Guildford is a large town in Surrey in the South East of England. It has still retained much of its historical charm. A short walk up the cobbled high street shows many buildings which are hundreds of years old. The medieval castle was used by the King of England in the 1400s and because of this Guildford is the only royal town in Surrey.
Guildford is the county town of Surrey, but not the administrative centre (that is Kingston upon Thames, which is actually in a London borough). It is the economic and cultural centre of the whole of West Surrey.
Although under 30 miles away from Central London Guildford has its own individuality and is not similar to boroughs in London or other commuter towns in Surrey. Guildford is a large town with all the amenities of a city.
Guildford is served by many bus routes from Woking, Aldershot, Godalming and other local places. Prices can be fairly expensive and buses can be unreliable particularly after 6:30PM.
The main bus station, which is the terminus for all routes heading into Guildford, is on Commercial Road (off the bottom of North Street). From here, one can pick up details about bus services and buy cheaper long term tickets.
Park and rideGuildford has several park and ride carparks, and at the weekend they are the easiest way to get into the town centre. They are situated at Artington (on the Portsmouth Rd heading out towards Godalming, about 3 miles south of Guildford), at the Spectrum Leisure Complex, at Merrow on the A246 Epsom Road, east of Guildford, and at Onslow near to the RSCH and Surrey Sports Park, west of Guildford. At all four sites, the car parking is free and you just pay for the bus fare to get into the town centre. The park and ride system is good for the environment and also it allows the city to stay congestion free!
- Onslow - buses run every 15 minutes between 7:30am and 7pm on Mondays to Saturdays. The park and ride from Onslow costs £1.50.
- Spectrum Leisure Complex – buses run every 12 minutes Mondays to Fridays from 7:27am to 11:10pm, reduced to every 20 minutes after 7:30pm. The park and ride from the Spectrum costs £2.40 return.
- Artington – buses run every 10-12 minutes from Mondays to Saturdays from 7:30am to 7:30pm. The park and ride from Artington costs £2.20 return.
- Merrow – buses run every 15 minutes between 7:30am and 7:33pm from Mondays to Saturdays. The park and ride from Merrow costs £1.80 return.
By planeGuildford is well served by London's collection of airports. For travellers coming directly to Guildford, the most convenient (in reducing order of convenience) are:
- Heathrow Airport (LHR) is about 40 minutes drive along the M25 motorway and the A3 trunk road. It is also linked directly to Woking rail station by the RailAir express bus service.
- Gatwick Airport (LGW) is about an hour's drive away via the M23 (northbound), M25 (clockwise) and A3 (southbound) roads. There is a through train service to Guildford from a rail station in the airport terminal complex, running twice an hour and taking less than an hour.
Guildford main line station is served by commuter and regional train services from many different directions, including two routes to London (one fast via Woking, the other slow via Cobham). The fast services continue southwards to Portsmouth. Guildford also lies on the line from Reading to Gatwick Airport; beyond Reading, services to Oxford and Birmingham may be accessed, and via Gatwick, connections to Brighton and Kent.
From London, you should travel from London Waterloo station and catch a train whose first stop after Woking is Guildford (there are several of these an hour), the travel time will be about 35 minutes. There are also a few Portsmouth bound trains that go non-stop to Guildford. There are other stopping services from Waterloo via Cobham, but these take so much longer it isn't normally worth considering them.
There is a smaller station called , which is the penultimate stop on the line from London via Cobham.
Train times can be found on the National Rail Planner or by calling from anywhere in the UK.
By coachNational Express serve Guildford with express bus (UK English:coach) services from around the country; advanced ticketing is necessary. They serve a stop called Guildford Park Barn, which is a slightly out-of-town location near a Tesco supermarket. You will have to catch a local bus or taxi (if you can find one) to take you into Guildford.
By carGuildford is served by the A3 trunk road which runs from London to Portsmouth. It is about an hour's drive from central London.
If you are visiting for the day by car, consider using the Park & Ride site at the Spectrum leisure complex just off the A3 southbound, Onslow just off the A3 northbound, Merrow to the east of Guildford or the site on the Old Portsmouth Road at Artington (on the way to Godalming) and catching the dedicated express bus from these locations.
By footThe central area of Guildford is easily walkable, but hilly. From the railway station you must cross the river Wey in order to reach the town centre and the bus station.
By busBuses not only provide a good way of getting around the central district of Guildford itself, but are adequate for the local community. Buses are operated mainly by Arriva Kent and Surrey, Stagecoach South and Safeguard.
phone: 087-608-2-608 (local rate)provide an impartial online travel planner and telephone query service for local bus services.
