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Guildford's cobbled High Street

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 grew up into a large town because of its location at roughly the half way point between England's main naval port at Portsmouth and the admiralty in Greenwich, London. People travelling by horse-drawn carriage between the two would stop at inns in Guildford (such as The Angel and The Lion) to swap horses over and to refresh themselves. With the advent of the steam train in the 19th century, Guildford was no longer needed for this purpose, and it fell into decline. But as more and more people started to commute into work in London in the early 20th century, Guildford became more and more rich and popular.

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.

Get in

By bus

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 ride

Guildford 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, approx 3 miles south of Guildford), Ladymead Retail Park (round the back of the Cornhill Insurance building) and at the Spectrum Leisure Complex. At all three sites, the car parking is free and you just pay for the bus fare to get into the town centre, which is £1.20 for a return.

Ladymead - buses run every 10 mins on Saturday only from 8:30AM-6PM

Spectrum Leisure Complex - buses run every 12 mins M-F from 7:27AM–11:10PM, (although every 20mins after 7:30PM.)

Artington - buses run every 12 mins from Monday to Saturday from 7:30AM–7:30PM.
For more information National Park and Ride Directory [1]

Merrow - buses run every 15 mins

the park and ride system is good for the environment and also it allows the city to stay congestion free!

By plane

Guildford 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 is about 40 minutes drive along the M25 motorway and the A3 trunk road. Alternatively it is linked directly to Woking rail station by the RailAir [2] express bus service.
  • Gatwick Airport is about an hour's drive away via the M23 (northbound), M25 (clockwise) and A3 (southtbound) 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.

By train

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 limited amount of 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 London Road (Guildford), which is the penultimate stop on the line from London via Cobham.

Train times can be found on the National Rail Planner [3] or by calling 0845-748-4950 from anywhere in the UK.

By coach

National Express serve Guildford with express bus (UK English:coach) services from around the country; advanced ticketing is necessary. Note that they serve a stop called Guildford Park Barn, which is a slightly out-of-town location near a Tesco supermarket. You will need to catch a local bus or taxi (if you can find one) to take you into Guildford.

By car

Guildford 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, or the site on the Old Portsmouth Road at Artington (on the way to Godalming) and catching the dedicated express bus from these locations.

Get around

Map of Guildford town centre

By foot

The 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 bus

Buses not only provide a good way of getting around the central district of Guildford itself, but are adequate for the local community. Although there is a free bus which circles the town centre three times an hour, it is often snarled in the traffic and usually, if you are able, quicker to walk.

  • Traveline, telephone 087-608-2-608 from within the UK, provide an impartial online travel planner and telephone query service for local bus services.

By taxi

Taxis 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.

Alternatively taxis can be booked by phone and will usually pick up from most locations within a 5 mile radius of the town centre. Popular operators include:

By car

Whilst 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.

By map

If 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.

These maps can be found in any good bookshop in Guildford (see 'Buy' section below), or can be bought online from the [4].

  • Online Maps of Guildford city centre [5]


The Guildhall

Central Guildford

  • Abbot's Hospital, High Street, Guildford. Built in 1619 by Guildfordian Archbishop of Canterbury George Abbot as a retirement home for the local elderly.
  • Lewis Carroll, author, mathematician and photographer, Lewis Carroll (b1832) lived in Guildford until his death in 1898. Visit Lewis Carolls house 'Chestnuts', on Castle Hill in the centre. See Guided Tours of Guildford.
  • The Guildhall, High Street, Guildford. A marvellous Tudor/Stuart building with its overhanging 1683 clock.
  • Guildford Museum, Quarry Street, Guildford.
  • The Spike, Charlotteville, Guildford. 19th 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.
  • Guildford Castle and Grounds, Castle Street, Guildford, GU1 3TU, . Gardens open all year dawn - dusk, castle closed in winter, summer: daily 10AM-5PM. Medieval castle built to protect the town in the 1400s and one of Henry III's most luxurious residences. Recent conservation work revealed a 12th century first floor chamber which is now open to the public. Free entry into gardens, castle Adult £2.50 Student £1.20.
  • Guildford Cathedral, Stag Hill, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7UP. Open daily, all year round, 8:30AM-5:30PM; Guided tours daily 9:40AM-4PM. A 1930s brick built 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 Chapel ruined abbey a short walk along the river wey from Guildford town centre.
  • The Wey Navigation. Is the canal that 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!

