Epsom and Ewell have been attracting visitors since Henry VIII built his lost Palace of Nonsuch in the Surrey countryside. Known worldwide as the home of the Derby and Epsom Salts, the district has sheltered many strange characters, from a clergyman who campaigned for polygamy to a Prime Minister who valued horses before politics. Epsom was a spa town in the days of Charles II, and its assembly rooms and mansion houses still echo to the tread of elegant ghosts. On the windswept Downs, nine successive grandstands have let royalty and riffraff view the world's greatest horse race, never forgotten in a town where every fifth pub is named after a racehorse. The Gothic turrets of Epsom College, the gaunt towers of five mental hospitals, and the yews and cedars of Victorian gardens mark out a landscape where the outer edge of London's suburbs gives way to fields and woods.