Guildford is a historical and rural place to live which is inhabited by between sixty five and seventy thousand people. It is situated in the south east of England just off the North Downs and surrey hills. The town is just a short distance from the canal that runs through the bottom end of the town.
The town is perhaps most famous for the 1974 Guildford pub bombing which killed give people, including four soldiers. However, nowadays the town has much to offer. Guildford itself has two main shopping streets, North Street and the High Street as well as a shopping centre called the friary centre. The high street and north street run in a parallel to each other and are home to most high street stores including a very large Marks and Spencer and House of Fraser.
Guildford also has many nice places to eat such as Giraffe, Pizza Express, Zizzis and Ask. However it is worth nothing that there are very few independently run restaurants in Guildford. The town is home to many academic colleges including: The University of Surrey, Guildford College, Guildford College of Law, ACM and Guildford Grammar School.
In conclusion Guildford is a lovely mix of what makes a truly nice town. It is however, certainly not cheap largely due to its 34min rail link to London Waterloo. However, if you have the money its a lovely place to live.
I live about a twenty minute train ride from Guildford and have friends that work there, so visit often. Guildford is one of Surrey's biggest towns. It's a pretty town by day, sometimes no so pretty by night! For a twenty something like me it has a lot to offer. Here's my twentysomething's guide to Guildford...
SHOPPING- Not the cheapest shopping venue, but a pleasant one. The Friary Centre is the main shopping centre, which features the usual suspects, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, HMV etc.. The high street is lovely though, if it a bit hilly! It really is quite steep, avoid if you don't like a climb. It's a good looking high street though, well kept with some real gems of little independant shops. Main department stores are Debenhams at the bottom of the town and House of Fraser. If you are going shopping for good jewellery, Guilford has lots of gorgeous little jewellers, both modern and traditional. The main supermarket is a not very big Sainsbury's.
COLLEGE - Guildford college has a good reputation and many of my friends have been there, it's in a lovely location, not too far out of town. Of course where there's students theres...
NIGHTLIFE - Guildford has a lot to offer nightlife wise. Harpers is the tarty option, playing R n B and dance rubbish, famously where Cheryl (then Tweedy) hit a toilet attendant (although it's name's changed since then). Sums up the place really.
Time is the next option, a little bit further downtown, it isn't quite as upmarket, and does attract trouble. The last time I went my drink was spiked. The music is a real mix and they do some bargain offers during the week, but be careful.
My place to be is Flares, the cheesiest place in town. Prides itself on it's strictly seventies theme. The place is decorated with a multicoloured brush and the atmosphere is brillant. Great cocktails too.
There also a lot of bars and more laid back pubs if clubbing isn't your thing. Guildford also has some great live music, The Electric Theatre and Civic has some top bands on from time to time. It also boasts a big cinema for film fans.
EATING OUT - All the high street chains are here - Nandos, Frankie and Benny's etc. TGI Friday I think it the big pull for most foodies flocking to Guildford but there is also some great little cafes for the day time. Also, are you one of those people who gets the munchies after a night out? Shock horror, Guildford does not have kebab shop! Instead it has a Burger King that stays open super late, but the best find is the Pizza Shop. This little shop is cafe by day and turns itself into a pizzeria by night and these pizzas are gorgeous, and hits the spot about 3.30am!
SPORT - Guilford Spectrum is the place to visit if you fancy getting active. Set next to Stoke Park, it has an Olympic size ice rink, Gym, Bowling alley, and 4 swimming pools..with waterslides and fountains!
FESTIVAL - Guildford has one of the UK's best festivals every year. It's named the best family festival because the atmosphere is just so good and there's something for all ages. Held in the beautiful Stoke Park, it's minutes from the town. Guilfest is on every July and has in the past featured some great line ups, including Paul Weller, Madness, Embrace, Blondie and Billy Idol. I've been there three years and every year beats the previous. Don't miss Hayseed Dixie if they're playing!
Overall, if you've not visited Guildford before, I suggest it's worth a look if you're down this way. One of the gems of Surrey.
