Guildford, a historic market town, lies as a gateway to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With picturesque villages such as Shere, Gomshall, Abinger Hammer and Albury at its doorstep, it’s hard to believe the area is also within easy reach of London (under 40 miles away).
Offering first class entertainment and shopping in and around its cobbled High Street, Guildford is a great place to base yourself on a weekend away. Not only can you enjoy some of the finest shopping in the South East, but a wealth of attractions are within easy reach. For those looking for something more tranquil, you are also perfectly placed for an easy escape into the hills to enjoy walking, stunning viewpoints, pub lunches and afternoon teas.
Attractions in the area include historic buildings, such as the National Trust’s Clandon Park, an outstanding Palladian house with magnificent marble hall and Hatchlands Park, which houses the world’s largest collection of keyboard instruments associated with famous composers. Loseley Park on the other hand, is a beautiful Elizabethan mansion with walled gardens, set amidst magnificent parkland scenery. Other fine gardens in the area include Wisley - the flagship of the Royal Horticultural Society and Painshill Park, an award winning restoration of England’s Georgian heritage. Another attraction is Guildford Cathedral, with its imposing exterior yet beautiful interior of pale Somerset sandstone and white Italian marble floors; it is floodlit to spectacular effect at night. For
those seeking an alternative to the exuberan ce in Guildford visit the Guildford Union
Workhouse New Casual Ward Ithe Spike) which opened its doors in 1906, a 10-minute walk from the
High Street. Forever called the Spike it was recently saved from demolition by a local group, visit www.charlotteville.co.uk ( 01 4 83 598 4 20) and has been magnificently
restored to its ignominious former glory. On offer is a tour unlike any
other. Here you see how and understand why vagrants were cared for over a
century ago, the job of work they were tasked with, learn the true meaning of
toe rag, skilly and toby. It is a genuinely memorable tour, you cannot
fail to be moved.
For evening entertainment, the Yvonne Arnaud theatre, set on the banks of the River Wey at the bottom of the High Street, shows pre and post West End productions, there is also the Electric Theatre and Odeon Cinema. Guildford also boasts a wide range of places to eat and drink with restaurants providing French, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisine, wine bars offering fine wine and pubs with real ale (some of it brewed locally) and traditional fayre. For the more active, the Spectrum Leisure Complex offers ice-skating, ten-pin bowling and a whole range of other sporting activities.