Adventures around Wokingwith PlusBus
Science Fiction writer H.G. Wells lived in Woking and wrote some of his best-loved novels here, The Time Machine and much of The War of the Worlds. You can see the landscapes that inspired his work, the house where he lived, a statue of the writer and a metal sculpture of one of the towering Martian tripods from War of the Worlds. Woking also has some lovely canal and woodland walks and the original town of Old Woking with its peaceful church and flowering meadows. You can reach all these by bus. Simply add PlusBus to your train ticket for unlimited bus travel all day across the Woking area.
1. Visit Britain's first purpose-built mosque
With its green dome and elegant architecture, the Shah Jahan mosque on Woking’s Oriental Road is Britain’s only Grade I listed mosque. Dr Gottleib Leitner, a professor of Arabic, founded the mosque in 1889, the first mosque built in Europe outside Spain. The mosque is open to visit all year round and you can book a guided tour.
- How do I get to the Shah Jahan mosque by bus? Catch bus 437 from stop 3 outside the railway station to Lion Retail Park. Walk a few steps back along the road and turn right at the sign. Several other buses, including half-hourly bus 436, also leave from the railway station and stop a short walk away on Walton Road.
- What else can I see nearby? H.G. Wells lived round the corner on Maybury Road. To find the house, walk a few steps further along Oriental Road, turn left past Asda and left again after the railway bridge onto Maybury Road. Wells lived at number 141, where there is now a blue plaque.
- Horsell Common, also nearby, was one of the local sites that helped inspire War of the Worlds (see 2 below for more on exploring this area). This walk will help you discover more of Woking’s Wellsian connections.
2. Stroll along the canal
Visit Woking’s Peace Garden, a tranquil memorial space of trees and water, and wander through the pine trees on Horsell Common. The common, near the Shah Jahan mosque, is a great place for a woodland stroll. You can visit the town’s quietly majestic Muslim mausoleum or Peace Garden and then stroll back along the canal to Woking’s Lightbox gallery.
- How do I get to Horsell Common by bus? Bus 456 runs from Woking railway station (Stop 6) to Boundary Road. Walk a few more steps along the road and turn left over the canal to reach the corner of the common near the Peace Garden.
- Return to the canal for a lovely walk along the towpath, heading back into town with the water on your left. Crossing to the far side of the canal, beyond the second road bridge, you reach the Kiwi and Scot cafe on a garland-decked canal boat.
- Walking back a few steps to cross the pedestrian bridge nearby, with its statues of the cricketing twins Alex and Eric Bedser, you can visit the striking Lightbox Gallery, with its changing exhibitions and permanent free gallery of local history.
- Cross the road outside the gallery and turn left to reach a statue of HG Wells, holding a globe in his hand. Turn right here and you will reach the sculpture of a Martian tripod, stalking through the tall glass office blocks.