My girlfriend lives in Guildford so i know it quite well. It is a large town with loads of shops and places to see. In the centre of the town there is a large castle that is very impressive and well worth a visit. If you go to the top as well you can see the whole oif Guildford and what a site that is. It will cost you one pound to scale the dizzy heights of the castle but it is well worth the visit. The musuem in Guildford is of excellent quality as well. There are lots of exhibitions and attractions to see and visit. Parking will be an issue in Guildford, i have often come back and found a ticket on my window for one reason or another. Guildford boasts and excellent sports and aquatics centre that is also worth going to . The eateries are also of high standard, my particular favourite is Cafe Rouge, although it is a chain i think that it is a really nice place to come and visit. The cinema is also large and the seats are comfortable. Well worth going to visit.
I have lived in Guildford nearly all my life and like most other people I find my home-town boring, with nothing to do, but after reading this review this should hopefully make your mind up whether you'd like to move here, have a day trip shopping or just go for a night out here.
Guildford is located in the south east of England close to the M25 (9 miles from Guildford), the major airports at Heathrow and Gatwick and a frequent rail service from London waterloo, ensures that Guildford and the surrounding area remains easily accessible to both leisure and business visitors. Guildford is a historic and vibrant county of Surrey, offering first class entertainment and shopping, surrounded by a wealth of gardens and historic buildings.
I don't think Guildford is that great for shopping, as there aren't many shops I shop in here. There is a main shopping centre called The Friary which is located on a one way street called North Street and is a short walk from the train station (about 10mins). The Friary shopping centre has 3 floors one of which is a roof garden. The main lower floor has shops such as HMV, a café, TopShop, Madhouse, Pharmacist, Regis hair-dressers and about another 4-5 shops. On the middle level, there are shops like Clinton Cards, Disney Store, Ann Summers, PunkyFish, Barratts, Claires Accessories and a few more shops.
The roof garden has a large dining area which includes take-way and eat in food from McDonalds, Subway, Spud-U-Like, Hot Wok, Coffee Republic, Italian food and a juice bar. Sometimes especially at weekends it can be difficult to find a seating area and its quite cramped and the tables are quite close together.
There is a small walk-through centre called The White Lion Walk, which includes shops such as Vodafone, Millies Cookies, Next, Trotters and a few jewellers and shoe shops. This walk-through centre opens out onto Guildford high street which is a Cobbled street which goes up towards to top of town on a steep hill. Shops up the high street are a bit more like boutique and more expensive shops, these include Ted Baker, Karen Millen, Waterstones, Whistles, Monsoon, Lush, Oasis, Links of London, House of Fraser, Boots quite a few jewellers and more shoe shops.
The one way street which one's parallel to the High Street (North Street) also has side streets which include shoe boutiques and French Connection. There isn't a huge amount of shop on North Street apart from a few more jewellers and shops like PaperChase, Cornish Pasty take-away, Lime Blue jewellery, Essential and Free Spirit.
The Guildford market is held on North Street and is there on both Fridays and Saturdays day time from about 8am - 5:30pm. They have some good quality fruit and vegetable stalls, a bakery stall, pet food stall, and other stalls such as flowers and plants. It always gets quite busy along here at these times and can get quite crowded.
***ACCOMODATION/WHERE TO STAY***
There are lots of Guest-houses, Hotels and B & B's just outside of Guildford. The largest hotels which are situated just outside the town centre is the Parkway Premier Inn and the Holiday Inn, which will take approx 10 - 15mins in a taxi.
There are plenty of restaurants in the centre of Guildford, you'll be spoilt for choice. These are mainly located at the top of town and is a short walk from the train station (about 15mins). Some examples of restaurants are Auberge, Zizzi, Olivio, RumWong, Thai Terrace, Nando's, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, Giraffe, Loch Fyne and many more.
***THINGS TO DO/ENTERTAINMENT***
The Guildford House Gallery is a 17th century Town House with many original features including panelled rooms, a finely carved stair-case, decorative plaster ceilings and more. There are more places to visit such as creative work-shops and more museums but these are just outside the town centre and would be a short car journey.
