For the past three years, or thereabouts, I’ve been spending most of my time studying in Guildford. I’ve decided to write this post, reflecting on my time in the place where I’ve been a student, as last night, I ordered my graduation robe hire… and it dawned on me that over the next 4 weeks I probably won’t get much time to stop and reflect on the place that has played such an instrumental part in my University experience.
(Incase you’re wondering, I started my BA Hons English Literature back in 2014, and hope to graduate from the University of Surrey in mid-July!)
For those of you who aren’t aware, Guildford is a relatively large town (some call it a city- it has a cathedral but not official status) in Surrey, West of London. Official population 137,000- the population of the surrounding areas are included in this number- the central town area is home to more like half of the Borough’s population. This means that it feels big enough to always have something going on, but small enough to easily find your way around and get from A to B in a reasonable amount of time.
It is the second most expensive city to live in, outside of London, after Oxford, so at first glance, not the ideal place to be a student. I’ve spent the past 2 years (in private rented accommodation) constantly whining about my rent, especially this year, where it equals many East or West London peripheral rents for an equivalent room… but I am grateful to have a lovely house, with great friends, in a good location (close to Uni) and a nice scenic walk from Town.
Guildford’s location is fabulous. Just 34 minutes into London Waterloo on the train, but on the doorstep of the rolling Surrey Hills, I think Guildford offers a really lovely mix of city and country.
Coming from South London Originally (the little Blue dot on the map is where my parents live and where I am right now on my last day of Easter break), It has been really nice to live in a smaller, contained town. The University of Surrey itself has a main campus situated very close to, but distinct from, the town.
The town of Guildford is historic, beautiful and extremely well set-up with plenty of shops, restaurants, services and sights to enjoy as a guest or resident.
Something that’s made me appreciate how lovely Guildford is more recently was hosting 2 friends (from Germany) for a ‘staycation’! Their interest in and fascination with it all reminded me how beautiful it can be.
I have grown awfully fond of this place and the memories it now holds. I will miss it dearly, but I am certain i’ll be back to visit before long.
In addition to its natural beauty and cultural heritage, (Guildford is old, it was in the Doomsday book) Guildford also has some lovely Pubs, bars, restaurants and venues.
The Boileroom is a great independent music venue I recommend you check out if you have time (you can find my Tripadvisor review here).
I’ve come to know many wonderful things which hide in the corners of the town, learned the shortcuts and the nooks and crannies, but I still learn new things all time.
A few of places I would check out whilst in Guildford if I were visiting would be…
- The Cathedral(but be aware it’s undergoing restoration works in part at present!) It’s pretty cool and ominous looking- rather appropriate as they filmed the omen there. It’s become one of the most distinctive symbols of Guildford for me, you can see it from almost any vantage point nearby, as it sits high atop Stag Hill on Campus.
- Kokoro (Sushi and Bento)- this is a strange one… but go there, get the katsu curry (or anything else for that matter)… you shall not regret it.
- Creams – though not exceptional to Guildford, who can say no to a huge, indulgence topped waffle when it’s on offer?
- The Castle- Worth the trek up the High Street to see, the castle is very very old and quite spectacular. You can ascend the tower for a very small fee and it’s worth it for the views.
- Pewley Down- This is a beautiful big down looking away from Guildford from the very top of the town. I was lucky enough to live right next to it last year, which was just wonderful. It’s a great place for a picnic or to find other peoples dogs to pet.
- Pubs… This one is a bit vague… there are many. My favourites are probably- The King’s Head, The Star Inn, The Three Pigeons and The Wooden Bridge (would recommend the Sunday pub quiz for the brave and savvy.
Guildford is a really great place to live and study. Bit pricey. Bit full of rich middle-aged people… but it also has plenty of perfectly normal, working people. And it’s really rather lovely.
Right, I’d better pack my things and head back for my final 3 weeks of lectures! (And final month living in Guildford!)
If you’re thinking about a trip to Guildford, or moving here to study (especially at The University of Surrey)- do it, you won’t regret it!
Ciao for now,