Surrounding Area

The Watts Chapel

There are also many interesting things to see around Guildford:

  • Newlands Corner. Situated 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
  • RHS Wisley gardens. One of the top Royal Horticultural Society gardens in the country. 15 min drive up the A3.
  • Surrey Hills
  • Waverley Abbey
  • Watts Gallery and the exceptional Watts Chapel located just off the A3, south of Guildiford, near Compton, well worth a visit to see the fine Arts and Crafts buildings.


The River Wey, five minutes away from Guildford town centre
  • G-Live. Brand New replacement for the Guildford Civic Hall. promising line up of events - Major bands promised
  • Guided tour of Guildford, Tours start from under the Tunsgate arch (opposite the Guildhall clock in the High Street), +44 1483 444333, . Mondays 11.00AM, Wednesdays 2.30PM, Sundays 2.30PM, Thursdays 7.00PM. Walks 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. Booked through the Tourist Information centre.
  • Odeon Cinema. Multi screen cinema showing all the usual Hollywood offerings.
  • Craggy Island. The ultimate artificial climbing experience for all abilities.


  • Spectrum. Leisure centre with swimming, bowling, ice skating, fitness suites...
  • Guildford Lido. Closed in Winter. Now Fully restored attractive 1930s art deco outdoor swimming pool.
  • Terrific Times. Is a social-adventure group based in Surrey for adults up to their mid thirties. Events are as diverse as pub crawls, weekends away, fundraising events, adrenalin sports, basically anything that is quirky and fun. Join over 200 members in having Terrific Times!

River trips

  • River Wey Trips [6]
  • Guildford Boats [7]

Alternatively, 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 (eight miles west of Guildford) to Folkstone 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.


  • Guilfest. 3-day rock and pop festival taking place during July annually at Stoke Park. Past acts have included include Alice Cooper, Pulp, The Lightning Seeds and James Blunt. Held in 2014, but not 2015.
  • Guildford Book Festival. 11–18 October 2015. Annual festival of literature featuring signings, readings, plays etc.
  • Guildford International Music Festival. 1 March 2017. A biennial festival (2015, 2017 etc.) featuring many concerts across 2–3 weeks. Genres are mixed, and the festival brings high quality professional acts to the town.
  • Farnborough International Airshow - not in Guildford (10 miles away in Farnborough), but well worth a visit to this biennial airshow.


Adult learning providers include

  • Guildford Adult Education Centre, Sydenham Road, +44 1483 518528. Run by the county council. Has some 1 day summer art clasees.

There are also various private education providers including a Pitman Centre


There is a government run Jobcentreplus on the corner of Onslow Street and York Road, near the Police Station.

Guildford also 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.



Sometimes 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,

  • Friary Shopping CentreOfficial Website at the bottom of North Street and Onslow Street
  • The White Lion Walk between the bottom of North Street and the bottom of the High Street
  • The Tunsgate Shopping Centre halfway up the High Street

There are two major department stores,

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-Fr 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 is becoming a little mecca of restaurants with many different themes attracting different tastes. Be warned that on Friday and Saturday many of the venues get booked up weeks in advance and early booking is advisable to avoid disappointment.

Central Guildford

  • Al Vicolo, 5 Swan Lane, +44 1483 506306. 1/. Tiny Sardinian restaurant in a hidden location on a little side street off high street. Perhaps one of Guildfords best kept secrets.
  • Olivio, 53 Quarry Street, +44 1483 303535. Tucked 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 Fyne, Centenary Hall Chapel Street, +44 1483 230550. Part of a national chain of restaurants - situated in a classic style building in a prominent position in the town.
  • Shardana, Bakers Yard, High Street, +44 1483 560752. Italian bar and Pizzaria.
  • Cote Bistro, 35 Castle Street, +44 1483 579714. French style cuisine.
  • Matahari, 10 Chapel Street, +44 1483 457886. Thoughtfully prepared Fusion. The restaurant is small and intimate.
  • Rose Valley Curry House, 50-52 Chertsey St, +44 1483 572572. Best curry house in town. Prince Harry and his mates have been known to dine here in the past.
  • Rumwong, 16-18 London Road, +44 1483 536092. Well presented Thai Restaurant with a decent menu. There is normal seating, and for the brave, more traditional Kan Tok (much lower!) seating. Mains from around £8.
  • TGI Fridays, 2 North St. Renowned American Restaurant chain. Good cocktails and ribs.
  • The Thai Terrace-Rooftop Restaurant, 7th Floor Castle Car Park, +44 1483 503350. Offers a superb view of the town

Surrounding Villages

  • Worplesdon Place Hotel - very good food, but a bit expensive, and service can be slow.


