What Is Woking Famous For? [EXPLAINED]

Mariton statue in Woking town centre

This vibrant town in Surrey is steeped in history. So, what is Woking famous for?

In short, its an inspirational place as many famous people were born, schooled or worked in the borough. 

It's renowned for being home to motorsport legends and hosting significant landmarks like Woking Palace and Shah Jahan Mosque.

Keep reading to discover what this place is best known for.

H.G. Wells Novel: War Of The Worlds 

The historic town of Woking boasts a unique claim to fame as the primary setting of H.G. Wells’ iconic science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds.

It was here at "Lynton" on Maybury Road that Wells resided in 1895 when the initial spark for his masterpiece ignited during a conversation with his brother Frank.

This literary gem forever links Woking to the realm of science fiction with artistic tributes scattered around the town centre.

Find out more on where you can see these sculptures honouring Well's work in our article "War Of The Worlds And Woking".

McLaren: Home Of Motorsport Legends

In 2005 Her Majesty the Queen officially opened the McLaren Technology Centre which stands as the headquarters of McLaren Racing and McLaren Automotive.

Set amidst picturesque parkland and a man-made lake, the Centre boasts an impressive architectural design.

While not accessible to the public, Woking is well-known today as the home of McLaren.

mclaren car in woking

Woking Palace: Once Royal Residence

Nestled alongside the picturesque River Wey the ruins of Woking Palace stand as a testament to centuries of history.

Designated as a scheduled ancient monument and a site of Special Scientific Interest, this site holds a significant place in Surrey's heritage.

The origins of the manor house can be traced back to 1272 with ownership passing through various hands over the years.

Notably, during the reign of Henry VIII extensive renovations were undertaken to enhance the palace.

However, by the early 17th century the building was sadly virtually abandoned. Over time neglect and the passage of years left the palace virtually in ruins and the park was turned over to farming. 

Shah Jahan: First Purpose-built Mosque In Britain

Over a century old the Shah Jahan Mosque nestled in Old Woking stands as a symbol of historical significance.

Constructed in 1889 from Bath and Bargate stone it once served as a place of worship for Queen Victoria's staff during her residency at Windsor Castle.

Remarkably, it's the only Grade 1 listed Mosque in the UK and operates as a registered charity.

Celebrities: Famous Authors To Musicians 

This Surrey town has connections to many famous people.

David Sproxton and Peter Lord attended the former Woking Grammar School and co-founded Aardman Animations Ltd which are responsible for the Oscar-winning film 'The Curse of the Were-Rabbit'. 

Renowned horticulturalist Graham Stuart Thomas who was a a resident of Horsell achieved global recognition for his classic books on roses, perenials and ornamental shrubs.

He even was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour.

Woking is also the birthplace of Ron Dennis, former head of the McLaren Group. 

The Spice Girls began their careers at a music studio in Knaphill after being picked from an audition of hundreds in June 1994. 

Historic Woking town centre


We hope you enjoyed exploring our article on "What Is Woking Famous For?".

Here at Gorse Hill we adore our hometown and invite you to book a stay with us if you want to explore all this place has to offer.

To explore more local attractions in the area attractions check out our articles on "10 Best Things To Do In Surrey For Couples" and "5 Best Playgrounds And Parks In Woking".


Frequently Asked Questions Related To: What Is Woking Famous For? 

Q: What celebrities were born in Woking?
A: Woking boasts many celebrities. The Jam's Paul Weller (1958), Rick Buckler (1955), and Bruce Foxton (1955) were all born and educated in this town.

Q: Why is Woking called Woking?
A: Ever wondered why Woking is called Woking? The town is named after a Anglo Saxon tribal leader which was thought to be called 'Wok' or 'Wocca'. The 'ing' part is derived from Old English coming from 'ingas' meaning 'the settlement of the people