With a small amount of information, we set off to spend time in Guildford. Sometimes it is more interesting to have an element of pleasant surprises than knowing all there is to know before visiting a new place.
Firstly, one of the main reasons for heading into the city was to inject some new items of clothing into our very limited wardrobe. After a few hours, it was evident that it wasn’t going to happen today. I am not the most ardent shopper, and I tend to have this constant conversation with myself, which goes something like this,
” Do I need it? Do I really like it? Perhaps, I could find another one at a more acceptable price down the road?”.
In the end, the clothing item is returned to the rack. Though there are times when I do find something that I am 100 percent happy with, then I have no doubts what so ever in parting with some cold hard cash. There are numerous shops that would excite the more prolific shopper amongst us. I do love the smaller independent shops and the creative art establishments. Not forgetting a large number of Charity Shops for more of a bargain or two.
There is more to Guildford than retail therapy to be enjoyed. For me, it was the enjoyment of walking around admiring the various architecture and gardens.
The temperature was rising, viewing the colourful and cheery gardens around the city of Guildford, it did indeed feel like spring was here. Too lovely a day to be spent in and out of shops.
Where did we go?
Places of interest
This building and its purpose over the years intrigued me the most. I loved how it is still being used today in a very community orientated way.
It was founded in 1619 by George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury (born and educated in Guildford and a translator of the King James Bible) to provide accommodation for local older adults. Today this Grade 1 listed Jacobean building offers self-contained town centre housing for 26 residents.
Much of the building remains unchanged, and many original features are still in place. A guided tour reveals 17th century stained glass in the Chapel, unique furniture in the panelled Common Hall, incredible architecture and beautifully maintained courtyard gardens. The newly developed Exhibition provides additional insight into the life and history of this unique building.
As the tenants’ rent is subsidised and with the building maintenance an ongoing cost. A donation box is at the entrance, and there are also guided tours available May to September on Thursdays and Fridays at 11 am (no need to book) with the cost being £5 per person.
We wanted to view a panoramic view of Guildford, and the only place to do so was at the top of the Great Tower. The climb gave us a 360-degree panoramic view of Guildford and the beautiful surrounding countryside.
In 1888, saw the grounds at Guildford Castle opened to the public. This was to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee which was in the previous year. The gardens were gorgeous and well kept, displaying a fantastic array of colourful bedding. These are centred on the 11th Century Castle Keep.
As we walked along, we came across a life-size statue of Alice Through the Looking Glass, then the famous bowling green.
With many people taking advance of the great weather and having lunch around the various parts of the gardens. The cheekier lawn dwellers were sitting right beside a sign stating “Don’t walk on the grass”. With the gardener not far away, some people love to live on the edge of common courtesy.
Let’s start with coming across “the best-kept secret in Guildford”. Nothing too tantalising, it refers to Alan Turing, who was from this town. Want to know more about where his family lived including more intriguing information, and you happen to be in Guildford during June and July, then take in a free guided walk. Coming across information regarding his family residing here many moons ago, had me remembering the movie we watched on Alan Turing’s life, I have never sworn so much during a film as I did during that one. The way this man was treated after the incredible work he did for the war effort, leaves me speechless or more accurate, I found it hard to articulate how society and governing authorities could be so cruel.
Lewis Carroll was another figure who made his presence known many years ago in Guildford with annual summer visits to his cousin, who lived not far from the castle.
Another plus for us was the independent cafes; we enjoyed a tasty lunch in one just off the main road. No food porn.
It’s quite easy for time to rush by when exploring a new city. Talking of rushing, we had timed it, so we did beat the worst of the day’s traffic. This part of Surrey is a busy place. The roar of the motorway is a daily reminder here that the much more bustling destination of London is not that far away.