• 04Mar
    Having lived in Guildford for nearly 7 years now and soon to move away, I’ve been contemplating the delights our town has to offer… and what we’ll be missing once we leave it behind! There’s a lot I love about this place, steeped as it is in history with some very beautiful and important architecture and connections.

    Guildford is the County Town of Surrey, only 30 odd miles from London with a population of around 67,000. It is unusual in it’s compact size but wealth of amenities. It is also home to Surrey’s only Royal castle which was built in Norman times by William the Conqueror soon after 1066. Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) resided in the area and there are several reminders of his presence around the town in the form of eye-catching statues, the house he bought for his sisters and his burial site at The Mount cemetery. Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) was another well known local who created over 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and America.

    There is no denying Guildford is a great place to shop and socialise too. Walking up the cobbled High Street there is a lot to tempt, with more specialised boutiques to be found in smaller lanes branching off the main street, as well as those shops you find in every town and some rather expensive ones for the more affluent visitors. There are also a couple of modern buzzing shopping arcades and a proliferation of cafes and restaurants to choose from when you feel peckish.

    The other day whilst out taking photos we walked past the Guildford Museum, Castle Arch, which apparently has a wealth of local history and memorabilia – really must pay that a visit soon, I had forgotten it was there and yet want to learn more about Guildford’s history, how silly! I particularly love walking around the castle grounds and am still discovering new bits as there are different paths and tunnels plus some gorgeous flower beds that are extremely well maintained. There are lots of places to sit and enjoy the views and it gets pretty crowded when the weather is good. In summer there are often concerts and theatre groups around the bandstand and there is a great atmosphere.

    Millmead is a good place to get away from the bustle of town. Close to the centre you can find a bit of peace and watch the canal boats navigating Millmead Lock on their journey along the River Wey. We’ve often walked along the towpath past the yacht club and once even made it all the way to Godalming… but got the train back.

    There’s a lot more I could write but then I’d really sound like a tour guide!! One last thing to mention is the cathedral. It was concecrated in 1961 and is an unusual modern building which I’ve grown to love after initially disliking the architecture intensely. It is also far more impressive at night when floodlit to amazing effect and visible from miles around. Inside the stone is honey coloured and the floors marble, combining with the many high arches to give a feeling of great space and tranquility.

    I’ve put together an album of the best photographs we’ve taken – just click on the photos above to link to it. As ever, comments and criticism most welcome.

One Response

  • andyp Says:

    “soon to move away” – oh!

    I have to say that I like the centre of Guildford, but I’ve really not explored it much. I’ve never been to the cathedral, for example. I really should look around a lot more.