we took a mate into guildford for his birthday and he managed to write himself off. so we sneakily took the canal path back to the university to avoid him being locked up for being drunk and disorderly!
ps. we gave him a kebab once we got back to campus and he managed to walk home by himself - woke up the next morning with a traffic cone on his head and his feet poking out the front dooor!
"Through the Looking Glass"
When walking the castle grounds you will come upon a small monument called “Though the Looking Glass”. In 1868 a certain C.L. Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, rented a house on Castle Hill a stone throw away called The Chestnuts. It can be easily spotted by the prominent blue door. His first children’s book “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland” had been published three years earlier (1865), and later he went on to write “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There” (1871) and “The Wasp in the Wig” (1977) for children. His six unmarried sisters lived at The Chestnuts, and he himself spent many a vacation there. He died there in 1898 and is buried across the river.
Lively & pretty
Guildford is a bustling market town and a home to the University of Surrey, the venue for the very first ever Led Zeppelin gig in October 1968. It is also a home to the cathedral which was featured in the 1976 horror film 'The Omen'. One of the scenes where the little boy, who is travelling with his parents goes totally mental and tries to bite his mother as soon as he sees the cathedral. According to some, this film has overshadowed the cathedral for 3 decades... Personally I don't think that is the case. I had my graduation in the cathedral and didn't think the film for a bit...
The high street is attractive with a cobbled high street, all the usual high street shops, a couple of department stores, hair and beauty salons and a range of interesting little boutiques selling items ranging from chocolate (the Chocolate Alchemist, review coming shortly), fancy cakes for every occasion to haute couture fashion. There is a market in the town centre on Fridays and Saturdays and a farmers' market held on the 1st Tuesday of each month. The town is located about 45 mins from London by train and it is also close to Heathrow and Gatwick, with the latter being accessible by train from Guildford.
I was a student at the university for a couple of years and currently work at the same establishment. The campus is located very near the city centre and has its own artificial lake and attractive park. The 12,000-strong student population is extremely international with students from over 130 countries. During my time at the uni I have loads of friedns from all over the globe including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Armenia, Greece, Nigeria, China, Poland...
The town centre hosts a wide variety of cuisines including Indian, Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese and Italian. There are also several pubs, bars and nightclubs. Some of my favourite bars in town include 'Bar Ha! Ha!' (a chain bar found all over the UK) and tiny little 'Five and Lime' with electro on Friday evenings.
When it comes to nightlife, Guildford's certainly not London, but there are a few somewhat decent night clubs, bars and pubs. The night clubs include ‘Harpers’ (opposite Friary shopping center) and The ‘Time’ (on top of North Street). They play mostly recent as well as older hits. The entrance fees of around £10 are a normal practice and they do not allow people in wearing hoodies or trainers.
Other type of entertainment include Yvonne Arnaud Theatre that shows theatrical productions that have yet to premier or have already premiered in London's West End. The Electric Theatre host performances by musicians and amateur drama groups. There is also a large commercial Odeon cinema complex in the town centre, next to the railway station.
There is an annual music festival called ‘Guildfest’ every July as well as an agricultural fair ‘the Surrey County Show’ on the last bank holiday Monday in May. They are held in Stoke Park. The Guildfest usually lines up some of the biggest names in the UK music industry and has 6 stages or tents. In 2007, the line up included Supergrass, The Ordinary Boys, Jimmy Cliff, Madness and the legendary Uriah Heep.
"Guldford in the past"
The town was founded by Saxon settlers shortly after Roman authority had been removed from Britain (c. 410AD). The Basingstoke canal runs through the lower part of the city forming a rather pretty and relaxing spot. The stretch behind the Debenham's department store is very nice and there a a few pubs along this bit too, as well as a few benches where you can just chill out and watch the colourful narrow boats drifting by about 5 mile an hour... The canal was built to connect Guildford with a network of waterways which made it possible to transport goods to and from Guildford via the Pilgrims' Way that leads from Winchester to Canterbury. Obviously, goods are now longer being transported through the canal, but the canal is still used by the narrow boats.
In 1995 remains of a 12th century synagogue were discovered in town centre. This would be the oldest remaining synagogue in Western Europe. However, this remains a matter of disputation.
In the good old times (this is the 1970s), the IRA planted a few bombs in two town centre pubs, killing 5 people. Not that there is that sort of activity going on in the city anymore.. There might be occasional drunken Friday and Saturday night fights outside some establishments, but that’s pretty much it.
Guilfest - Annual Music Festival in Stoke Park
This isn't really a page about Guildford - I have only been here twice and each time we just drive through the town and out to Stoke Park.
I wrote this after last year's visit to Guilfest but this year it isn't strictly true - of course I can say I have been here 3 times now (or is it 4??) but the bit about "just driving through" is definitely not true at all because THIS year (2006) we stayed in the city centre in a YMCA and actually spent a couple of hours in the town! So, updates are required and will be made asap!
Guildford is a town in England much like any other - a high street full of *chains* - unrecognisable from dozens of others. It does have a nice river where we sat once and watched a bunch of chavs muckin about in the way that chavs do.
BUT... once a year it holds a brilliant music festival and Petra and I decided to do Guilfest again this year as Tom Baxter was playing and we think he is fabulous. So this page is more about the festival than the actual town.
This year the festival was bigger than ever with over 20,000 people. We were told by a friendly local cabbie that it has been going since 1992 but last year was the first time they had actually made a profit.