Skip to content

Things to see and do at Runnymede and Ankerwycke

A distant image of the Magna Carta Memorial- a round stone monument with a domed roof, with golden meadow grasses in the foreground
Sunrise over the meadow and Cooper's Hill Woods at Runnymede, Surrey | © National Trust images_John Millar

Walk, picnic or just relax by the river – with its meadows, woodlands, wetlands, and accessible stretches of the Thames, Runnymede is a great place to reconnect with nature. The site of the historic signing of the Magna Carta is also home to poignant memorials and arresting artworks reflecting on democracy and freedom. Across the river at Ankerwycke, you’ll discover the remains of a Benedictine priory and the oldest tree in the National Trust’s care. For a deeper dive, why not listen to our audio guides whilst you explore. 

Audio Guides

Using expert interviews and archive material, National Trust curator Rowena Willard-Wright delves into the history and significance of Runnymede and Ankerwycke on two immersive audio tours.

Runnymede in Sound
Join artists, archaeologists, historians and nature experts on a deeper dive into this historic meadow at Runnymede. The audio guide also includes a tour of The Jurors by artist Hew Locke.Find out more
Ankerwycke in Sound
Discover the secrets hidden amongst the woods and fields at Ankerwycke with National Trust Curator Rowena Willard-Wright.Find out more

Explore the countryside at Runnymede

With flower-filled meadows, lush wetlands, ancient woodlands and historic parkland – plus views worth the climb – the countryside at Runnymede is the perfect place to get back to nature.

A family among the long grass in a meadow at Runnymede, Surrey
A family enjoy a picnic in the meadow at Runnymede | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Glorious meadows

The Anglo-Saxon ‘Runemede’ means ‘meeting meadow’. For centuries known as a place for people to come together, today these meadows remain a pretty, open space for countryside walks. On a summer's day, look out for a dazzling array of wildflowers, buzzing with insects, birds and other wildlife.

1 of 4

Visit Runnymede’s memorials

Over 800 years ago, King John met with a group of barons in these very fields. It was here he signed the Magna Carta, seen by many as the symbolic first step on the road to modern democracy.

In this spirit, Runnymede is home to several memorials recognising the ongoing struggle for liberty.

The domed roof and pillars of the Magna Carta memorial at Runnymede, Surrey
The domed roof and seven pillars of the Magna Carta memorial at Runnymede, Surrey | © National Trust

Magna Carta memorial

This monument to the historic signing of the Magna Carta was designed by Sir Edward Maufe and erected in 1957 by the American Bar Association in appreciation of the Magna Carta’s role in founding the rule of law.

1 of 3

Enjoy the River Thames

This newly resurfaced stretch of the Thames Path is now fully accessible for all visitors. It's a great place to walk, cycle or simply relax on a riverside bench with a book or a picnic.

There's plenty for wildlife fans to enjoy, too – look out for kingfishers, ducks, geese and swans, and a host of different butterflies.

Tour the outdoor artwork

As you walk around Runnymede, you’ll come across a number of artworks by world renowned and award-winning artists.

Visitors explore the Writ in Water architectural artwork which features words from the Magna Carta carved in stone
Exploring the Writ in Water architectural artwork | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Writ in Water

Set in the heart of this historic landscape, this architectural artwork by Mark Wallinger and Studio Octopi reflects upon the founding principles of democracy and provides visitors with a space for quiet contemplation.

1 of 5

Cross the river to Ankerwycke

On the opposite bank of the Thames is Ankerwycke, whose ancient woodland, fields and ponds are steeped in history.

With a very wide, gnarled, hollow trunk, this tree, the Ankerwycke Yew, is believed to be the National Trust's oldest tree at 2,000 or more years old. It may mark the possible location of the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. And beneath this tree Henry VIII had liaisons with Anne Boleyn.
The historic Ankerwycke Yew is the oldest tree in the National Trust's care | © National Trust Images/John Millar

The Ankerwycke Yew

This gnarled and ancient tree is the oldest cared for by the National Trust and is thought to have stood here for as long as 2,500 years.