By taxiTaxis are by far the most expensive way to get around Guildford. If you do wish to travel by taxi, there are taxi ranks at the front of the Railway Station, and at the bottom of North Street on the other side of the road from the Electric Theatre. You can also get taxis from various places around the city centre.
Taxis can also be booked by phone and will usually pick up from most locations within a 5-mile radius of the town centre. Popular operators include:
- 5 & 6's +44 1483 565656
- A-Line Cars +44 1483 564656
- Beeline Cars +44 1483 566666
- City Cabs +44 1483 888666
- GTA Taxis 0800 502250
- Guildford Express +44 1483 577171
- Surrey Cars +44 1483 577677
- Guildford Taxi +44 1483 905789
By carWhilst not as bad as either London or Oxford, Guildford's roads can get very congested at peak periods, especially at the hogs back. Especially if you are not used to driving on the left, central Guildford is probably best avoided.
On the other hand, a car is the one (possibly along with cycling) of the only really practical ways of seeing a lot of the local countryside and villages. Out here the roads are a lot quieter.
MapsIf you are planning to do any visiting or exploring beyond central Guildford, you will probably want to obtain a decent map of the area. You should ensure that any map you buy clearly shows the national grid reference lines, and explains how to use them, as grid references are frequently used to indicate out of town locations. The best maps for this purpose are those published by the Ordnance Survey (Britain's national mapping agency) and the following maps cover all the locations mentioned below:
- Ordnance Survey Landranger 186. This map covers the area around and between Guildford and Aldershot at a scale of 1:50000 and is best for exploration by car or cycle.
- Ordnance Survey Explorer 145. This map covers the area around Guildford at a scale of 1:25000 and is best for walking.
Abbot's Hospitaladdress: High StreetBuilt in 1619 by Guildfordian Archbishop of Canterbury George Abbot as a retirement home for the local elderly.
Chestnutsaddress: Castle HillLewis Carroll, author, mathematician and photographer, Lewis Carroll (b1832) lived in Guildford until his death in 1898. Visit Lewis Caroll's house 'Chestnuts', on Castle Hill in the centre. See Guided Tours of Guildford.
The Guildhalladdress: High StA marvellous Tudor/Stuart building with its overhanging 1683 clock.
Guildford Museumphone: +1483 444751address: Quarry St
The Spike Heritage Centrephone: +44 1483 598420address: Warren Road, GU1 3JH19th-century workhouse used to house vagrants until 1960. This site has now been fully restored and is one of two similar sites in the UK.
address: Castle Street, GU1 3TUMedieval castle built to protect the town in the 1400s and one of Henry III's most luxurious residences. Conservation work revealed a 12th century first floor chamber which is now open to the public.
address: Stag Hill, GU2 7UPA 1930s brick cathedral which was the first to be built on a new site in the south of England since the Reformation. The inside is more impressive than the outside. The cathedral was started in the 1930s, but it wasn't until 1961 that it was consecrated due to an interruption in construction due to World War II.
St Catherine's ChapelRuined chapel a short walk along the river wey from Guildford town centre.
The Wey NavigationThis canal winds its way through Guildford until it reaches the River Thames in Weybridge. Of particular interest is the HQ at Dapdune Wharf, but just sitting down by the locks near the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre watching canal boats is very peaceful and gives one an insight into what the Wey once was - a busy industrial thoroughfare connecting Guildford and Surrey's industries with the rest of the country - and you might even get to help open the locks for the boat!
phone: +44 1483 222482address: West Clandon, GU4 7RQ
phone: +44 1306 876616address: London Road, RH5 6AAVery good wine, England's largest vineyard.
phone: +44 1483 222482address: East Clandon, GU4 7RT
phone: +44 1306 712711address: near Coldharbour village, Dorking
phone: +44 1483 304440address: GU3 1HS
phone: +44 1483 795483address: Albury, GU4 8SESituated on the southern facing side of the North Downs, there are fantastic views over Surrey and also plenty of walks to be done. 10-min drive from the centre of Guildford.