***THE ELECTRIC THEATRE***
The Theatre is funded and managed by Guildford Borough Council with six full-time staff and a number of part-time employees. The Friends of the Theatre provide vital support, both financially and through volunteer work which includes providing ushers for every performance. The Electric Theatre has fulfilled its ambition to give hundreds of local amateur performers the chance to perform in a professionally run, state of the art theatre. It is also in demand from professional touring companies and local businesses. It is home to a thriving youth theatre as well as prestigious Guildford Festivals i.e. the Guildford Book Festival and the International Music Festival which alternates years with the Guildford Spring Music Festival. The annual Film Festivals show a variety of classic, art house and world cinema.
Guildford has an Odeon cinema which show all the latest films and new releases. This is across a bridge from the train station and is also situated next to old Orleans bar and restaurant.
Experience the paranormal side of Guildford with the Ghost Tour of Guildford. Join your independent guide outside Holy Trinity Church (on the High Street) every Friday from March to October. No need to book. Tours start at 8pm.
Guildford is home to Guil-fest, one of the most popular and fastest growing independently run music festivals in the country. With over 100 bands performing over the festival period and a huge variety of stalls, Guil-fest is an experience not to be missed.
Nominated as best family and medium-sized festival for the past two years, Guil-Fest caters for all ages with its relaxed atmosphere and vibrant mix of music and entertainment. A three-day event, festival goers can visit for the day or stay the whole duration in the nearby campsite.
Guildford castle is just a few minutes walk from the High Street and it is surrounded by beautiful gardens. It was founded in Saxon times, re-built after the Norman conquest in 1066, and captured by the Dauphin in 1216 along with Reigate and Farnham Castles. Today only the Norman keep and Castle Arch remain, standing high on the castle mound above the town. It is surrounded by beautifully kept castle gardens which is truly a beautiful place to be in the summer months.
***THE RIVER WEY***
The river wey is a beautiful river which runs through the heart of Guildford past pubs and other countryside. It makes a beautiful walk in the summer and there is plenty of seating along the river, so you can watch the boats drifting by.
The Guildford spectrum is a leisure centre for people of all ages and is a short walk/car journey from the town and is also situated next to the premier travel inn hotel. The Guildford Spectrum offers Ice skating, Swimming, Ten Pin Bowling, Aerobics, Crèches, their own Gym and much more. For more information their website www.guildfordspectrum.co.uk.
Guildford have once main street with a majority of the bars/clubs are on. This is on bridge street which runs directly down from Guildford train station.
There is a Flares club which plays 70's and 80's music and is open most nights of the week. Bar Med is a great bar to chill out and has a pool table upstairs and large screens when it's the football season. There is a Lloyds bar which is a nice chilled out place although I tend to find that talking drowns out the music a bit too much.
Bar Mambo and Harpers are situated on the bottom corner of Bridge Street and open most nights of the week. Harpers nightclub and Voodoo Lounge is strictly over 18's and is open until 3am Fri and Sat nights, its great for a night out, but is quite pricey, although they do normally have offers and promo staff giving out vouchers, etc.
Dusk nightclub formally known as Time is situated in North Street underneath TGI Fridays. This is again open most nights of the week and is better for a cheaper option but tend to get a lot of trouble in this club. Its great to go for a boogie and you can hire one of their VIP booths out for £300!!
The Legion is a 3 floored club/bar. On the lower level there is a dance-floor, which play different types of music different days of the week. The middle level is a bar and chill-out area and the third level is a snooker lounge. I haven't been here so I can't comment on what its like, although it does seem to be quite popular.
Some other great popular bars include Five & Lime and the HaHa bar which are also on North Street and Old Orleans which is situated near the Odeon cinema.
The Arriva bus station is located on North Street next to the Friary shopping centre and has regular buses going all over the country. Although I find that the buses can be pricey, and it costs me £3.20 to get to and from work every-day which is a 15min bus journey. The buses aren't 100% reliable either, and their information system doesn't give you updates on how long the bus is delayed or if its been cancelled. On Sunday's most of the buses run 1 every hour or 1 bus every 2 hours.
