15 Best Things To Do In Guildford, England

15 Best Things To Do In Guildford, England

By will

Guildford, England is a hidden gem that offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring medieval history at Guildford Castle to taking a picturesque stroll along the River Wey, there is something for everyone in this charming town.

In this article, I will take you on a journey through the 15 best things to do in Guildford, allowing you to experience the rich heritage, natural beauty, and vibrant culture that this town has to offer.

One of the highlights of Guildford is its fascinating history, and Guildford Castle is the perfect place to start your exploration. As you wander through the castle grounds, you will be transported back in time, immersing yourself in the medieval era. The castle’s towering keep offers breathtaking views of the town and surrounding countryside, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

But Guildford isn’t just about history – it also boasts a vibrant cultural scene. From live performances at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre to retail therapy on Guildford High Street, there is plenty to keep you entertained and engaged.

So, whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun day out, Guildford has it all. Join me as we uncover the 15 best things to do in this enchanting town.

Guildford Castle: Exploring Medieval History

Guildford - Castle
Photo by Colin Smith

Step back in time as you explore Guildford Castle and immerse yourself in the rich medieval history of this enchanting English landmark. As you approach the castle, you’ll be greeted by towering stone walls and a grand entrance that transports you to a bygone era.

Inside, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the echoes of centuries past, with each room and passageway telling a unique story.

One of the highlights of Guildford Castle is the Great Tower, a magnificent structure that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. As you climb the spiral staircase to the top, you can’t help but marvel at the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the medieval architects. From the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of Guildford and the picturesque Surrey Hills, making it the perfect spot for a photo opportunity.

As you explore the castle grounds, you’ll discover hidden gems at every turn. The beautifully landscaped gardens provide a tranquil oasis, where you can relax and soak in the serenity of the surroundings. Take a stroll along the castle walls and admire the stunning views of the town below, or venture into the castle keep to learn more about its fascinating history.

Guildford Castle is not only a remarkable historical site, but it also offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages. From guided tours and interactive exhibits to special events and workshops, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique and memorable experience, a visit to Guildford Castle is a must-do when exploring the charming town of Guildford.

River Wey: A Picturesque Stroll

River Wey, Looking Upstream from Bridge Street at Guildford
Photo by David Dixon

While exploring Guildford, one can embark on a picturesque stroll along the River Wey. The River Wey is a charming waterway that winds its way through the heart of the town, offering a tranquil escape from the bustling streets.

As I walked alongside the river, I was immediately captivated by the beauty of the surrounding scenery. Lush greenery lined the banks, creating a peaceful oasis in the midst of the urban landscape. The sound of the gently flowing water was soothing to the ears, and I found myself instantly relaxed and at ease.

As I continued my stroll, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of wildlife that call the River Wey home. Ducks and swans gracefully glided across the water, while squirrels playfully scampered along the tree branches. It was a delight to observe these creatures in their natural habitat, adding an extra layer of charm to the already idyllic setting.

The River Wey also offers a wonderful opportunity for outdoor activities. Many locals and visitors alike can be seen enjoying a leisurely boat ride or picnicking by the water’s edge. For those seeking a more active adventure, there are also opportunities for kayaking or paddleboarding on the river.

No matter how you choose to experience it, a stroll along the River Wey is a must-do when visiting Guildford. It provides a serene and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this historic town.

Guildford Cathedral: A Magnificent Architectural Marvel

Guildford Cathedral
Photo by nick macneill

Guildford Cathedral is a sight to behold, with its magnificent architecture captivating visitors from the moment they set eyes on it. As I approached the cathedral, I was immediately struck by its grandeur and beauty. The towering spires reached towards the sky, creating a sense of awe and reverence.

The intricate carvings and detailing on the exterior walls were a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the builders. Stepping inside, I was greeted by a vast and open space filled with an abundance of natural light. The high ceilings and expansive windows created a sense of grandeur and serenity.

