Things to do in Virginia Water, Surrey
The stream was dammed to form a lake in 1753 when it became the largest manmade lake in the UK. George IV had a 32-foot royal barge moored on the lake and entertained his friends with an orchestra aboard a smaller boat alongside.
The lake was temporarily drained during World War II. It was considered too easily recognizable for enemy aircraft possibly looking to bomb Windsor and other military targets in the area.
In 1998 General Pinochet of Chile was kept under house arrest at one of the mansions on the exclusive Wentworth Estate. Other famous residents include Sarah Ferguson, singer Cliff Richard, TV host Bruce Forsyth and comedian Russ Abbott along with many professional golfers.
Present Day Virginia Water
The latest census recorded Virginia Water as having around 6,000 residents. It is popular with London commuters as it is close to the M25, M3 and M4 motorways. The village has a station on the railway line to London's Waterloo station, Reading and Weybridge and London's Heathrow Airport is just eight miles away.
Virginia Water has several local shops in the centre of the village and larger stores and supermarkets can be found at Staines, Windsor and Ascot.
Virginia Water has many large detached homes on the Wentworth Estate, which includes the world class Wentworth Golf Club with its four illustrious courses. It is home to the PGA Golf Tour, which was where the Ryder Cup was first played.
The lake has an 18th century ornamental cascade, a ruined temple built from columns brought from the ancient city of Leptis Magna in Libya and a towering totem pole, a gift to the Queen from the Kwakiutl people of British Columbia in Canada.
Virginia Water lake was used in the filming of the Harry Potter scenes. It is also well known by fishing enthusiasts as the place where the largest pike in Britain was caught, weighing a massive 58 pounds 5 ounces.
The area has several local pubs including the Wheatsheaf Hotel which has a pleasant beer garden, the Beehive and the Fox and Hounds.
Things to do in Virginia Water
Old Windsor is a delightful place to visit within easy reach from Virginia Water. Windsor Castle offers a full day of attractions with its historic buildings, gardens and the magnificent St George's Chapel. Guided tours are the best way to learn about the history of this royal palace.
Ascot Racecourse has regular racing as well as the famous five-day Royal Ascot event each June.
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