Painshill Landscape Gardens
phone: +44 1483 224234address: Wisley, Surrey, GU23 6QBThe Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) flagship garden is one of the world's great horticultural gardens, with thousands of plants from every continent across dozens of themed areas including formal gardens, borders, arboreta, rockeries, orchards and glasshouses.
phone: +44 370 333 1181address: Farnham, GU9 8EP
Watts Gallery and Watts Chapelphone: +44 1483 810235address: Down Lane, Compton, GU3 1DQThe gallery and exceptional chapel are just off the A3, south of Guildford, near Compton. It is well worth a visit to see the fine Arts and Crafts buildings.
phone: +44 1483 561389address: Shalford, near Guildford, GU4 8BS
phone: +44 1483 369350address: London Rd, GU1 2AAReplacement for the Guildford Civic Hall.
address: Tours start from under the Tunsgate archWalks last 70 to 90 minutes and cover about half a mile, and there are a choice of tours to do from ghosts and legends to tours looking at historic buildings in the town.
address: Bedford Rd, GU1 4SJMulti-screen cinema showing all the usual Hollywood offerings.
phone: +44 344 880 8866address: Unit 9 Cobbett Park, Moorfield Rd, GU1 1RUAn artificial climbing experience for all abilities.
phone: +44 1483 443322address: Parkway, GU1 1UPLeisure centre with swimming, bowling, ice skating, fitness suites.
address: Lido Road, Stoke Park, GU1 1HBFully restored 1930s art deco outdoor swimming pool.
Boat trips from Dapdune WharfRun by the National Trust with help from volunteers.
- Hire a rowing boat (£7) or a canoe (£5) and travel along the river at your own pace. Boats can be hired from the Guildford Boathouse, located at the back of Millmead short stay car park off the Shalford Road. The boats tend to be in good condition and the river is not too crowded!
There are many walks around the North Downs surrounding Guildford including the North Downs Way which runs from Farnham (8 miles west of Guildford) to Folkestone some 80 miles away. There are also pleasant walks to be had along the River Wey to Godalming or Woking. Pewly Down and The Chantries which are south-east of the town centre offer a change of scenery. The Fox Way is a another walk of 39 mi (63 km) split in 7 stages around Guildford.
Guildford Book FestivalAnnual festival of literature featuring signings, readings, plays, etc.
Guildford International Music FestivalA biennial festival (2017, 2019, etc.) featuring many concerts across 2–3 weeks. Genres are mixed, and the festival brings high quality professional acts to the town.
Farnborough International AirshowNot in Guildford (10 miles away in Farnborough), but well worth a visit to this biennial airshow.
phone: +44 1483 448500address: Stoke RoadCourses include summer English courses of two weeks or longer.
Guildford Adult Education Centrephone: +44 1483 518528address: Sydenham RoadRun by the county council. Has some 1-day summer art clasees.
There are also various private education providers including a Pitman Centre
Guildford has a vast array of temping agencies and private owned job centres. Walk up the High Street or North Street, or look in the local newspaper, the Surrey Advertiser.
ShoppingSometimes regarded as one of the premier shopping destinations in the South, Guildford is the major shopping centre of West Surrey - possibly the whole county - with most of its shops clustered in a fairly compact area on and around the High Street, and the parallel North Street.
There are three shopping centres:
phone: +44 1483 503773address: North St, GU1 4YT
phone: +44 1483 506877address: 40 Friary St, GU1 3DW
phone: +44 1483 537153address: Tunsgate, GU1 3QT
There are two major department stores,
phone: +44 344 800 3730address: 105 - 111 High St, GU1 3DP
phone: +44 344 800 8877address: Millbrook, GU1 3UU
Although there are several shopping malls, unlike many modern towns in England, the famed and attractive cobbled High Street has remained the focus of Guildford's shopping district. It is here, on the High Street and on North Street that you will find the best shops, and have the nicest shopping experience.
In general stores open M-Sa 9:30AM–5:30PM and Su 10AM-4PM although many stay open longer on some days and some do not open on a Sunday.
In addition to the shops and malls scattered around North Street and the High Street there is also a regular market each Friday and Saturday which stretches along North Street which offers a variety of goods including traditional fresh meat, fish, fruit, fresh ground coffee, cheese, olives, vegetables, flowers, pet food, luggage, linen, rugs, bags, towels, jewellery, clothes, cards, wooden carvings, CDs and picture frames.
The market operates during normal shopping hours on Fridays and Saturdays on North Street in Guildford, and is very close to Leapale Road and Castle multi-storey car parks.
There is also a Farmers Market on the High Street generally on the first Tuesday of every month. These times can vary during the summer season and during Guilford Summer festival, where markets, including crafts and handicrafts markets can be seen lining the high street for several weeks. During the run up to Christmas, too, there will be extra markets.