Taxi ranks are situated at the bottom on North Street at the back of the Friary Centre and there is also a taxi rank at the train station which I sometimes find much more reliable. It can get very busy here at the weekends, so its worth looking up local taxi companies and booking your taxi in advance.
Train station is a short walk from the town centre and has regular trains going all over the country. These are normally very reliable and I always feel comfortable getting the train as there's always someone on the platforms to help if you are unsure of anything.
***FURTHER EDUCATION IN GUILDFORD***
Guildford have a large University which is within walking distance to and from the town, which also has a frequent bus service until late at night, its also cycle friendly for those who which to use pedal power!
Guildford has a large college which is situated just outside the town in an area called Stoke Park. This is about 10mins walk from the town centre and has a large field and a park next to the college.
Guildford has some beautiful areas with some amazing countryside and sights to see but renting or buying is not cheap. Obviously the further into the town you go the more expensive it becomes & it does have quite a noisy night-life when the clubs and bars kick out at the weekends.
I guess Guildford is a nice place to visit if your not one for designer shops, or your not planning a huge night out. I'm bored of Guildford, but then I have lived here most of my life. The night-life bores me and the shopping bores me and I could never afford to live in Guildford, or outside of Guildford . . Not on my own anyway! Its worth a look if you are into your historical features and you enjoy walks and beautiful gardens but me personally can think of better places to go!
(Review also on ciao)
Mmmm, Guildford. Pub bombings, posh people in green wellies, anything else? I always tell people it's "a town quite close to London if you take the train", and they say "Mmmm...", nodding their heads in vague appreciation. But I think Guildford probably deserves a little bit more of a description than that, hence this op. I was born in Guildford 26 years ago and apart from stints in Leicester and London, I have lived in the area all my life - so hopefully I am reasonably qualified to write this. It's probably going to turn out quite long, so I'll split it into sections. THE HISTORY ============ The good burghers of Guildford like to boast that it is a town "steeped in history", so what do they mean when they make that rather nebulous claim? The first settlers arrived in Guildford in the year 500 and called it "Gyldeforda", a Saxon name meaning "Ford of the golden flowers". I don't know what said flowers were but it sounds nice, doesn't it? Guildford became quite a properous town thanks to the establishment of the Royal Mint (the town used to make its own silver coins) and the wool trade. In the 11th century the Norman invasion led to the building of Guildford Castle, which still stands today. It was the only royal castle in Surrey and under Henry III it became a luxurious royal residence, though it fell into decline after his death and in 1885 the ruins were purchased by Guildford Borough Council, who turned the castle grounds into a park. After the decline of the wool trade Guildford continued to prosper as a stopping-off point between London and Portsmouth. There were several coaching inns along the cobbled High Street and one of them, The Angel Posting House & Livery, still operates as a hotel today. Lewis Carroll is probably Guildford's most famous resident - he was not born in the town but lived in Castle Hill for a time (y
ou can find the house today as there's a plaque outside) and is buried in the town. Guildford Grammar school was founded in 1509 and remains one of the top boys' schools in Surrey - Sky Sports Commentator Martin Tyler (who is also a Woking supporter!) is a famous old boy. WHAT'S IT LIKE TODAY? ===================== Guildford is a pretty town and has retained a lot of its charm. The old cobbled High Street and the famous Guildhall Clock are well-known Surrey landmarks and the surrounding hills and River Wey make Guildford a scenic place to spend an afternoon. London is within easy reach (40 minutes by train) and there are several beautiful villages nearby, such as Shere, Gomshall, Abinger Hammer and Wonersh (oh, and Cranleigh - not as picturesque as the rest on the list, but it's England's largest village!). SHOPPING ========== There are plenty of shops in Guildford and all the major chains are here. The Friary Centre houses several of them (Top Shop, HMV, Sports Soccer, Miss Selfridge), and the High Street and North Street are dotted with familiar brands. White Lion Walk (which connects the High Street and North Street) is dominated by Next, which takes up most of the second floor. If you want something a little bit more individual then Guildford probably isn't as impressive as Brighton (nothing in the South East quite tops the Lanes) but the shops are there if you look for them. In Tunsgate Square (built on the old corn exchange) there is a craft shop called Topaz, which sells jewellery, ornaments and furniture from South America and Mexico. Also in Tunsgate is Ben's Collectors Records, which sells a variety of different types of second-hand music. At the top of the high street, Thomas Thorpe's massive shop sells a range of books, new and second-hand. I found it very useful when I was studying English at university. In Angel Gate, there is The British Hatter (no explanati
