more cerebral diversions, there's a fine choice of West End calibre theatres to be found in the many towns.

There's no end to the ways in which you can indulge yourself - from up-market shopping in smart historic towns to hunting out a bargain at an antique fair. And to rediscover your equilibrium, you'll find quite a few relaxing spas.

Surrey is a unique county with bustling market towns perfectly balanced by beautiful open spaces, country peace and calming waters. Where ancient and modern sit together to create towns of distinctly English charm.

In Surrey, you're certain to find your own way to feel at home.