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Why Choose Guildford: Famous Residents In Guildford

A hop, skip and jump away from London lies Surrey's largest town, Guildford.

Offering a welcome balance between city and rural life; you can enjoy the countryside spaces and community environment of the historic location whilst good travel connections mean you’ll be able to reach the bright lights of the capital in roughly thirty-five minutes. The picturesque town has even been voted the best shopping destination in the UK, array with independent retailers to browse and hidden gems for a much-needed lunch or coffee break between stores.

It’s no wonder the list of famous residents in Guildford has continued to grow over the years, with the pull of charming cobbled high-streets and weekly markets favoured over busy central London. Find out more about the current and former famous faces calling Guildford home in our blog post below.

Kings Of Old

Guildford Castle features on the Pilgrims’ Way, a route taken by William the Conquerer after the 1066 invasion. It is thought the historical site was built shortly after this battle, as were several others in important areas (though Guildford’s is the only castle in Surrey), to secure and strengthen the monarch’s new hold over the towns. Living in the town means you’ll be sharing with one of the most historically famous residents in Guildford’s headquarters, and it is certainly worth a visit to soak in the heritage. 

The beautiful Guildhall, located in the centre of the high street, was an addition in 1550 originally used as a courtroom and now hosts paintings of previous royalty for visitors’ pleasure. You definitely won’t be able to miss the building, with the iconic gold-leaf clock that has featured in several TV series. 

Just a short walk away, Guildford Cathedral is yet another building with a claim to fame, ominously appearing in the classic horror, The Omen. Known as one of the most terrifying films to come out of the ’70s it’s not for the faint-hearted but does showcase the neo-Gothic architecture of the church. 

Prog Rock’s Birth

For fans of British rock and roll, the forming band members of The Stranglers, briefly known as ‘The Guildford Stranglers’ were based in the town in the early 1970s. Jet Black, the band’s drummer, ran a small off-license and bass player Jean-Jacques Burnel attended the Royal Grammar School. With several music venues and independent bars across town, you may be the first to see up-and-coming artists perform live. Or, discover a passion for prog rock with one of The Stranglers’ 23 top 40 singles; Richard Stovold, our Seymour Guildford brand owner’s favourite being Always The Sun. 

Other notable musicians include Mike Rutherford of Genesis and Andrew Latimer who formed the band Camel, marking Guildford a hub for progressive rock artists. Did you know? Led Zeppelin even performed their very first show in the main hall of the University of Surrey!

On-Screen

Renowned for his villainous roles in a variety of films, such as The Mask of Zorro, Enemy of the State (the Seymours Guildford team favourite!), and Hot Fuzz, Stuart Wilson has lived in Guildford for the majority of his life. Although, should you bump into him outside of his films rest-assured he’s been described as a friendly character as opposed to his on-screen personalities! 

From the screen to the stage, the Surrey town also gave way to Bonnie Langford’s career in theatre. The rich arts programmes that are available to the community can nurture a young performance lover’s passions and talents. The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre was actually named after another actress born in the area, Yvonne Arnaud, in honour of her success and showcases a range of local productions including ballet, opera, and pantomime year-round. 

Did you know, James Bond star Sir Roger Moore, got rather shaken (not stirred!) after waking up in his Angel Hotel room to see a ‘ghostly figure’ appear in front of him. Guildford is supposedly home to one of the most haunted roads in the UK, the A3 at Burpham after a mysterious ‘ghost crash’ that has become an urban legend amongst locals.

