See also Guildford, Western Australia and Guildford, British Columbia.

Template:GBmap Guildford is the county town of Surrey, England, as well as being the seat for the borough of Guildford and the administrative headquarters of the South East England region. Being in a very sandy area, Guildford is probably named after a golden ford in the River Wey which existed in Saxon times. Its population as of the 2001 census was 129,717.

It is twinned with Freiburg in southern Germany, and linked with Mukono in central Uganda.



Alfred Atheling, son of King Ethelred II, had been living in Normandy during the Danish invasion of Saxon England. After Canute died, in around 1040, he returned to England where he was met and entertained in Guildford by the Earl Godwine who handed him to Harold Harefoot's men who blinded and mutilated him, so that he died not long afterward.

There is a 12th century Norman castle, which was built as an overnight resting place as the southernmost point of the Windsor hunting park. It was visited on several occasions by King John and King Henry III. Today only the keep, restored in 2004, remains. The rest of the grounds are a pleasant public garden.

From the 14th century to the 18th century the town prospered with the wool trade.

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass lived in Guildford and is buried in the Mount Cemetery (

Author P. G. Wodehouse was born in Guildford in 1881.

Guildford was made a diocese in 1927, and Guildford Cathedral was consecrated in 1961.

On October 5, 1974, bombs planted by Provisional IRA terrorists went off in two Guildford pubs, killing five civilians. The pubs were targeted because soldiers were known to frequent them. The subsequently arrested suspects, who became known as the Guildford Four, were convicted and sentenced to long prison sentences. They claimed to have been tortured by the police and denied involvement in the bombing. After a long legal battle, they were released in 1989 when their convictions were overturned.

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Statue of Archbishop George Abbot in Guildford High St


In the 21st century Guildford is a bustling English town, with an attractive cobbled High Street, numerous shops and department stores as well as many pubs and restaurants. There is a Tourist Information Office and several hotels including the historic Angel Hotel which long served as a coaching stop on the main London to Portsmouth stage coach route. There are two railway stations (Guildford railway station, near the Friary Centre, and London Road (Guildford) railway station) which provide a convenient link to London Waterloo for commuters, and the main line station also connects to Portsmouth, Reading, Epsom and Gatwick airport. In addition there is a bus station, a free town centre shuttle bus and a 'Park and Ride' service from the South of the town.

There is a small museum in the town centre and a nationally successful sports centre, known as the Spectrum, in Stoke park which is home to the Guildford Flames ice hockey team. The University of Surrey is situated to the north-west of the town centre, about ten minutes' walk from Guildford main line train station.

It is a market town with the market being held on Fridays and Saturdays. A farmers' market is usually held on the first Tuesday of each month.


In 2002, Guildford's application to be granted the status of a city was unsuccessful, losing out to Preston, the only English town being formally recognised as a city as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations. See City status in the United Kingdom.

Politically, Guildford is thought of as a traditional "Conservative" constituency. The first election of the 21st century returned a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, Sue Doughty, though the 2003 Borough Council elections returned a majority council for the Conservatives, replacing a Liberal Democrat-controlled council.

The 2005 general election saw Guildford returned to the Tories (Conservative Party), although by a very narrow margin, 0.7% of the voting electorate (347 votes).


Guildford has the Spectrum Leisure Centre ( which is a national prizewinning sports centre (pools, ice rink, bowls, athletics track as well as general halls); The Civic Hall, a council run auditorium used amongst other things for concerts (pop, classical and comedy) closed in January 2004 awaiting long-term replacement; The Electric Theatre (, a theatre opened in 1997 to host performances by musicians and amateur drama groups; The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre which often previews West End shows etc.

Each summer Guildford hosts the Ambient Picnic ( in Shalford Park by the River Wey and, in Stoke Park, both the Guilfest music festival in August and the Surrey County Show (agricultural and general) on the last bank holiday Monday in May.

Guildford is also the home of the famous games company Lionhead Studios.


External links

de:Guildford fr:Guildford no:Guildford


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