The stained glass windows, depicting biblical scenes and saints, added a touch of color and vibrancy to the otherwise solemn atmosphere. As I walked through the cathedral, I couldn’t help but marvel at the sense of history and spirituality that permeated the space. It was truly a place of tranquility and contemplation, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Guildford Cathedral is not just a building, but a testament to human creativity and devotion. Its magnificent architecture and serene atmosphere make it a must-visit destination in Guildford. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, the cathedral offers something for everyone.

Guildford Museum: Unveiling the Town’s Rich Heritage

As you enter the Guildford Museum, your senses will be immediately captivated by the vibrant displays and artifacts that bring the town’s rich heritage to life.

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The museum is a treasure trove of historical artifacts, paintings, and interactive exhibits that showcase the fascinating history of Guildford. From the moment you step through the doors, you are transported back in time to explore the town’s past.

One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of Roman artifacts, providing a glimpse into Guildford’s Roman history. You can marvel at the intricately designed mosaic floors, pottery, and statues that were once part of the Roman settlement in the area.

The museum also showcases the town’s medieval history, with displays of armor, weapons, and stunning medieval artwork. It’s fascinating to see how Guildford has evolved over the centuries and learn about the people who have shaped its history.

In addition to the historical exhibits, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions that cover a wide range of topics, from local art to contemporary issues. These exhibitions add a dynamic element to the museum, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to discover.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about Guildford’s past, a visit to the Guildford Museum is a must. It’s a captivating experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the town and its rich heritage.

Guildford High Street: Retail Therapy at Its Finest

Step onto Guildford High Street and immerse yourself in a world of vibrant shops and bustling crowds, where retail therapy awaits. As I walk down this historic street, I’m immediately captivated by the charming architecture and the lively atmosphere.

The street is lined with a wide array of shops, ranging from high-end boutiques to well-known chain stores, offering something for every shopper’s taste and budget. The High Street is not just a place for shopping, but also a hub of activity and entertainment.

Alongside the shops, there are numerous cafes and restaurants, where you can take a break and indulge in some delicious food and drink. The street is also home to street performers and musicians, adding to the vibrant energy of the place. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends, unique gifts, or simply want to explore the local culture, Guildford High Street has it all.

As I continue my stroll, I can’t help but notice the historic buildings that line the street. The mix of Tudor and Georgian architecture gives Guildford High Street a unique character and adds to its charm. One standout landmark is the Guildhall, a stunning 16th-century building that serves as a reminder of Guildford’s rich history.

It also houses a tourist information center, where you can learn more about the town and its heritage. Guildford High Street truly offers a delightful shopping experience, with its diverse range of shops, lively atmosphere, and beautiful surroundings. Whether you’re a shopaholic or simply enjoy immersing yourself in the buzz of a bustling street, this is the place to be.

So, put on your walking shoes, grab your wallet, and get ready to indulge in some retail therapy on Guildford High Street.

Loseley Park: Discovering a Historic Manor House

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Loseley Park, a magnificent manor house that transports you back in time.

As you step through the grand entrance, you’re immediately greeted by the opulence and grandeur of this historic landmark. The house, built in the 16th century, exudes a sense of elegance and charm, with its intricate architecture and beautifully preserved interiors.

Wandering through the rooms, you can’t help but be captivated by the stories that echo within the walls. Each room has its own unique character, from the lavish Great Hall with its stunning oak-paneled walls, to the cozy Tudor Kitchen, where you can almost imagine the hustle and bustle of servants preparing meals for the Lord and Lady of the house.

The exquisite gardens surrounding the manor are equally enchanting, with their meticulously manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and tranquil water features. It’s a perfect place to take a leisurely stroll, soaking in the beauty that surrounds you.

Loseley Park offers visitors a glimpse into a bygone era, where knights and ladies roamed the halls and the air was filled with the scent of history. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of a well-preserved heritage site, this is a must-visit destination in Guildford.

So come, step into the past and experience the grandeur of Loseley Park for yourself.

Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village: Immersing in Art and Culture

Moving on from the historic charm of Loseley Park, another must-visit destination in Guildford is the Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village. As an art enthusiast, I was completely immersed in the rich artistic and cultural experience that this place offers.

