7 facts about Guildford town centre you might not know

We might be a little biased when it comes to Guildford town centre, but this vibrant community certainly does deserve high praises! And, our team are pretty clued up when it comes to facts about Guildford town centre! Home to roughly 150,000, Guildford is the beating heart of the Surrey county and offers residents the best of both worlds – lush countryside and a bustling town centre on their doorstep. 

It’s a no wonder then that the area is in such demand, with property searches ever increasing and a variety of house hunters flocking to town. Originally noted as having just 900 habitants in the 1986 Domesday Book, it has certainly grown in size considerably!

As the local experts, having lived in the area for several years themselves, the Seymours Guildford team have compiled a revealing list, detailing a little more of the lesser known facts about this historic market town. 

Take the test, do you know these 7 facts about Guildford town centre?


  1. Royal Roots

Guildford Castle is the only royal castle to have ever been built in Surrey and is therefore of significant historical importance. Thought to have been erected shortly after the Norman conquest of 1066 on the orders of William the Conqueror, the castle was a signal of his power over the people in the area. 

Nowadays, the site is a popular picnic spot for visitors and locals alike as they can take in the stunning floral displays in the grounds. Situated on the Pilgrim’s Way route, the castle overlooks a pass through the hills and is therefore ideal for taking in the sunshine and surrounding countryside views. 

Did you know, Guildford was originally known as Geldeford or Gildeford, as it is referred to in the Domesday Book? 

  1. Our Very Own Wonderland

One of our favorite facts about Guildford town centre! It’s difficult to take a stroll through and not notice some of the Alice in Wonderland sculptures, dotted throughout the area. Lewis Carroll, known as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson outside the literary world, frequented Guildford to visit his six sisters in their home, located just next to the castle ruins. 

Whilst his first writing, Alice in Wonderland, had been published in 1865 before his arrival to the area, the second installment, Through the Looking Glass, is thought to have been written on one of his trips to Guildford in 1971. 

His final year was spent in Guildford and he is now buried in the cemetery on The Mount, just inside the gates. To celebrate his literary works, you can find a variety of sculptures that make for a wonderful route through the town – can you find the white rabbit?


  1. Is It An Omen?

The 1976 horror cult-classic, The Omen, was filmed at the town centre’s striking landmark, Guildford Cathedral. Facts about Guildford town centre don’t get much spookier than this one! Rather less spooky however, the cathedral comes alive at Christmas time. Both visitors and locals flock to enjoy carols and take in the festive cheer during the season, but there are plenty of activities year round too.

In recent years, the cathedral was actually refurbished, only adding to it’s status in the town. Why not take a tour? You’ll see fantastic views as you climb the stairs to reach the very top of the 50 metre tower – it’s certainly worth the steps! 

  1. The first innings

Cricket fans will likely know Guildford as the birthplace of the game in England. The first recorded reference was in a testimony made by John Derccik in a court case hearing about land in 1598. He quotes “Being a scholler in the ffree schoole of Guldeford hee and diverse of his fellows did runne and play there at creckett and other plaies”.

Being a 59-year-old at the time of the hearing, it’s been estimated that the boys were playing cricket around fifty years earlier. Why not have a game at Guildford Cricket Club’s pitch this weekend to relive the sporting first? 

  1. A Golden Ford?

The origins of Guildford’s name is somewhat contested, it is believed to have come from the Saxon words for gold and ford. But, this leaves much mystery surrounding the name of the town centre as there is little to no gold found in the region’s sedimentary layers. 

Instead, local historians have suggested the name is in reference to golden flowers that previously grew near a ford, or that perhaps there was golden sand. The etymology remains a bit of a mystery, yet we certainly can say it is rich in culture – if not gold! 

If you want to learn more about the origins of Guildford and its history, take a visit to Guildford Museum. Located just by the castle, it’s a historical hub for any keen to uncover more and has a selection of regularly updated exhibitions to peruse. 


  1. On The Road

Facts about Guildford town centre don’t stop there! The area has a rich history in car production with the Dennis Brothers making the town their factory’s headquarters in 1901. Known as Rodboro Buildings, the three storey basement building on Onslow Street was actually the first purpose-built motor vehicle factory in Britain. 

Quickly growing in size and reputation, the brothers were commissioned to build a van for Harrods and a fire engine for Bradford Council Fire Department. Their final car was built 1913 as the demand for their commercial vehicles overtook the passenger market. 

The factory remained in operation until 1928 but is still known as the Rodboro Buildings. Fancy a drink? The town’s wetherspoons now occupies this historic spot and has retained some of the features as a nod to the building’s industrial past. 

  1. Take A Dip

You may be aware of Guildford’s Lido if you are a local, however did you know it is one of the few remaining 1930s outdoor pools? And, it’s olympic-sized! Set in 4 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, the lido is the perfect summer spot. Heated to 24 degrees, it’s the ideal place to cool down from May to September – yet is most definitely warmer than the British sea!

Whether you meet friends casually and bring a picnic along to enjoy long days by the pool, or crave an early morning swim to start your day, it’s a great spot located in the town centre and is a brilliant local resource. The venue has even been used to host a variety of events from outdoor concerts to informal parties and BBQ’s, why not book your next summer celebration here?

  1. What’s A Cheesy Bob? 

One of our favorite claims to fame, Guildford residents are responsible for the term ‘cheesy bobs’, used to describe woodlouse. Whilst this little insect has hundreds of different nicknames, it seems in Guildford our use of the term ‘cheesy bobs’ is one that unites us! You likely won’t find any outside the county using it unless they too are from the area. 

The Guildford community always keeps us on our toes!


Facts About Guildford Town Centre: Are You Considering The Move? 

The market town is a popular choice for house hunters due to its prime location. Whilst in close proximity to London, locals can enjoy the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty surrounding the town, taking in the stunning countryside right on their doorstep. It’s therefore ideal for both commuters or for those wanting to stay in the South region, yet are craving a quieter pace of life. 

Enjoy luxury boutiques, unique independents and famous high street names – there’s something for every age group, style and budget. Even just a stroll down the cobbled high street is the perfect pass time, it’s difficult to only window shop!


Our Seymours team have nearly 30 years of experience selling properties within Guildford and the Surrey area and can provide you with property peace of mind with a service you can rely upon. Our dedicated, passionate team will be on hand to offer you support and reassurance whenever you need it and we guarantee a proactive approach to guarantee you the best possible price for your home.

Who do you know who’s famous and lives in Guildford?

If you’d like free market advice or need more information about the area, get in touch with the team at Seymours Guildford on 01483 576833 or email us directly here.

Seymours Guildford estate agents, at the very heart of the community.