on needed, I hope!), Ollie's Skate Shop is in Phoenix Court and tucked away in Haydon Place is East West, packed full of unusual alchemic and pagan gifts, incense and clothing (they also have a tarot card reading service). Having lived in London only 30 minutes from Oxford Street, I have to say I still prefer Guildford for shopping because it is easier to get around, more compact and less crowded (though it can be hellish in the run-up to Christmas). There seem to be more chain stores springing up every year, but I hope the independents survive. EATING OUT =========== Guildford has plenty of restaurants, from the identikit chains like Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays and the lovely Pizza Express to various different curry houses and Italian and Chinese restaurants (the Mandarin on Epsom Road is particularly recommended, but I've not been there). There's nothing out of the ordinary in the town and I haven't eaten out in Guildford for a while, but my favourite place there is probably the Rum Wong on London Road. This is an excellent Thai restaurant where you can chose to sit in the Western style or at a lowered table with your shoes off in a separate room, traditional Thai style. CULTURE ========= Quite a lot of it actually. There's the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre by the river, which gets a fair few plays before they go to the West End (Pete Postlethwaite has been there recently with Scaramouche Jones). The Electric Theatre - so-called because it's on the site of the old electricity works - houses a lot of comedy and amateur theatre. At Bellairs Playhouse you can see the Guildford School of Acting perform, and the Civic Hall has occasional concerts (though not as many as it should, in my opinion). Guildford has a music festival every year and this summer, the town is housing some open-air drama as the Pranksters Theatre Company put on Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters in the Castle Grounds. SPORT
& LEISURE ================ Guildford Spectrum is a large greenhouse - sorry, leisure centre! - on the parkway. It's still fairly new and has an ice rink, sports halls, ten pin bowling, gym, athletics track and various different swimming pools. The ice rink is also home of the Guildford Flames Ice Hockey team. I think most of the players are from Canada. Now that Guildford City FC are sadly extinct I have to give a plug to my beloved Woking FC, who play rubbish football against better teams in the Nationwide Conference a few miles from Guildford. It's £9 to get in, and yes - I would recommend it (everybody's got to once, yes?). If you like the movies (and surely everyone does) the 9-screen Odeon cinema is pretty good, although they often seem to run out of the best varieties of Haagen Dazs if you get there late. NIGHTLIFE ========== Three tacky "ritzy" nightclubs - Bojanglez, the Drink and Cinderellas. I expect they're all as bad as each other. Next door to the Drink is Bar Mambo, where you can learn to salsa (and hey - you can also pay £3.50 for a bottle of Beck's too). Round the corner are Yates's Wine Lodge, Edwards and all the usual suspects, McPubs galore. The Wetherspoons is massive and houses over 2,000 people on two floors. It's very noisy and usually attracts the pre-club crowd but it's quite cheap. I can't really enthuse about many of the pubs in Guildford but if you like your Hogsheads*, your Scruffy Murphys and your Finnegan's Wakes then you'll doubtless be quite happy here. If you prefer the one-off pubs then I recommend the Royal Oak near the Holy Trinity Church (well, it used to be good) or the Star at the bottom of the High Street, Guildford's oldest pub. Let's hope it doesn't become a Slug & Lettuce! *Having said that, I do quite like the George Abbot pub, which is part of the Hogshead chain. Naughty me. PLA
CES OF INTEREST =================== I'd recommend a visit to the Castle. In 1985 it cost 50p to go up to the top of the keep, from where you get a great view of the town. It's probably a bit more expensive these days but even so ... The River and the area around it is lovely on a summer's day. You can hire boats and row to Godalming if you want. The pubs are better there. Loseley Park has an Elizabethan mansion with some spectacular gardens and Winkworth Aboretum and Busbridge Lakes (both at Godalming) were amongst my favourite places to visit as a child. Pewley Down is a lovely place to go walking, and from the Mount you get a great view of the town (rumour has it that students and ne'er-do-wells smoke pot up there in the summer evenings: surely not?). There are also several villages to explore in the surrounding area. THE REST =========== Guildford is quite an expensive place to live, whether you are buying or renting (I cannot afford either at present!). There are some lavish houses up towards Pewley Down but I used to live in Stoughton, which is a bit more down to earth (some would say "scabby" but I wouldn't hear of it). When I was a student I used to get a little bored in Guildford because the nightlife is nothing special (even though it is a university town) but now that I'm older I appreciate the place a lot more. It has a hellish rush-hour and can be a nightmare for parking at weekends but I think it's got the best shopping centre in the area by far and has a lot of other things to offer. I'm probably biased. One other thing: there are two Starbucks in Guildford. Why?