Located in the picturesque Surrey countryside, the Watts Gallery is not just a gallery but a whole village dedicated to art.

Stepping into the Artists’ Village felt like entering a different world altogether. The main highlight of the village is the Watts Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of artworks by the renowned Victorian artist George Frederic Watts and his wife, Mary Watts.

From stunning paintings to intricate sculptures, the gallery showcases the couple’s incredible talent and artistic vision. As I explored the different rooms, I was captivated by the vibrant colors, intricate details, and thought-provoking themes in each artwork. The gallery also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to discover.

Apart from the gallery, the village also boasts beautiful gardens, workshops, and historic buildings. The Watts Chapel, designed by Mary Watts, is a true masterpiece with its intricate terracotta decoration and unique symbolism.

As I wandered through the gardens, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of tranquility and inspiration. The village also offers various workshops and activities for both adults and children, allowing visitors to unleash their own creativity. From painting and pottery classes to guided tours and art installations, there is something for everyone at the Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village.

Overall, visiting this artistic haven was an enriching and immersive experience that left me with a deep appreciation for art and culture.

Hatchlands Park: A Tranquil Escape in Nature

Nestled amidst the serene beauty of the Surrey countryside, Hatchlands Park offers a peaceful retreat where nature’s tranquility embraces you. As I step into the park, I’m immediately captivated by the vast expanse of lush green fields and towering trees that surround me. The air is crisp and clean, and the gentle breeze whispers through the leaves, creating a soothing melody that instantly relaxes my mind.

Walking along the winding paths, I’m greeted by a myriad of vibrant flowers that add bursts of color to the landscape. The park is home to a stunning collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias, which bloom in a riot of hues during the spring and summer months. It’s a photographer’s paradise, with every corner offering a picturesque view waiting to be captured.

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The highlight of my visit is the grand Georgian mansion that stands proudly in the heart of the park. Stepping inside, I’m transported back in time as I explore the beautifully preserved rooms filled with exquisite art, furniture, and artifacts. The knowledgeable guides provide fascinating insights into the history of the house and its former residents, making the experience even more enriching.

Hatchlands Park is more than just a tranquil escape in nature; it’s a place where history, art, and natural beauty come together seamlessly. Whether you’re seeking solace in nature, exploring the grandeur of the mansion, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll in the park, Hatchlands Park offers something for everyone.

Guildford House Gallery: Showcasing Local Art and Crafts

Step into Guildford House Gallery, where you’ll discover a vibrant showcase of local art and crafts that will leave you inspired.

This charming gallery is nestled in the heart of Guildford, England, and offers visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich artistic heritage of the area.

As you enter the gallery, you’ll be greeted by the warm and inviting atmosphere, with beautifully curated displays that highlight the talent and creativity of local artists and craftsmen.

From stunning paintings and sculptures to intricate ceramic works and handmade jewelry, there is something here to captivate every art enthusiast.

The Guildford House Gallery not only celebrates the talent of local artists, but also provides a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work.

It serves as a hub for the creative community, hosting regular exhibitions, workshops, and events that bring artists and art enthusiasts together.

As you explore the gallery, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with the artists themselves, learning about their inspirations and creative processes.

The gallery also features a gift shop where you can purchase unique and one-of-a-kind pieces crafted by local artisans, making it the perfect place to find a special gift or souvenir.

Whether you’re a seasoned art aficionado or simply appreciate the beauty of handmade crafts, Guildford House Gallery is a must-visit destination that will leave you with a renewed appreciation for the local arts scene.

Silent Pool Distillery: Indulging in Gin Tasting

Immerse yourself in a sensory experience at Silent Pool Distillery, where you can indulge in the exquisite art of gin tasting.

Located in the picturesque town of Guildford, England, this distillery offers a unique and captivating experience for gin enthusiasts.

As soon as you step through the doors, you’re greeted by the tantalizing aromas of juniper berries and botanicals that fill the air.

The distillery’s knowledgeable staff guides you through the gin-making process, sharing fascinating insights into the carefully selected ingredients and meticulous craftsmanship that goes into each bottle.

