To take a guided walk around Guildford´s centre is an excellent way to learn about it´s history. There are free tours around the centre from 1st May to 29th September every Monday at 11.30 and 14.30, every Sunday and Wednesday at 14.30 and evening tours at 19:30 every Thursday. Tours last between 75 and 90 min. and starting point is Tunsgate Arch in High Street.
old school town with a new feel
"pretty and practical!"
situated just to the west of london, jump off the m25 at around junction 12 or 13 and drive into one of the most 'english' counties. if the countryside and even some of the landmarks look familiar, think recent films like bridget jones (the second one) and holiday which both featured shots of shere and surrounds.
high street in guildford - the main town - is cobbled and pedestrian only and shopping mecca of the county. much of the original facades, and the clock overhanging on the left hand side about half way up are quite picuresque, not to mention quite a few generations old!
guildford is expensive, granted. but still very definately worth a visit.
because of the university which has over 32,000 students from all over the place, and its status as part of the pricey 'stockbroker belt' which attracts the rich and famous, and the just plain rich, guildford has become an ecclectic mix of mad youth, suit and tie couples, and families who have been in the area for years.
this means that 'progress' continues, but that a lot of the 'old' appearance in the centre of town is maintained.
just take a tour of the different pubs and you'll find wildly different people who all call the place home.
Charming medieval/college city in Surrey
When my friend Sylvia and I started making plans to spend a week touring around southern England, she suggested staying in Guildford, and it turned out to be a great idea! The history of Guildford dates back to the 10th century - back then it was a small Saxon village, which gradually turned into a town, complete with its own castle built after the Norman invasion.
Today, Guildford is a small college city with a big town feel. It is located at a very convenient distance from London (about 40 minutes by train) and its busy railway station makes it a great (and relatively cheap) place to stay when you are visiting southern England. I would definitely think about staying in Guildford again next time I'm in England!
The Golden Ford
The name of Guildford, which began as a Saxon village by a ford in the River Wey, was probably in its early form the guilden (golden) ford because of the golden sands in the riverbed at the ford. The village became a town in the early 10th century and possibly a fortified one to stave off Danish invaders. Although not very populous it was a thriving community and it had its own mint. When the Normans came they built a wooden castle to overlook the town - a castle that in the 12th century was rebuilt in stone. The main reason for Guildford?s prosperity at the time was the woollen industry. The town was given its first charter in 1257, which meant that it got certain rights, such as self-government and the right to send a representative to Parliament. So Guildford became a "borough" and was also given the right to hold a market and a fair. The importance of Guildford began to diminish already in the 16th century with the decline of the wool trade in the area, but as such it continued to be an important market town for the surrounding villages. In the 18th century Guildford remained a small and rather unimportant market town, but in the 19th century, especially with the arrival of the railway in 1845, it grew rapidly. Today the Borough of Guildford has a population larger than the capital of Iceland, and it is a university town from the late 1960?s when The University of Surrey opened its doors to students.