All main British banks and building societies have branches in Guildford, and most of them are situated around the eastern end of the High Street. These branches normally open M-F 9AM-4PM and Sa 9AM-noon.
Most bank and building society branches have 'through the wall' type ATMs that are open 24x7.
For changing money there are many Bureaux de Change services throughout the town, with some such as the post office offering commission free exchanges.
Guildford has a good selection of restaurants with many different themes attracting different tastes. On Friday and Saturday many of them are booked up weeks in advance and early booking is advisable to avoid disappointment.
Olivioaddress: 53 Quarry StreetTucked away from the high street and hard to find if you are not a regular visitor to the town. Worth perservering as an excellent choice.
Loch Fyneaddress: Centenary Hall Chapel StreetPart of a national chain of restaurants - situated in a classic style building in a prominent position in the town.
Shardanaaddress: Bakers Yard, High StreetItalian bar and Pizzaria.
Cote Bistroaddress: 35 Castle StreetFrench cuisine.
Brasserie Gerardaddress: 260 - 262 High St
Magnifico's Restaurantaddress: 144 High St
Mandarin Restaurantaddress: 13 Epsom Rd
Maloncho Tandooriaddress: 7 Epsom RdIndian food.
address: 21 Chapel St
Rose Valley Curry Houseaddress: 50-52 Chertsey StBest curry house in town. Prince Harry and his mates have been known to dine here in the past.
address: 16-18 London RoadWell presented Thai restaurant with a decent menu. There is normal seating, and for the brave, more traditional Kan Tok (much lower!) seating.
Sir & Madam Thai Restaurantaddress: 8-9 Jeffries Passage
Strada Restaurantaddress: 222 High St
TGI Fridaysaddress: 2 North StAmerican restaurant chain. Good cocktails and ribs.
The Thai Terrace-Rooftop Restaurantaddress: 7th Floor Castle Car ParkOffers a superb view of the town
Yvonne Arnaud Riverview Restaurantaddress: Millbrook
address: 4 Chapel St
Turtle Bayphone: +44 1483 300307address: 1 North StreetCaribbean food and cocktails. Part of a chain.
- Worplesdon Place Hotel - very good food, but a bit expensive, and service can be slow.
Pubs and barsIn the town centre, Bridge Street (between The Friary shopping centre and the railway station) has a cluster of formulaic wine bars and cafe bars. Cheap prices and themed nights are fun, and popular with locals, as such the area gets extremely busy around closing time.
- Bar Mambo Onslow Street. Brilliant location.... Drink prices now very reasonable. Shows a lot of sport - football, rugby, etc. Staff are very friendly, food is fantastic. It's the place to be...
- Bar Med Bridge St. A (loosely) Mediterranean themed bar that shows a lot of Sky football matches. Reasonably priced beer, and pretty good food as well. Well due a facelift.
- Rodborough Buildings Bridge St. huge bar on two floors. JD Wetherspoons bar.
- Tickled Ivory Onslow Street. Piano bar with a limited drinks selection. Avoid on Saturdays.
On or near the High Street:
Joe Clarksaddress: 176 High StreetCafe and wine bar with a Mediterranean feel.
The Tudor Loungeaddress: 144 High StreetSmall bar - good for a passing drink.
The Three Pigeonsaddress: 169 High StreetHistoric town pub renamed back to the Three Pigeons in 2009.
address: 3 Milkhouse GateIndependent tapas bar which is quite cramped inside. Serves as a late bar and can be a cheaper alternative to going to one of the clubs.
Five & Limeaddress: Leapale RoadSmall cocktail bar.
The King's Headaddress: 52 Quarry StreetInside, a traditional English pub, outside a very chic rooftop terrace. Very nice sitting outside in the summer.
Pews Baraddress: 21 Chapel StLarge outdoor bar area.
- The Robin Hood Sydenham Road, +44 1483 888307. Just behind the High Street, a 'proper' pub, good beer, great friendly atmosphere, food lunchtimes and evenings with new menu and famous Sunday Roast which takes some beating! Live music Friday and Saturday evenings with acoustic Sunday night entertainment starting mid-August. Need to book for Sunday lunch.
The Royal Oakaddress: 15 Trinity ChurchyardHidden just behind the top of the high street, a traditional English pub, serving a range of real ales and imported drinks. Also known to host a few live music events from time to time.
The Star Innaddress: 2 Quarry StQuite a lively pub with a young crowd. Good live local bands on some nights.
The Guildford Tupaddress: 46 Chertsey StClose to York Road Car Park. Expensive beer.
