Guildford Area Guide
For many visitors approaching Guildford, often referred to as the county town of Surrey, their first view is of the 20th century cathedral and its golden angel weather-vane. Overlooking the town and University, it is perched on Stag Hill and dominates the surrounding landscape.
Guildford town itself is situated on the banks of the River Wey, occupying a natural gap in the North Downs that provides fantastic road and rail connections to the South East of England and London City centre. Although now used mainly for pleasure, the Wey Navigation and links to the Basingstoke Canal once afforded Guildford easy access to England’s extensive canal network. Although the wharfs and warehouses no longer operate, parts of the waterfront have been preserved, offering a glimpse into the town’s not-so-distant past.
Located equally between London and Portsmouth, the town gained early importance as a staging post for travellers, civilian and military, as well as fulfilling its local role as the regional market place, occasional seat of the County Assizes, and location of a Royal hunting lodge.
In modern times the town has retained its importance as a communication hub and market town, and gained a contemporary cathedral, modern university, world-class sports facilities and extensive shopping and commercial developments. It also benefits from an excellent, high speed rail link to London.
There is plenty to do and see in Guildford, particularly if History is of interest to you. This includes trips to Guildford Castle which is believed to date back to almost 1066, Guildford Cathedral or an educational visit to Guildford Museum.
There are two market locations in Guildford- the High Street where a Farmers’ market is held on the first Tuesday of each month (not in January) and North Street where a traditional market flourishes every Friday and Saturday. The Farmers Market extends along the length of the High Street, and includes food, craft and plant stalls. The market in North Street is more general including fruit and vegetables, flowers and home goods.
In addition to the picturesque cobbled High Street and side alleys, Guildford has a major, two storey shopping centre called The Friary centre along with over 240 different retailers across the town. The recently completed pop up village offers visitors a unique shopping experience amongst pop up shops amongst entertainment, bars and live music and performances.
Art galleries, theatres, live music, comedy nights and more active entertainment provide enjoyment to locals and visitors alike. Venues include The Odeon multi screen cinema, G Live, The boileroom, the Electric Theatre, The Spectrum Leisure centre, Stoke Park and Tree top adventure site amongst many others.