Surrey walk around Guildford
PUBLISHED: 14:14 29 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:30 03 July 2018
Step off the historic High Street and discover the beautiful countryside right on the doorstep during this riverside and hilltop stroll
• Start: Tunsgate Arch, which you’ll find on Guildford High Street.
• Grid ref: TQ998 496 (postcode for satnav: GU1 3HJ)
• Length of walk: Allow about one-and-a-half hours for this walk.
• Food and drink: There really is something for everyone in Guildford, but try one of the pubs for a post-walk bite or refresher. Look out for the intimate The Keep, by the castle, or one of the great riverside retreats.
• While you are there: Make time to visit Guildford Museum in Quarry Street and Guildford House Gallery in the High Street – both of which have free admission.
1 The walk starts under the historic Tunsgate Arch, in the middle of Guildford High Street. Walk up Tunsgate and, at the top of the road, cross over into the castle grounds. It is also well worth walking up to the top of the castle keep, to take in the views over Guildford, if you get a chance.
2 Continue on the main path through the castle grounds. Take the path left out the gate, at the bottom, on to the road known as Castle Hill. This was once the site of the royal palace. If you look left here, you will see a Victorian detached house, The Chestnuts, which was the family home of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland author, Lewis Carroll. Take the road down through the castle arch and turn right into Quarry Street.
3 Continue on down Quarry Street, going past Guildford Museum on your right (also well worth a visit), and down to St Mary’s Church. Continue on until you reach the High Street.
4 Turn left and proceed to the bridge at the bottom of the town. Cross over the bridge and turn left beside The White House pub.
5 Just beyond here is a lovely statue of Alice with the White Rabbit. Continue along and cross over the River Wey at the bridge and then take the wide path running alongside the canal.
6 Follow the path along by the side of the canal until you reach the bridge by the golden sand. Cross over the bridge and follow the path around to Shalford Park, where you will occasionally spot a hot air balloon.
7 Go straight over the park and cross the A281 and continue up the Pilgrims’ Way. Ignore the path marked North Downs Way on your right and continue up the road, which turns left to become Echo Pit Road. Then go right into North Down Lane.
8 Take the footpath at the end of the road and follow it until it brings you out on to Pewley Hill.
9 Turn right to enjoy a wonderful view over to Guildford Cathedral.
10 Having taken in the views, double back and take the path to the right, which takes you onto Pewley Hill Road. This road takes you back down the hill to Tunsgate.
• The Tunsgate Arch, designed in the Tuscan style with four columns, was built in 1818 to house the expanding corn market exchange. The two middle columns were moved apart in 1937 to accommodate a new road down Tunsgate. The coat of arms of Guildford and of its twin town Freiberg are set into the pavement.
• Guildford Castle is thought to have been built shortly after the 1066 invasion of England by William the Conqueror. It fell into disrepair in the 14th century and, since Victorian times, it has been the site of an attractive pleasure garden.
• The golden sand at the footbridge over the River Wey is on the ancient Pilgrims’ Way, the long-distance walking route to Canterbury. Some people believe this is how Guildford got its name – the “guild” meaning gold and “ford” meaning shallow crossing over a river.
• After World War One, the local Friary Brewery (long since shut) generously bought Pewley Down and presented it to the town as a war memorial. This is now managed by Guildford Borough Council.