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Things to do in Guildford, Surrey

Guildford - Surrey's county town - has all the richness and amenities of a city and yet remains compact enough to explore and enjoy with ease. In the streets and lanes around the cobbled High street, there awaits a wealth of history to discover including the castle built by William the Conqueror - Surrey's only Royal castle - and the house and grave of the author Lewis Carroll.

As a place to shop, Guildford has a particularly good selection of high street stores alongside a huge variety of smaller and specialist shops. Offering a rich variety of entertainment throughout the year, the delightful Yvonne Arnaud theatre stages pre-and post-West end productions and the Guildford Civic is host to everything from stand-up comedy to classical concerts by Guildford's own Philharmonic Orchestra.

A number of festivals are held from spring through to autumn, celebrating music, literature, arts and crafts and even cricket! The wide range of activities available at the spectrum Leisure centre includes swimming, ice-skating and tenpin bowling, while the recently refurbished 1930's Lido is ideal for swimming outdoors in the summer months.

Consecrated in 1961, Guildford cathedral dominates the town and is floodlit to spectacular effect at night. Inside, the honey-coloured stone and white marble floors combine with soaring arches to give an impression of lightness, space and tranquillity.

Why not hire a narrow boat or rowing boat and splash about on the National Trust's Wey Navigation, which runs through the town? Alternatively, there are lovely walks along the towpath out into the countryside where you will find a host of charming villages, beautiful gardens and historic buildings to explore.

Loseley Park, a beautiful Elizabethan mansion with exquisite gardens, has been home to the same family since the 16th century. The Palladian style Clandon Park boasts a magnificent marble hall while nearby Hatchards, a handsome brick-built house with interiors by Robert Adam, is home to a most unusual collection of keyboard instruments.

Here an audio tour allows the visitor to listen to the instruments once played by Mahler, Chopin, Elgar and Marie-Antoinette. The Royal Horticultural Society Garden at Wisley is acclaimed by gardeners throughout the world and close by is Painshill, a delightful restored 18th century landscape garden.

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Images of Guildford

Farmer's Market in the High Street © Sue Waugh
The Scholar statue in the High Street © Sue Waugh
View of Guildford High Street © Sue Waugh
Abbot's Hospital Guildford © Sue Waugh
Guildford Castle Keep from the Alice Through The Looking Glass statue in castle grounds © Sue Waugh
The Bargeman statue alongside the River Wey © Sue Waugh

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