At last, the moment you have all been waiting for...no not Christmas, but the newest opinion on the south-eastern town of wonderful Guildford! Many people have heard about Guildford but never tried it! Just like Viagra, it always rises to the occasion! Guildford is full of wonderful shops, swanky restaurants, cheesy clubs and annoying little buggers who think they are poor but in fact daddy just drove them into town in the Jag! It is definitely worth a visit even if you just wank to laugh at people in Starbuck ordering 10 Grande Cappacinos for their poetry group. Many people have called Guildford the New London. This is complete bull sh**, utter bo****ks , talking out of your a*se cr**! The only thing that the two have in common is the prices! Renting a house in the centre of Guildford is unbearably expensive and buying a coc-cola from a little wine bar et the top of the high street could set you back £1.50!!! That is an entire dooyoo crown! I much rather have the crown very much...nominations are very welcome by the way! Guildford (it has to be said) is a very wealthy area and has been since before the Great Wars of last century! The amount of old-Guildfordians who sent their butlers to fight in the war is big I can tell you! Guildford for some strange and frankly mysterious reason has attracted through the years this image of wealth(probably due to the beggars all having their own laptops) but even so you can still have an enjoyable day out there. THE SPECTRUM ............ I am sure that many of you have heard of this spectacular building. The outside is all glass and it is a huge sports complex! In the Spectrum you can find bowling alleys, an ice rink, swimming pools and many more. In most of the sports areas there are huge windows due to the fact that from outside the Spectrum looks as if it is made solely of glass. Just remember when in the changing rooms don't stand too near the glass!!! THE ODEON <br>......... Everyone has heard of the odeon. If you have not, can you invite me to the planet which you have been hiding on for the last 10 years! This particular cinema has 9 screens and is excellent. The position is a bit strange though, next to an indian burial ground. Did I saw Indian burial ground, I meant skanky river! If you live anywhere near Guildford and want to go to the cinema , go to the Odeon. If you want a sandwich, go to the kitchen. THE SHOPS ......... Guildford has a wide range of shops ranging from Mothercare to HMV. These shops are over priced and over decorated in general but you can find a few little jems dotted around. No not because the rich women have dropped them but because the best shops are hidden away or take up small spaces. There is one called Omegas in the White Lion Walk. This is not part of the zoo by the way but just a posh collection of shops. It is situated next to a small art shop! Also it cannot be part of the zoo as there is no zoo in Guildford, unless you count the grammar school! All girlies who read this op, I am guessing that should be hundreds, should go to a specialty soap shop half way up the highstreet called "Lush". This is not because I think that you smell, but because it sells unique soaps, face washes and bath bombs that do not only make great presents for smelly friends but also great mid-week treats for yourselves! RESTAURANTS ........... You will definitely not be stuck for places to go for food in Guildord though! Everywhere you turn there is a new restaurant. Just look behind you now...made you look , made you stare, made you loose your underwear! No back to a serious note (laaaa) any type of food you want, then you can usually find it in Guildford; chinese, japanese, cantonese, engishese, indianese, italianese or McDonaldese...Guildford has it all! One that I recommend is called HA HA. No this is not another joke but it is actually called HA HA and it i
s situated on North Street , near the post office. The food is excellent and it has a trendy atmosphere with excellent food! Whatever you do though try and steer clear of the TGI Friday at the top of the High Street because its normally cheesy atmosphere that made it famous now is trying to be sustained by some spotty adolecents in red and White stripy shirts! Watch your food for puss! Oh Gross! THE NIGHT LIFE .............. This is a quite good part of Guildford, only if you like cheesy music and more spotty adolecents! There are a few clubs in Guildford such as The Drink and Cinderellas but the best places to go in my opinion are the bars/clubs like Bar 29. In these the music is usually good, there are less TGI employees and sometimes you can have quite a laugh at there events! For example 2 weeks ago they