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Guildford is a sizeable county town at a perfect location in the centre of Surrey. From here, you are just eight miles from the M25 and 30 miles from the centre of London via the A3 transport corridor. Guildford is also at a crossroads, allowing you to reach the M3 motorway in 30 minutes or connect up with the M4 in just 45 minutes. The town itself has buckets of appeal, with its roots going back to at least Roman times. The medieval castle here was the home of the King of England during the 15th century. These days, Guildford is a modern, cosmopolitan place, yet still remains a humble slice of England.
Who to Book With
Guildford has dozens of car hire companies to choose from, including the top rental firms of Avis, Europcar and Hertz. There is also a cluster of rental agencies just north of the university on the A3. It is recommended that you book online in advance to get the best prices and find your most convenient location.
Best Time to go
There is no particularly good or bad time to visit Guildford. There are several pubs located by the River Wey that are best enjoyed when having a drink in the beer garden in the summer, however. Of recent times, Guildford has also become known for hosting German-style Christmas markets in December.
Need to Know Essentials
To pick up your rental car, you must provide the following documents:
- A valid UK or European driving license or International Driving Permit
- A second photo ID, like a passport
- The credit card used in the booking process
- Confirmation or a reference number
Driving around Guildford is mostly a breeze, although during peak times traffic can be thick. One area to avoid is the Hog’s Back, on the A31, which goes past a steep hill of the same name, connecting with the A3. Navigating central Guildford is straightforward: just follow the A31 or A322 in until you meet the roundabout by the rail station. Bridge Street crosses over the River Wey. From here, you have access to both sides of town.
There are several places to park in Guildford; look for the area between the main train station and London Road train station. Most car parks are easily accessible and are operated by the local council. Prices are around £1 for an hour, with the car parks open from 8:00 until 22:00.
Guildford is by and large a transport delight. Not only does it have a great road network for car travel, it also has effective rail connections to other places in the country. Local buses can get you around the town, or you can use the free bus that goes around the city three times every hour.
Guildford is well-serviced by trains running on the British Rail network. There is a fast service to London Waterloo via Woking, which takes less than 30 minutes. You can also get into London via Cobham, although this journey takes considerably longer. It is easy to get to Gatwick Airport or Reading on other lines. Check National Rail Enquiries for current timetable information.
Taxis are plentiful in Guildford, although are by far the most expensive form of transport in the town. There are taxi ranks at the railway station and at the bottom of North Street. Otherwise, you can call a taxi in advance to come and collect you. Contact City Cabs on 01483 888 666 for a quote.
Guildford has a free bus that travels around the city centre three times an hour, although do not expect this to be reliable as it often gets caught in traffic, particularly at busy times. Otherwise, there is a good system of local buses, with some that travel farther out and connect to other locations in the region. You can use the Traveline website to plan your route.
Guildford is perfectly situated for some independent exploration of the surrounding area. Driving south for 30 minutes will bring you to the true natural charm of England and its newest National Park, the South Downs. Located to the west of London, Guildford is also close to the historic charm of Windsor, where you can learn more of the Queen’s other residence. If you need to blow off a little steam, head to the frightfully fun Chessington World of Adventures theme park.
Chessington World of Adventures - For a hair-raising fun day out, this theme park is located just 25 minutes away. Take the A3 northbound to the M25, then turn off Junction 9 and continue up the A243. Action-packed rides await thrill seekers of all ages.
Windsor - Guildford was the royal city of yesteryear, but these days you can visit the modern royal city of Windsor in just 45 minutes. Take the A3 northbound and turn anti-clockwise on the M25 until you see the turn-off at junction 13. Apart from Windsor’s gorgeous cobbled streets and the preserved Victorian atmosphere, you will also not want to miss a visit to Windsor Castle.
The South Downs - This is Britain’s newest National Park, and access from Guildford could not be more convenient. The A3 trunk road, which passes through Guildford, cuts through the park, allowing access to the northern perimeter in 30 minutes. Continue into the heart of the park and head to Midhurst, passing by the ‘Devil’s Punchbowl’ near Hindhead, a truly awesome driving experience.