Guildford has plenty going for it – this ancient market town is just 40 minutes by train from London, nestled in the leafy Surrey Hills where the River Wey meets the North Downs.
Where to stay in Guildford
Where to stay in Guildford
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Guildford is a prosperous business centre with a diverse population that combines long-time locals with commuters and London relocators, who have driven house prices up to some of the most expensive in the UK outside London.
The town has amenities to match, with some classy shopping, dining and theatres, and plenty of heritage and history to explore, from the Norman castle to Guildhall and the Art Deco cathedral.
Food and drink
Guildford has over 100 places to eat and drink, from organic snacks to hip cafes, world cuisines and gourmet restaurants. The town centre has some lovely fine dining options, from the popular Rumwong Thai restaurant to a couple of authentic Italian and modern British eateries.
But what Surrey does best is pub food, and there are endless beautiful and historic pubs in the area, serving everything from traditional pub grub to more upmarket gastro delights.
You’ll find plenty in the town centre, but take a drive through the leafy villages around Guildford and you’ll be truly spoiled for gastropub choice.
Guildford does high end shopping very well, and one look at the town’s 240 shops will tell you that locals and visitors aren’t afraid to splash out here.
Guildford is the luxury shopping capital of the UK, with designer boutiques and jewellers running the whole length of the pretty High Street, as well as some lovely (but pricy) independent stores selling gifts, furniture, antiques, art supplies, books and fine foods.
The town also has four covered shopping centres, with all the usual high street names as well as luxury brands like Jo Malone and Jaeger.
If you’re looking for local food and crafts, Guildford hosts an outstanding farmers’ market on the first Tuesday of every month.
Guildford’s business sector is thriving – it’s the location for several major businesses like Philips Electronics, Allianz, Ericsson, Colgate-Palmolive and Sanofi.
The town is also a centre for video game production, with companies like Electronic Arts, Media Molecule and Criterion Games based here.
The Surrey Research Park in Guildford is a renowned centre for excellence in science and technology, and is home to companies like satellite manufacturers Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and BOC gases.
As you’d expect for such a bustling commuter hub, Guildford has outstanding transport links. Driving around the town is easy, with plenty of parking in the centre and four Park & Ride sites around the town.
The central train station has regular direct services to London Waterloo, Gatwick airport, Reading and Portsmouth, or there are good bus services to local towns.
Cycling in the town is a popular choice (if you don’t mind the hills), and there is a self-service folding Brompton Bicycle hire scheme available at the main train station if you fancy taking to the streets on two wheels.
Things to watch out for
Guildford is nestled in a valley, so the town is very hilly – if you have mobility problems you may find the undulating terrain quite challenging! If you’re up for a bit of a climb, however, it’s well worth heading to the top of the Great Tower at Guildford Castle for a stunning panoramic view of the town and the beautiful Surrey countryside.