held a Salsa night, and they taught people how to do the Salsa dance! When I said that you can have quite a laugh at these events, I didn't mean by taking part... I meant by laughing at the fat rich men and there tiara wearing wives! Don't get me wrong, I am not exactly begging for money myself, but I don't flaunt it. OK I will admit it... I live in Guildford, but not out of choice!!! THE SITES ......... The sites in Guildford are few and far between(like the number of sales held in MArks and Spencers) but some of the sites are worth visiting, or at least driving past! There is the town castle which has been around since the days of slugs landing on this earth. The castle is a bit dull but the view from the top is orgasmic!(not really) If you go searching (or look in a guide) you can find the house in which Louis Carol wrote Alice in Wonderland! It seems quite cool at first but then you think...it is just a house! Then there is the Guildford Cathedral. That is the big church building with the golden angel on the top! (only the best for Guildford you know!)It is an impressive building which is de
finitely a focal point of the town/city! Its claim to fame comes from a hollywood source! The cult film "The Omen" which starts the story of Damion(the son of Satan)has a scene in which the family are going to church(chauffer driven of course) at Guildford Cathedral! Damion has a fit and starts attacking his mother so that he does not have to go to church! Its not that bad surely! Guildford is a nice town with a nice history and a good range of shops! If you want a nice day out, why not go to Guildford or if you can't be bothered...don't!
...as you could say for any city I suppose. However, in recent years, Guildford has started to resemble UK "Anytown" with the same old unimaginative chain stores available ANYWHERE, and the Friary Shopping Mall has got to be one of the worst I have ever been to. It's poorly lit, dingy, slippery and badly designed, both inside and out. Guildford used to boast a whole host of one-off stores, boutiques and bric-a-brac stores but these are fast disappearing as the larger stores swallow them up in their race to expand. Boots the Chemists virtually swallowed a whole street meaning the loss of the only Pet Shop in the town amongst other small stores. To be fair the interesting, oddity shops ARE still there if you search for them down the side streets. There is no doubt Guildford is a pretty town, with it's cobbled High Street, back streets and alleys and some of the older buildings but I think it is facing a real danger of becoming just another town indistinguishable from anywhere else. The welcome to Guildford signs boast that it is a “Historical Town” – which is true. It has the castle ruins and grounds which are very picturesque and a tourist attraction. Indeed the town as a whole seems to attract quite a lot of tourism. The older architecture is very appealing and dates back hundreds of years as displayed not only by the residential housing but also by the old Abbot’s Hospital, Holy Trinity Church, Stoke Hospital and Guildhall (with the famous clock which can be seen from all the way down the High Street). Entertainment for all is there if your are prepared to look for it! There are a multitude of pubs within the town centre – at last count about 15 – catering for all tastes, old, new theme etc as well as four main nightclubs which, unfortunately, generally cater for the younger crowd with varying levels of sophistication but all attracting their fair share of trouble and the under-aged a
s is always the case. There is a fairly new multi-cinema in the Odeon alongside the scenic riverside. There are also places such as the Laser Quest studio which suits all ages (though I’ve never been there!) The river is another attraction in itself with the pretty riverside locations and picnic areas, locks and canal barges and a riverside theatre too. Also ideal if you like to feed the ducks! There are plenty of green, flowery garden areas within the town and just outside too as well as rolling green scenery to be seen even from the town centre views. Guildford also boasts the Cathedral (where the original Omen was filmed incidentally!), a University, a new-ish multi-leisure centre (Spectrum) for all sports and the Civic Hall. Admittedly the Civic Hall is long past it’s best and is no longer the attraction it used to be – an old grey building in need of drastic updating both inside and out but it still hosts regular entertainment in the form of comedy, live bands, children’s shows etc. One way or another, if not just for shopping, a visitor to Guildford is most likely to find something of interest somewhere!