Through The looking Glass

Though he never actually settled in the area permanently, writer Lewis Carroll was constantly visiting the town for long periods at a time, and therefore we associate him as one of the famous residents in Guildford. If you take a wander along the River Wey or a trip up to the castle you’ll notice the beautiful bronze Alice In Wonderland statues erected in his memory, and can even pay your respects at his gravestone located on the mount. Should you decide to embrace Alice’s adventure, relax with a drink at The March Hare, situated right next to The Mad Hatter vintage hattery – as long as you aren’t late! For a very important date! 
In an equally quirky novel series, you may recall the character Ford Prefect from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who has supposedly posed as an out-of-work actor in Guildford for 15 years. (We can’t however guarantee any alien encounters on your daily commute.) 
Though he never actually settled in the area permanently, writer Lewis Carroll was constantly visiting the town for long periods at a time, and therefore we associate him as one of the famous residents in Guildford. If you take a wander along the River Wey or a trip up to the castle you’ll notice the beautiful bronze Alice In Wonderland statues erected in his memory, and can even pay your respects at his gravestone located on the mount. Should you decide to embrace Alice’s adventure, relax with a drink at The March Hare, situated right next to The Mad Hatter vintage hattery – as long as you aren’t late! For a very important date! 

In an equally quirky novel series, you may recall the character Ford Prefect from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who has supposedly posed as an out-of-work actor in Guildford for 15 years. (We can’t however guarantee any alien encounters on your daily commute.) 

Passing By

Over the years, The Boilerroom in Guildford has welcomed numerous upcoming artists that have gone on to become hugely popular worldwide. In the intimate setting, you’d not be mistaken for feeling as though you were at a private performance. Just a few names you might recognise are Ed Sheeran, Foals, The 1975, Catfish & The Bottlemen, and You Me At Six, but the list is endless; Richard has even seen Bastille perform! Your evenings can be filled exploring new music on your own doorstep, so you won’t have to worry about missing late-night trains to get back home. 

The tangent of the small independent venue Kick Back Comedy Club runs every third Saturday of the month, regularly hosting comedians touring on a national scale in the up-close and personal setting. If you’d prefer a larger crowd, G Live which holds up to 1,700 people, also has a variety of large-name acts performing – from Strictly’s Anton & Giovanni to comedian Al Murray and even disco-superstar Sophie Ellis-Bexter. 

As if you needed another reason to make the move to the popular Surrey town, Top Gear presenter and former iconic Friends character, Matt Le Blanc, has even quoted to the Star Magazine “You haven’t lived until you’ve been to Guildford!”. Perhaps due to the proud history of car marking in the area; Dennis Cars had one of the first purpose-built car factories in the country.

Other Reasons Why We Love Guildford

“Walking along the River Wey and stopping for a drink at the Weyside Pub on the riverside deck never goes amiss!” – Richard Stovold, Seymour Guildford’s Branch Owner

Guildford has a wonderful selection of independent restaurants and bars to choose from. From authentic Southern Italians hidden down the cobbled high street to contemporary Asian dishes served on a rooftop overlooking the town, the area has something for all the family to enjoy. Did you know, Guildford has actually been voted into the top 15 places to live by The Sunday Times twice, in 2018 and again in 2020 – it’s charming high-street and strong connections placing it in high stead.
 
If you are thinking of taking the plunge to relocate your children, you’ll be pleased to learn the town is home to a selection of highly-rated schools for toddlers to teens. One of the top 30 universities, The University of Surrey is also on your doorstep. 

And finally, Guildford residents are credited with the creation of the nickname ‘cheesy bobs’ for woodlice – according to the Seymours team, using the term is an unspoken law! Although supposedly a secret amongst those that live there. 

Famous Residents in Guildford

Choosing to move to Guildford offers you a slower pace than that found in London whilst remaining within thirty miles of the hustle and bustle; its stunning country scenery and historic high-street full of independent retailers and restaurants only adding to its desirability. With a strong community at its heart, you’ll find a new event to attend regularly; Richard’s former favourite being Guilfest, you’ll likely now spot him at the Guildford Cricket Festival or Charlotteville Cycling Club’s town centre race – though we ourselves can’t resist the Chilli and Cheese festival!  

Full of history dating back to Saxon times this only adds to the charm and interest of the town, making it a hotspot for famous residents too whether they are making the move permanently or passing through. Whether it’s to escape the city or to enjoy the rich culture, Guildford is an ever in-demand location for those looking to buy or rent.

Thinking of moving to Guildford?

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