Fashionable Guildford is the county town of Surrey and is situated south west of London along the A3, on the ridge of the North Downs. The charm of its High Street hints at Guildford’s past with its cobbled street and historic buildings.
The beautiful Guildhall stands in the High Street which runs down to the banks of the river Wey. An impressive Tudor building with a 17th century facade and a protruding clock bearing the date 1683. Tall windows and an elegant balcony complete this attractive building which also has a bell-turret. In the old courtroom there is a set of standard measures presented to Guildford by Queen Elizabeth I, one of the few complete sets from this period still in existence.
Away from the High Street stands Guildford Castle, built in the 12th century by William the Conqueror after the battle of Hastings and was originally a Norman motte and bailey castle. Early in the 12th century the wooden defenses were replaced by a stone castle. A polygonal shell keep, a further two story square flanking keep and an outer bailey were all added in the 1130’s and the keep became both a jail and the headquarters for the county sheriff. From the castle keep visitors can take in views of the town. Housed within the castle is the museum of local history, this has a collection dedicated to Lewis Caroll the author of Alice in Wonderland, who died in Guildford at the end of the 19th century and whose body lies buried in Mount Cemetery.
Guildford cathedral occupies a commanding position on Stag Hill. One of the few churches built during the 20th century, it was begun in 1936 and was finally finished and consecrated in 1961. It has an eye catching red brick exterior to a simplified Gothic design by Sir Edward Maufe.
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