Things To Do in Guildford

Guildford Cathedral -7 Guildford Cathedral

After it was decided that the Holy Trinity Church in the High Street was not large enough to continue to be the town’s Cathedral, an architectural competition was held for the design of the new building and 183 architects entered. The public were invited to comment on the designs and the architects of the 5 most popular were asked to submit full designs. In 1933 Edward Maufe was appointed Cathedral Architect. Building work started in 1936 but due to delays by the Second World War it was not consecrated until 1961. Today, the imposing brick building stands proud on Stag Hill and is a resource for the whole community, being a concert, art and education centre as well as being a place for quietness and prayer. It is open daily with free admission. There is also a gift shop, book shop and restaurant, and a large car and coach park is available with free parking with full facilities for disabled visitors.

CRW_4551The Guildhall

If you enjoy visiting historical buildings then a visit to the Guildhall is a must. It was built in the 16th century and is believed to stand on the site of the medieval Guildhall which is known to have existed in the 1300s. Recognizable by its projecting bracket clock that was made for the front of the building in 1683 and which can be seen up and down the High Street. It was formerly a courtroom and a council chamber and the ground floor is of Tudor origin. Tours are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays and it is available for private hire. Please call 01483 444035 for further information

 Art Gallery

If you enjoy art, why not visit the Guildford House Gallery on the High Street? Situated in a Grade I listed 17th century town house, it contains works by local artists, most notably John Russel R A. and many of Guildford and the surrounding area. It also offers a varied programme of exhibitions, walks, tours and workshops. The Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday throughout the year with a break over Christmas and New Year. For full details and information on their current exhibition please call 01483 444751.

Alice in Wonderland 2Theatre

There are two theatres in Guildford: The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre offers new plays, often hosts productions from the West End of London as well as opera, ballet, music, comedy and children’s events. It also hosts an annual pantomime, art exhibition and film season. Call the box office for further details: 01483 440000

The Electric Theatre which is relatively new, opening in 1997 offers a wide range of entertainment, from musical performances and amateur drama groups to film and music festivals, as well as comedy. It is the ideal place for a complete night out with two auditoriums, restaurants, bars and a riverside garden.

 Stoke Park

Stoke Park is Guildford’s largest and best known park. It is popular with local residents and visitors and is a diverse and very well used green space. Its woodland and park area have remained virtually unchanged since the 18th century when there was also a manor house with walled garden and ice house. The walled garden and 16th century farm buildings still exist today and Burchatts Farm Barn is now a popular function venue and home to Guildford Model Engineering Society (GMES). The park has sports pitches, woodland areas, a model boating pond with restored water cascade, summer paddling pool, formal gardens, crazy golf, children’s play area, tennis courts and a skate park. The main section of the park is a large expanse of grassland which is used to host the Guilfest music festival and the Surrey County Agricultural Show on the last bank holiday Monday in May.

IMG_0126a Guildford Castle in the SunGuildford Castle

After his victory at the battle of Hastings in 1066, the Pilgrims’ Way was used by William the Conqueror when he sacked the countryside, including Guildford. He then built or rebuilt the castle, originally there would have just been the motte (mound) surrounded by a ditch and a bailey. During the late 11th or early 12 century a Bargate stone wall was built around the top of the motte creating the shell keep and then the keep tower built at a slightly later stage, part of which still remains. The keep originally had 2 floors although a third was added shortly after and was most likely used as a private apartment for the King. During the 13th century King Henry III made a number of improvements resulting in it being known as a palace. The castle was mainly used as a royal residence from the early 14th century, along with many other inland castles no longer needed for defence, Guildford Castle was neglected and by 1379 only the King’s great chamber remained. The castle and gardens then changed hands a number of times until it was sold to the Guildford Corporation who restored the tower and walls and opened it to the public in 1888. Today the gardens are amazingly colourful and include a life size statue of Alice Through the Looking Glass as a memorial to Lewis Carroll who lived nearby until 1898. The keep now holds a visitor centre which is open between April and September. The old gatehouse now houses part of the Guildford Museum with a specialist Needlework Collection. Please call 01483 444751 for further information.

For more information on things to do contact Guildford Tourist Information Centre Telephone: 01483 444333 Email: tic@guildford.gov.uk