Pubs and bars

In 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 Clarks, 176 High Street, +44 1483 563846. Cafe/ Wine bar with a Mediterranean feel.
  • The Tudor Lounge, 144 High Street, +44 1483 300999. Small bar - good for a passing drink.
  • The Three Pigeons, 169 High Street, +44 1483 574310. Historic town pub renamed back to The Three Pigeons in 2009.
  • Fahrenheit 55, 3 Milkhouse Gate (just off the High Street, near Sainsburys), +44 1483 579111. Independent 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 & Lime, Leapale Road. Small cocktail bar.
  • The King's Head, 52 Quarry Street, +44 1483 575004. Inside, a traditional English pub, outside a very chic rooftop terrace. Very nice sitting outside in the summer.
  • 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 Oak, 15 Trinity Churchyard, +44 1483 566637. Hidden 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 Inn, 2 Quarry St, +44 1483 532887. Quite a lively pub with a young crowd. Good live local bands on some nights.
  • The Guildford Tup, 46 Chertsey St, +44 1483 562441. Close to York Road Car Park. Expensive beer.
  • Ha Ha Bar and Canteen, 16-17 North Street, +44 1483 573534. Recently refurbished in a fairly central location, close to the Bus Station and Taxi rank.

Close to the River Wey

  • The White House, 8 High Street, +44 1483 302006. Nice 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 Abbot, 7-11 High Street, +44 1483 302006. Large Pub with big screens with live sports. Good selection of beers and real ales. Nice selection of food.
  • The Britannia, 9 Millmead, +44 1483 572160. previously called Scruffy Murphys, there is a deck on the front of the pub which overlooks the river.
  • The Boatman, Millbrook, Guildford. Located a 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 recently billed as Guildford's Latin quarter due to the increasing number of dancing and salsa venues opening up there.

  • The Stoke, 103 Stoke Road. Holds dance classes every Thursday which include include Salsa (Cuban, Cross Body On 1)and Rueda. Student discounts apply.
  • The Prince Albert, 85 Stoke Road. Currently offering 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. 70's/ 80's themed bar.
  • m.Brasserie & Bar, 36-40 London Road. Part 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 greatest 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.



Mid Range

  • Holiday Inn Guildford, Egerton Road, GU2 7XZ, +44 871 942 9036. Situated on the outskirts of Guildford, the hotel is near both Heathrow Airport and Central London. There are also a number of leisure and business facilities on-site.




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. Alternatively there are many WiFi hot spots in and around Guildford and WiFinder [8] provides a register.

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.
  • Guildford library, 77 North Street (at the top of North Street), +44 1483 568496, fax: +44 1483 579177. Free access.
  • Quarks Internet Cafe, 7 Jeffries Passage, ph: +44 1483 451166, [9].

Go next

  • London 45 mins by train/car, with many tourist attractions and things to do.
  • Portsmouth to see the Historic Dockyard. About 50 mins by train/car.
  • Farnham Ancient Historic Market Town, about 15 minutes by Train/ Car from Guildford Centre.
  • Windsor Fabulous royal castle, which the Queen still uses, and very attractive town. Most recently the Guildhall hosted the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla.
  • World War I Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial [10] - Southwest of the town of Brookwood, about 9.5 kilometers (six miles) north of Guildford. Open daily except for December 25 and January 1; 9AM to 5PM. The final resting place for 468 American military dead from World War I. There is a small chapel inscribed with the names of 563 Missing in Action persons. Free

Theme Parks

There are three very good theme parks all within 45 minutes drive of Guildford:

  • Chessington World of Adventures Just off M25, Junction 10 [11] 2006 opening times: from March 27 - October 31. Great theme park and zoo that is aimed at kids and younger teenagers. Tickets: £29 adults, £19.50 kids, although there are many 1/2 price offers going on around the year.
  • Legoland Windsor near Windsor, [12] 2006 opening times: 25 March - 29 October. Good theme park, aimed at younger children, with fewer rides, although it has many lego towns. Tickets: £30 adults, £23 kids.
  • Thorpe Park Just off M25, Junction 12 [13] The big theme park in the South! Thorpe Park is aimed squarely at adrenaline junkies (although there are plenty of rides to suit others!) and is well worth a visit. Be sure to go on all the rides, especially Colossus (world's first 10 loop roller coaster), Nemesis Inferno (fast and fun!) and 2006's big new ride, Stealth (0 - 80 mph in 2 seconds!)Tickets vary season to season, look out for 2 for 1 vouchers.

Stay safe

Guildford is the safest and most attractive shopping destination in the UK, according to the Eve Prime Retail Survey, 2004.

Much of the centre of town is being monitored 24 hours a day by CCTV cameras.

This city travel guide to Guildford has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions and travel details. Please contribute and help us make it a star!