Guildford Tourist Information Centre's Diana Roberts on her perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 17:07 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 17:46 20 February 2013
As the lady in charge of promoting tourism in Guildford, Diana Roberts knows a thing or two about making the most of weekends in Surrey's county town
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2010
As the lady in charge of promoting tourism in Guildford, Diana Roberts knows a thing or two about making the most of weekends in our county town
Friday evening the start of the weekend! Id like to say I hit the ground running, but usually the week has been so busy that Im just in the mood to chill out. Having said that, I have been known to meet friends for a glass or two of Rioja at The Keep in Castle Street justifying the action by talking shop with Jane Lyons, who runs this excellent establishment and cooks a mean chilli, too!
Saturday morning starts with a lie-in this is sacrosanct and not to be disturbed! Well, thats the theory usually, my daughter getting ready for work, husband preparing for golf and cats demanding attention gets me out of bed by 8.30am. Oh, to be a teenager again and lie in till lunchtime! Ill then attempt a bit of housework for a couple of hours (domesticity not being my strong point) before heading into Guildford town centre.
I love Guildford town centre the vibrancy and bustle and, of course, the shops! First on my list is a visit to the nail bar in Angel Gate. Ive been making regular visits to New York Nails for a couple of years now and the hand-painted designs they do on my nails is now something of a trademark. Then Ill walk down to meet my daughter for lunch and be persuaded to spend some money in the newly refitted New Look store at the bottom of North Street. Their range of shoes is so tempting I just cant resist. The view up the hill when its heaving with people is one of my favourites and a wonderful spot for people watching, too!
After a prolonged mooch around the North Street Market and into the High Street, Ill head for home. Someone recently told me it is possible to reach the High Street from North Street without passing the make-up section of House of Fraser. Why would anyone want to do that, though?
Magical nights out
Im a great fan of live theatre and really look forward to Guildford Summer Festival with its outdoor theatre performances by Guildford Shakespeare Company in the Castle Grounds and then by the lake at the university such a lovely way to spend an evening with a picnic and good entertainment.
Outside of the Guildford Summer Festival, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre becomes my regular weekend haunt. For the last two years, Ive bought my husband membership of the Vanbrugh Club for Christmas, so we head straight for the delightful room with its plush furnishings and personal service for a drink before the show starts. We have seen some amazing productions at the Yvonne Arnaud, and some excellent performances, too. Its also perfect for a coffee during the day, especially if the weather is good and you can sit outside by the river.
Sunday mornings always start with a now what shall we do today moment. Usually, I head for Emmanuel Church in Stoughton, but my friend and I occasionally treat ourselves and go to Guildford Cathedral. Its such a beautiful building, and on a clear day the view is stunning.
If Im meeting up with friends in the afternoon, then we might find ourselves at the Keystone in Portsmouth Road, or Jo Clarks at the top of the High Street.
This is usually the point where I start to feel a bit guilty. Working at the Tourist Information Centre in Guildford, I am only too aware of the huge number of events going on and the wonderful attractions in the area, but like so many Surrey residents, Im often very bad at exploring.
To be fair, I have the chance to visit most of the local attractions as part of my job, and have been to almost every one for meetings, but this year my goal is to spend quality time visiting these wonderful places. Ive made a start with RHS Garden Wisley, and next on the list is Loseley Park, Painshill Park and the National Trust properties of Clandon, Hatchlands and Polesden Lacey.
One final haunt for a sunny Sunday afternoon would be Guildford Lido now thats a people watching paradise! But dont forget the suncream!
- Guildford Tourist Information Centre in Tunsgate is a one-stop shop for events, tickets, accommodation and attractions and theres just as much for Surrey residents as there is for visitors to the area. Find out more at www.guildford.gov.uk