Fodor's Expert Review Waverley Abbey
One of the oldest Cistercian abbeys in England, this was an important center of monastic power from 1128 until Henry VIII's dissolution of the monastries. What remains is a strikingly picturesque ruin surrounded by open countryside. Roofed sections of the undercroft and monks' dormitory survive, as does the refrectory tunnel and a magnificent yew tree in the former churchyard, thought to be around 700 years old. A more unexpected historical footnote sits on the banks of the abbey stream: moss-covered tank traps, overlooked from across a field by a pillbox (sniper station). They were placed here during World War II after British generals role-played a Nazi invasion and decided this was the route they'd choose to attack London. Unused plans later found in Berlin showed they were precisely right. The abbey is off the B3001, 9 miles southwest of Guildford.