As well as being a valuable habitat for invertebrates, the yew is said to be the spot where King Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn.

Look out too for the clootie boards where visitors hang strips of cloth carrying prayers.

St Mary’s Priory

Ankerwycke is home to the ruins of St Mary’s Priory, a Benedictine nunnery built during the reign of Henry II and dedicated to St Mary Magdalene.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the surviving building fell into disrepair, and today only a few walls remain.

Look out for wildlife

There’s plenty of wildlife to look out for at Ankerwycke. Listen for the loud, laughing calls of the green woodpeckers, or see if you can spot them feeding on insects in the woods.

Emerald and large red dragonflies are often visible darting between the ponds. And in spring, the ground is carpeted with snowdrops, thought to have been planted here in Victorian times.


There are limited parking spaces at Ankerwyke. If the car park is full, please come back when it's quieter.

Note that access is always required along Magna Carta Lane, for emergency vehicles and residents.

A young girl with a dog exploring the Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede, Surrey, showing the inscription 'To commemorate Magna Carta, symbol of freedom under law'. The memorial marks the spot where the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215.

Discover more at Runnymede and Ankerwycke

Find out how to get to Runnymede and Ankerwycke, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

You might also be interested in

The Jurors, by artist Hew Locke, at Runnymede and Ankerwycke, Surrey, composed of 12 intricately worked bronze chairs incorporating imagery representing key moments in the struggle for freedom, rule of law and equal rights, photographed beneath a stormy sky

The Jurors at Runnymede 

Twelve intricately carved bronze chairs celebrate the endurance of Magna Carta at Runnymede. Discover the artwork and its inspiration here.

The round stone exterior of 'Writ in Water', an art installation inspired by Clause 39 of Magna Carta at Runnymede, Surrey

Writ in Water at Runnymede 

Reflect upon the history of Runnymede inside this immersive architectural installation, which celebrates the sealing of Magna Carta at Runnymede over 800 years ago.

The circular domed structure supported on columns of the Magna Carta memorial at Runnymede and Ankerwycke, Surrey

The history of Runnymede and Ankerwycke 

Learn about the historic sealing of the Magna Carta, a medieval priory, an ancient tree where Henry VIII wooed Anne Boleyn – and the site of a 1930s nightclub.

Map detailing walking route and marked locations to listen to the audio guide

Runnymede in Sound: audio tour 

Delve into the history and significance of Runnymede’s varied landscape in this immersive audio tour.

Visitors buying a pot of tea in the Magna Carta tea-room at Runnymede and Ankerwycke, Surrey

Eating at Runnymede 

Stay refreshed with hot and cold drinks, light meals, snacks and cakes in the Magna Carta tea-room at Runnymede.

Two people, one wearing a baby in a carrier, attach rope to their dogs' harnesses in a grassy area with trees at Runnymede, Surrey

Visiting Runnymede and Ankerwycke with your dog 

Runnymede and Ankerwycke is a three pawprint rated place. Enjoy riverside walks and open countryside on a dog walk at Runnymede and Ankerwycke. Find out where dogs can explore and read the Canine Code.

Sunlight glints through the tall trees, with ferns on the ground below in the woodland in early morning at Finchampstead Ridges, Runnymede, Surrey

Visit Finchampstead Ridges 

Discover far-reaching views, quiet woodlands and an ancient Roman road at Finchampstead Ridges – a cluster of hidden gems nestled in the countryside of Berkshire.

Views over the countryside from Denbies Hillside, Surrey, from trees with red and gold autumn foliage on the hill down to more autumn trees and hedges bordering fields below

Countryside and woodland in Surrey 

Explore the wide array of countryside settings around Surrey, from tranquil waterways to landscaped parkland, and plenty of hills to climb.