Guildford is a beautiful town located in Surrey. Rich in history, sport and the arts, it’s not just a popular visitor destination – it’s also full of interesting surprises. If you’re staying in one of our spacious serviced apartments, make sure you find out more before you start investigating the area.
The castle was built on the orders of William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror built castles in all the important towns in the UK to prevent rebellion and strengthen his hold on the country. Because Guildford and Southwark were the only towns in Surrey at the time and Guildford was on an important route between London, the south coast and the west, it seemed like an obvious site for a castle.
The castle is thought to have been built shortly after the Norman conquest of 1066 but just a few hundred years later, it was no longer of importance and fell into disrepair. In 1888 the castle was opened to the public following the restoration of the tower and other walls and since then, many other restoration works have taken place.
There are some very interesting findings under the High Street
In 1995, archaeologists discovered what they believe to be Britain’s only surviving medieval synagogue hidden underneath a shop in Guildford’s High Street. It’s estimated that it was built during the 12th century when Jewish settlers first arrived in the area and it’s one of only three synagogues known to have survived in north-west Europe.
Scenes from a famous film were shot at Guildford Cathedral
Guildford Cathedral (www.guildford-cathedral.org/) is often the talk of the town and there are many reasons for this. It had its 15 minutes of fame when a scene from the famous supernatural thriller, The Omen was filmed here. Don’t let this put you off however, the stunning cathedral is actually a place of complete tranquillity where visitors can take in its beautiful surroundings. Another reason why Guildford’s cathedral has made the town rather famous is because it’s not a city. This has been a hot topic of debate for many years because typically, any area which houses a cathedral is classed as a city. Guildford did apply for city status back in 2002 but it was turned down, losing to Preston.
The famous author, Lewis Carroll, has many connections with the town
Following the death of his father, Lewis Carroll visited Guildford for the first time in 1868. Now the head of the family, he was responsible for finding a home for his six unmarried sisters. Having already written ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ Carroll purchased The Chestnuts, just next to the castle ruins, for his sisters to live in.
Over the years, he spent a lot of time in the town and even wrote his second book, ‘Through the Looking Glass’ here. He lived the last year of his life in Guildford and is now buried in the cemetery on The Mount.
It boasts a top 10 university
The University of Surrey (www.surrey.ac.uk/) is famous for the extensive research it conducts on small satellites within its Space Centre and is also listed in the UK’s top 10 universities. As well as being a top destination for students, Surrey achieved the highest score for student satisfaction of all the universities on the list.
If these interesting facts aren’t enough to entice you to the historic town of Guildford, there’s also plenty to keep you busy once you’re there. From eating and shopping to exploring the beautiful countryside, there really is something for everyone.