At Silent Pool Distillery, the tasting experience is truly exceptional.

You’re treated to a selection of their handcrafted gins, each one bursting with distinct flavors and aromas.

From the classic Silent Pool Gin, with its smooth and citrusy notes, to the intriguingly complex Navy Strength Gin, there is something to suit every palate.

As you sip on these expertly crafted spirits, you can’t help but appreciate the dedication and passion that goes into creating such exceptional gins.

The serene and tranquil surroundings only add to the experience, making it a truly immersive and memorable journey into the world of gin.

Whether you’re a gin connoisseur or simply curious about the art of distilling, a visit to Silent Pool Distillery is a must when exploring Guildford.

From the informative tour to the delightful tasting session, every aspect of the experience is designed to captivate and educate.

So, indulge your senses and discover the exquisite flavors of Silent Pool gin, as you immerse yourself in the rich history and craftsmanship of this renowned distillery.

Shalford Mill: Delving into Industrial Heritage

As I bid farewell to the delightful experience of gin tasting at Silent Pool Distillery, I found myself eager to discover more of Guildford’s hidden gems.

My next stop was Shalford Mill, a place steeped in history and industrial heritage. As I approached the mill, I couldn’t help but marvel at its picturesque setting, nestled alongside the tranquil River Tillingbourne.

Stepping inside, I was immediately transported back in time to the 18th century. Shalford Mill stands as a remarkable testament to the industrial revolution, showcasing the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the era. The sound of the water wheel turning and the hum of the machinery filled the air, creating an immersive experience that brought the past to life.

As I explored the mill, I learned about the fascinating process of grinding grain and saw firsthand the intricate mechanisms that powered the mill. The knowledgeable staff were on hand to share stories and answer any questions, adding an extra layer of depth to my visit.

Beyond its historical significance, Shalford Mill also boasts stunning surroundings. The peaceful river and idyllic countryside provided the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll. I found myself captivated by the beauty of the landscape and the serenity of the millpond. It was a true oasis of calm, a place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and simply immerse oneself in the tranquility of nature.

Visiting Shalford Mill was a delightful journey into Guildford’s industrial past. From the fascinating machinery to the serene surroundings, every aspect of the mill was a testament to the rich history and heritage of the area. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Shalford Mill is an absolute must-visit when exploring Guildford, England.

Guildford Spectrum: Fun and Entertainment for the Whole Family

Located in Guildford, the Guildford Spectrum offers a wide range of fun-filled activities and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.

This large leisure complex is a hub of excitement, perfect for a day out with loved ones. As soon as you step inside, you are greeted with an array of thrilling options.

From ice skating to tenpin bowling, there is something for everyone at Guildford Spectrum.

One of the highlights of this venue is the Olympic-sized ice rink, which provides endless hours of icy fun. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, gliding across the smooth surface is an exhilarating experience.

The rink also offers skating lessons for those looking to improve their skills.

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If ice skating isn’t your thing, you can head over to the tenpin bowling alley, where strikes and spares await. With a vibrant atmosphere and state-of-the-art facilities, this is the perfect place to show off your bowling skills and enjoy some friendly competition.

The Guildford Spectrum also boasts a wide range of other activities.

These include swimming pools, a gym, and a soft play area for younger children. The pools cater to both recreational swimmers and those looking for fitness classes or swimming lessons.

The gym is equipped with top-of-the-line equipment, making it the ideal spot for a workout session.

And for the little ones, the soft play area provides a safe and stimulating environment for them to burn off some energy.

With its diverse range of activities, the Guildford Spectrum truly offers something for everyone.

This ensures a day of fun and entertainment for the whole family.

Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Exploring the Countryside

Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where you can lose yourself in the serene countryside and experience a true escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

As I ventured into this picturesque area, I was immediately captivated by the rolling hills, lush green meadows, and enchanting woodlands that stretched as far as the eye could see. The air was crisp and filled with the sweet scent of wildflowers, creating an atmosphere of tranquility that instantly put my mind at ease.

One of the highlights of exploring the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is the abundance of walking and cycling trails that meander through the countryside. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual stroller, there are routes to suit every level of fitness and interest.