Guildford - one of the wealthiest towns in Britain, the highest divorce rate in Europe, the most expensive houses in the South East outside of London, the typical "Surrey" town - but what is it like to live there? Let me give you the perspective of an "incomer" of ten years standing, a public sector worker rather than a stock-broker. Firstly, Guildford is a very beautiful town, but only south of the dividing line brought by the A3 dual carriageway. This road bisects the town horizontally and to the north you will find the industrial estate, Slyfield Green, the unattactive suburb of Stoughton, and the huge 1950s GLC overspill estate of Park Barn. None of which would look out of place in an industrial town in the Midlands or the North. Then to the south of the A3 you have the Guildford of stereotypical Surrey. Leafy residential roads with huge houses, a highly attractive old High Street with cobbles and overhanging balconies. The beautiful castle grounds, sweeping down to Millmead and the River Wey, by which the Yvonne Arnaud theatre sits. South of the town itself there is miles and miles of lovely countryside, going all the way to the South Coast, about 35 miles away, interrupted by little picturesque towns and villages like Godalming, Shalford, Ripley and Cranleigh. Plenty of walking and mountain biking country too for those who like outdoor pursuits, particularly on the North Downs to the south of the town. Guildford is a thriving town. The university is flourishing (nearly 10000 students), and the cultural life is brilliant. not only do we have the Yvonne Arnaud, we have the new Electric Theatre, the Bellerby Theatre (part of the Guildford School of Acting) and the Civic Hall, which puts on music concerts throughout the year, from the latest Abba tribute band to the Guildford Symphonia. The town is predominantly youthful. Friday night buzzes with packed super-pubs and clubs, and if you
drive down the High Street at 2 in the morning, you will feel like its Saturday afternoon, so large are the crowds spilling over into the road. The shopping experience is great - but again youthful and expensive. We have DKNY, Karen Millen, Hobbs and countless expensive designer shops. One major drawback in my view is that although you can buy 100 quid shoes, we have no greengrocer, fish shop or butchers left in the town - Tescos and Sainsburys seem to suit the hard-pressed people of the town, who obviously have no time in their lives to browse the counters of quality food shops. Emloyment is no problem. I believe there are currently more jobs than applicants, and the service industries fight continually with each other to attract staff. Typical newsagents wages are 5.50 an hour, double on Sundays, and such jobs go to young people and partners of working people who need a bit of interest in their lives. Accommodation is very expensive, current rentals in the local paper are for a studio flat at 500 per month and a one bedroom flat at 650 per month. Purchase prices for a three bedroom semi would be in the range 180-220 thousand, turn of the century two bedroom terraced houses go for about the same price in the town centre, and a three bedroomed detached house will cost about 240 thousand. I have lived in Guildford now for ten years, and I still haven't quite got over the incredible affluence of the place. The typical Guildford resident will drive a company BMW or a Mercedes, have a people carrier at home in the drive, send their children to the fee paying Guildford Grammar School or Girls High School, employ a variety of domestic help (ironers, cleaners, gardeners, nannies etc), and benefit from company bonuses that enable them to move house (upwards) every two years. It is not for nothing that the Daily Mail last week had a two page article on "Guildford Syndrome" by which they meant that domestic help costs upw
ards of 7.50 an hour, plumbers are unobtainable, and nannies demand their own private car as part of the package. Needless to say, this affluence has an effect on every element of cost of living. Sainsburys have admitted that they charge premium prices and on a recent visit to Derby I could hardly believe the cost of food and drink in the local supermarket. On the whole, I would say Guildford is busy, expensive, youthful, agressive in atmosphere, but with an attractive town centre and beautiful countryside all around.