Guildford area guide

Thinking about moving to Guildford? Here’s our guide to everything that you need to know about living and working in Guildford.

Where is Guildford?

Situated in Surrey and only 40 minutes from Waterloo, Guildford is a historic and vibrant town that boasts one of the most attractive high streets in the country.

Home to medieval, Georgian and modern buildings running down a steep hill to the River Wey, Guildford is a fantastic place to escape the hustle and bustle of London. It’s a great place to raise a family or simply enjoy a slower pace of life. 

In fact, this bustling market town landed in the top 15 of The Sunday Times’ list of the best places to live in the South East – and it’s easy to see why! Judges noted that the area not only has an impressive high street, but it also has plenty of high achieving schools, fantastic transport links, a great arts and culture scene and lots of things to do.

What is the population of Guildford?

Guildford has an estimated population of around 80,000. The wider Borough of Guildford has an estimated 147,889 inhabitants.

Average house prices in Guildford

If you’re looking to buy a property in Guildford, overall average house prices come in at around £535,923, with flats fetching £299,727, semi-detached properties selling for an average price of £473,012, and large detached family homes coming in at around £850,000.

House prices throughout the area have continued to increase year on year, with an increasing demand for all different types of properties.

What is it like to live and work in Guildford?

Guildford is, without a doubt, a great place to live, work and play. Offering the perfect balance between rural and city living, once people lay down solid foundations there, they tend not to leave.

Community spirit is strong throughout the area and this is reflected in all aspects of the town, from its thriving markets to its outstanding schools. With excellent road and rail facilities and the bright lights of London less than an hour away, it’s no surprise that this wonderful Surrey town has become one of the most sought-after places to live in the UK.

The area continues to attract professionals looking to enjoy an improved work-life balance away from the hustle and bustle of Central London.

Travelling in and around Guildford

Guildford has excellent road, rail and bus connections, allowing locals and visitors to enjoy reliable transport links throughout the area and beyond.

With excellent rail links to London and bus routes operating throughout the area, getting around is relatively easy. You can reach London by rail in less than 40 minutes.

Served by the M25, M3 and the A3, Guildford is well-positioned for exploring the whole of South East England. It’s also within easy reach of Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

Guildford education

Guildford is home to lots of fantastic nurseries, schools, colleges and other educational institutions, making it a great place to live, learn and raise a young family.

The top three highest rated schools in the area include Guildford High School, Royal Grammar School, and Tormead School.

Popular primary schools include Burpham Foundation Primary School, Pewley Down Infant School and Shalford Infant School.

Amenities in Guildford

There’s plenty to see and do in Guildford.

With a variety of events and festivals held throughout the year, Guildford is a popular destination with locals and visitors alike, and the town is always a vibrant hive of activity. Some of the town’s top attractions include Guildford Castle and Guildford Cathedral, as well as the Surrey Hills and North Downs where you can explore the outdoors and escape the daily grind with activities and family fun, all surrounded by breath taking scenery.

Guildford Lido is another popular facility that adds to Guildford’s community spirit. Open for the summer season, the lido is home to a boating lake, a skate park and a crazy golf course. There are also lots of entertainment venues and theatres for the whole family to enjoy.

Eating and drinking in Guildford

Guildford certainly isn’t short of fantastic places to indulge in your favourite foods, dine with family and friends, or enjoy a tipple or two.

Whether you fancy some scrumptious pub food, a light lunch or a delicious three course meal, there’s plenty of choice on offer. With lots of restaurants, bars and clubs, pubs and cafes conveniently dotted throughout the town, you’re sure to find a great spot for good food and drinks.

Popular restaurants in the town include the Jetty Restaurant and the Ivy Castle View, which offer fine dining at its best, as well as the Cosy Club in the Tunsgate Quarter, which serves up everything from hearty breakfasts through to an array of evening meals in quirky surroundings.

The Harbour Bar and Grill is the perfect lunch stop if you fancy a light bite while shopping, and if you’re looking to get your favourite food fix from Spain or Italy, make sure you head to La Casita for tapas or Olivos for authentic pizza and pasta. Finally, for a meal with a view, there really is nothing more special than the Thai Terrace.

Shopping in Guildford

Guildford is home to one of the prettiest high streets in the South East, making it the ultimate destination for shopping. You’ll find everything from famous high street shops such as M&S and Debenhams, right through to designer boutiques and eclectic fashion outlets. There are also three different shopping centres to explore.

And if you’re looking to enjoy a rich array of fresh local produce, make sure that you find the time to head to the farmers’ market on the first Tuesday of every month.

The best hotels in Guildford

As Guildford is also a popular holiday and weekend destination, there are lots of fantastic hotels dotted in and around the area, including the Asperion Hillside Hotel, the Guildford Harbour Hotel and the Mandolay Boutique Hotel.

Top things to do in Guildford

Newlands Corner

Newlands Corner is one of Guildford’s best loved beauty spots. Situated in a ridge in the North Downs, this 173-metre hill overlooks the rolling Surrey hills and wooded slopes, providing the ultimate viewpoint of the area.

Once you’ve finished taking in the spectacular views, head down the slope at your own pace and grab a bite to eat in the idyllic villages of Shrere or Albury, where you can enjoy lunch by the Tillingbourne River.

The Steam Dreams Rail Co.

A fantastic day out for the entire family or with friends, The Steam Dreams Rail Co runs 50 steam train day trips and several holidays by steam each year.

Its Pullman Style Dining premium railway dining experience is a must-try and all carriages have been designed to offer a comfortable and authentic way of experiencing travelling by steam train. Choose from a range of different classes including Premier Dining, First Class and Premium Standard.

Taking in Guildford’s most scenic railroads, this really is a special experience.

Guildford Castle

Guildford Castle should definitely be on your list of places to visit.

A highlight of any trip to the castle is a visit to the Great Tower where you will be able to enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of Guildford and its stunning surrounding countryside. Step inside the castle to explore the original historic interiors.

The castle is open between April to September - 10am to 5pm daily (last admission is at 4.30pm). Between October and March, the attraction is open on Saturdays and Sundays only, 11am to 4pm, with last admission at 3.30pm. The grounds are free to visit.

G Live

G Live is a contemporary, state-of-the-art entertainment and concert hall that hosts an exciting programme of events to suit all ages and tastes, all year round.

With a G Live Cafe-Bar offering bistro-style daytime food, the elegant Mezzanine Restaurant that’s ideal for pre-show dining, and lots of spacious foyers, G Live is a great place for a night out.

As part of its celebrated programme of events, you’ll be able to enjoy everything from live music and ballet, right through comedy and shows featuring many famous faces.

Guildford High Street

With a variety of different shops, eateries and restaurants dotted along the iconic high street, there really is nowhere better outside of London to get your shopping fix, with everything from well-known high street stores through to designer boutiques.

Dapdune Wharf

Dapdune Wharf is a stunning waterway managed by the National Trust. This impressive beauty spot is home to plenty of meandering waterways that wind around the Surrey countryside. Every half an hour, a boat sets off from Dapdune Wharf for a 40-minute trip – jump aboard to hear about the history of the waterways while you soak up the surrounding scenery.

Pewley Hill

Climbing above the River Wey to the southeast of Guildford, Pewley Hill can be easily reached from the centre of town in just a few minutes. Offering great views and plenty of outdoor space, it’s a great place to relax and unwind.

Loseley Park

A place of calm and beauty, Loseley Park was built in the reign of Elizabeth I and stands in ancient Surrey Parkland close to the North Downs. A popular