As I followed one of the trails, I was rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The emerald green fields, dotted with grazing sheep, contrasted beautifully with the vibrant blue sky above. It was a true feast for the senses, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and gratitude for the natural wonders that surrounded me.

In addition to its stunning scenery, the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty also boasts a rich history and heritage. Along the trails, you may stumble upon ancient churches, historic manor houses, and charming villages that have stood the test of time. It’s like stepping back in time and getting a glimpse into the past.

Exploring the countryside in this area is not just about enjoying the natural beauty, but also about immersing yourself in the stories and traditions that have shaped the landscape over the centuries.

Whether you’re seeking solitude, adventure, or simply a breath of fresh air, the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offers it all. With its idyllic countryside, diverse wildlife, and fascinating history, it’s a destination that truly has something for everyone.

So why not lace up your hiking boots, hop on a bike, or simply take a leisurely stroll and discover the wonders that await you in this enchanting part of England?

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre: Enjoying Live Performances

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, where live performances transport you to a world of captivating stories and unforgettable characters.

This iconic theater in Guildford, England, has been showcasing a wide range of productions since its opening in 1965. With its charming red-brick façade and intimate auditorium, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre offers an intimate and immersive experience like no other.

From classic plays to contemporary dramas, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre caters to all tastes and preferences. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the anticipation and excitement that fills the air.

The stage comes alive with talented actors, breathtaking sets, and impeccable costumes, creating a visual feast for the senses. Whether you’re a theater aficionado or a casual visitor, you’ll be captivated by the sheer talent and dedication of the performers as they bring characters to life and transport you to different worlds.

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre also hosts a variety of events and workshops, allowing you to get involved in the theatrical world. From acting classes to behind-the-scenes tours, there are plenty of opportunities to dive deeper into the art of theater.

Additionally, the theater’s bar and restaurant offer a perfect place to unwind before or after a performance, where you can mingle with fellow theater enthusiasts and discuss the magic you’ve just witnessed.

So, if you find yourself in Guildford, make sure to experience the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of live performances.

Guildford Lido: Cooling Off in the Summer Heat

When the summer heat becomes unbearable, head over to Guildford Lido for a refreshing dip in the sparkling blue waters.

Located in the heart of Guildford, this outdoor swimming pool is the perfect place to cool off and enjoy a day of fun in the sun.

The Lido offers a range of facilities, including a heated Olympic-sized pool, a children’s pool, and even a diving board for those feeling a little adventurous.

Whether you’re looking to do some laps or simply relax on the poolside loungers, Guildford Lido has something for everyone.

The atmosphere at Guildford Lido is vibrant and lively, making it a popular spot for families, friends, and individuals alike.

The pool is surrounded by well-maintained grassy areas, where you can set up your own picnic or simply soak up the sun.

The Lido also has a cafe where you can grab a quick bite to eat or indulge in a refreshing ice cream.

With its friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere, Guildford Lido provides the perfect escape from the summer heat, allowing you to unwind and enjoy some quality time outdoors.

So grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and towel, and head over to Guildford Lido for a day of splashing and relaxation.


In conclusion, Guildford, England offers a wide array of activities and attractions that cater to every interest and age group. From exploring the medieval history at Guildford Castle to taking a leisurely stroll along the picturesque River Wey, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One cannot miss the magnificent Guildford Cathedral, a true architectural marvel that never fails to impress. And for those who are interested in delving into the town’s rich heritage, Guildford Museum is the perfect place to uncover fascinating artifacts and stories. Retail therapy enthusiasts will find themselves right at home on Guildford High Street, where a plethora of shops and boutiques await.

For families, Guildford Spectrum is a must-visit destination, offering fun and entertainment for all. And nature lovers will delight in exploring the stunning Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with its breathtaking countryside views. If you’re in the mood for live performances, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is the place to be.

And, of course, when the summer heat becomes too much to bear, Guildford Lido provides the perfect opportunity to cool off and have some fun in the water. With so many incredible things to do and see, Guildford is truly a destination that should not be missed.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.