We have been to Guilford many times. I don’t really know why I haven’t wrote up a little blog about it so far. It’s a lovely town in beautiful Surrey. We often visit the Guilford Lido in summer and it’s never too busy because they only sell as many tickets as many people can safely enjoy the slides and pools at once. In winter, we go to the Guilford Spectrum sports centre since it has great leisure pool for the kids (small and big) with slides and lot’s of other splash fun.
So not long ago we popped down from London to Guilford on a Sunday afternoon. It was a warm September afternoon so we had a little potter around. First thing we did is visiting the Guilford Castle.
About Guilford Caste
Guildford Castle is thought to have been built by William the Conqueror, or one of his barons, shortly after the Norman invasion of England in 1066. Used as a Royal Palace, a prison and a private residence, Guildford Castle and grounds was sold to the Guildford Corporation in 1885. The grounds at Guildford Castle opened as public gardens in 1888 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.
The castle gardens are famous for their vibrant floral displays, centred on the 11th Century Castle Keep. Other attractions include a life-size statue of Alice Through the Looking Glass, a bowling green and music concerts in the bandstand. The town’s war memorial stands in the grounds. Open-air theatre takes place in the summer months.
It’s lovely all year around but it’s beautiful and lush in from late spring to late autumn. There is a little moat with lily pads. When teams are playing on the bowling green you can stop to watch.
From here we walked over to the town centre – there are plenty of places to eat, go for a coffee and cake or shop and although mainly chain restaurants, cafes and shops, there’s a community zero waste shop and also a weekly antique market on Sundays. This very popular town centre market is now in its 4th year. It is held in the main High Street of Guildford with up to 50 stalls to choose from and a huge array of choice whether antiques collectables vintage and retro plus vinyl records. Bit of a challenge with little hands trying to touch everything but there are a lot of interesting stalls.
From here we walked down to the river Wey, and went to a National Trust site we actually never visited before. It’s a bit of a walk from the town centre, about 25 minutes. It’s a a fascinating site.
River Wey and Godalming Navigations and Dapdune Wharf (National Trust Site)
The Wey was one of the first British rivers to be made navigable, and opened to barge traffic in 1653. This 15-mile waterway linked Guildford to Weybridge on the Thames, and then to London. The Godalming Navigation, opened in 1764, enabled barges to work a further four miles upriver. This National Trust site is there to tell the story of the navigations and the people who lived and worked on them.
So first of all: do check the last boat trip. It changes throughout the year depending the weather conditions and when it gets dark. We unfortunately missed the last boat. But hoping to go soon again as the site is really cute and the boat trip sounds exciting.
There are many different trails on the River Wey – mostly along different areas of the towpath but some also across the countryside and reaching heights that allow far-reaching views of the North Downs.
Things to Do
We peered inside a barge (had to put construction hats on because the ceiling is so low!). We went to the Gunpowder Room and learned about different knots and lifting weights. And then to the Book Barn and bought a few second-hand books.
We didn’t have the chance to have a tea and cake in the Tea Rooms, but there’s always next time. And we need to visit again for a boat trip!