Ha Ha Bar and Canteenaddress: 16-17 North StreetRefurbished in a fairly central location, close to the bus station and taxi rank.
Close to the River Wey
The White Housephone: +44 1483 302006address: 8 High StreetNice outside terrace close to the river, very nice to relax an a summers day or night.
- The Rowbarge, 7 Riverside. Outside deck looks over the river.
The George Abbotphone: +44 1483 302006address: 7-11 High StreetLarge Pub with big screens with live sports. Good selection of beers and real ales. Nice selection of food.
The Britanniaphone: +44 1483 572160address: 9 MillmeadPreviously called Scruffy Murphys, there is a deck on the front of the pub which overlooks the river.
The Boatmanaddress: MillbrookA short walk out of town close to the Yvonne Arnold Theatre, nice outside deck which stretches right out next to the river (railings are now placed at the edge for safety).
More traditional English pubs
- Ye Olde Ship Inn, St. Catherines, Portsmouth Road. Next to the College of Law, is the oldest pub in Guildford.
- The Angel, on the High Street. A very pleasant pub, with a fine selection of locally brewed ales. It is expensive to drink here but this keeps the youth out, making it one of very few pubs in Guildford town centre where you can enjoy a quiet drink!
- The White Hart, White Hart Lane, Wood Street (3 miles outside of Guildford) is a nice traditional English pub serving good quality local ales in a very attractive setting.
- The Ship Inn Pitch Place, Worplesdon Road, 1 mile out of Guildford. Next to Yeomans Honda, serves traditional food and quality ales.
In the Stoke Park Area
For visitors to Guildford this is generally an overlooked area of guildford, which is up and coming due to the increasing student population. Also it has been billed as Guildford's Latin quarter because of its dancing and salsa venues.
The Stokeaddress: 103 Stoke RoadHolds dance classes every Thursday which include include Salsa (Cuban, Cross Body On 1)and Rueda. Student discounts apply.
The Prince Albertaddress: 85 Stoke RoadIt offers a selection of pub meals from £2.
- The Casino, Onslow St. Guildford's main event night club.
- Dusk (formerly known as Cinderellas). This is a smaller club than Harper's, attracting a younger crowd.
- The Legion, Millbrook. On 3 floors, with 2 bars and a dance floor.
- Flares, Bridge Street. 1970s/80s themed bar.
m.Brasserie & Baraddress: 36-40 London RoadPart of the Mandolay hotel, this bar is at the top of the high street on the town centre and has a free-entry disco/club before 10:30PM.
Live music venues
- The Boileroom, 13 Stokefields +44 1483 440022. Billed as Guildford's Premier Live Music venue.
- Wooden Bridge Pub, Woodbridge Hill, GU2-9AA, +44 1483 572708. Guildford's live music venue for the talent that the ACM, Guildford and the surrounding areas have to offer. Weekly Live nights: The Other Side Of The Bridge, hosted by Way Out. Every Saturday from 8PM.
address: 29 Woodbridge Road
address: 113 Stoke Road
address: 117 Stoke Road
address: Egerton Rd
address: Woodbridge Meadows
address: Egerton Road, GU2 7XZSituated on the outskirts of Guildford, the hotel is near Heathrow Airport and Central London. There are also leisure and business facilities on-site.
address: 73 Farnham Rd
address: Epsom Rd
address: 78 Epsom Rd
The Angel Posting House and Liveryaddress: High Street
address: 253 High St
address: Perry Hill
Ramada Jarvis Hotel in Guildford/Leatherheadaddress: E Horsley
address: Newlands Corner
address: 36-40 London Rd
address: 3 Alexandra Terrace, High StreetLandmark hotel next to G-Live.
Much of the centre of town is monitored 24 hours a day by CCTV cameras.
Guildford's area code (for landline numbers) is 01483 when dialed from within the UK or +44 1483 from outside the UK.
Cellphone coverage is generally good within the city and surrounding area.
If you are travelling with a laptop then you will find broad-band internet access in the rooms of most, but not all, medium to high end hotels. If this is important to you check before booking. And there are many Wi-Fi hot spots in and around Guildford.
There are also several places that offer web and other internet access if you are travelling without a laptop. These include:
- Caffe Nero, High Street.
phone: +44 1483 568496address: 77 North StreetFree access.
phone: +44 1483 451166address: 7 Jeffries Passage
Bhutanphone: +44 1483 538189address: Windacres, Warren Road, GU1 3HGBhutan's consulate to the UK.
- There are three very good theme parks within 45 minutes drive of Guildford: