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Guildford Historic Blue Plaques


Walking Trail

Guildford is an absolute treasure-trove of history and interest, and yet to walk around it on an average Saturday, it would be easy to lose sight of the rich history and heritage. At times it seems that Guildford is too modest, and having lived here nearly 25 years I have to confess that I was largely ignorant on the point.

Somebody, in their wisdom, has drawn the same conclusion as me – which is that Guildford should remember its past. And, to this end, located around central Guildford you’ll find a number of historical blue plaques that go some way to address this dearth of on-street information. Bravo to them!

I’ve found 29 blue plaques and 1 black one. Googling has revealed a further one – Castle Square – which I’ve been unable to find. It was at the site of Charcoal Barn on Tunsgate – which is where Ivy Asia Guildford is | was (delete as applicable).

I haven’t found a definitive list of these plaques, so I’ll add to this page as and when I find further ones.

I’m not a Guildford historian, and I’m not running a venture that makes any money through the Guildford content on my website. I’ve transcribed these as part of the work to build my Self-Guided Walking Trail of Guildford, and my free Guildford Treasure Hunt.

Given these are transcripts of publicly available work, you’re free to copy the contents. If you choose to do this, in recognition of the work that has gone into this, feel free to credit the source.

If you’re not familiar with Guildford, this map of Guildford Blue Plaques may help.

Blue plaque in Guildford for Quakers Acre

Walking trail

Roads: Where at all possible, the route crosses roads at marked junctions, and these should afford the protection that you can expect. When crossing any road, please be aware of all moving vehicles, including bicycles.

Private property: Certain aspects of this walk direct you to properties that are not publicly accessible. Please respect all privacy, rights of access, and boundaries.

Church yards: This walk passes by, or through, a small number of church yards. Please observe all signs, as well as affording dignity to those who have left us – by not walking amongst or over graves. No part of this walk takes you over graves.

Safety: Guildford is a remarkably safe town, and so I genuinely hope and believe that people should be more than able to navigate this entire route with confidence. That said, please always be aware of your surroundings – especially your footing – being mindful of sharp objects.

Opening times: No part of this walk requires payment of an entry/ admission fee – though there are opportunities along the way to explore in more detail by paying for admission. Many parts of the walk take you through parks that have opening times, that in the broadest of terms mirror daylight. Simply put, if you walk this route between 10am and 4pm, you should be fine.

Loos: There are public conveniences along the way, though with any town or city, the availability of loos is governed by the time of day, funding, and how they’ve been used or abused.

Accessibility: I’m not a wheelchair user, and I haven’t pushed a pram/ buggy in some long time. I believe, in good faith, that this walk is entirely accessible. You have my humble apologies if this is not the case.

The Route

The route starts on the lower stretch of Guildford High Street – by the statue of the Surrey Scholar (at the junction of the High Street and Quarry Street).

Directions from one plaque to the next are shown at the end of each page.

Let’s go!

Guildford – a short introduction to Guildford

Guildford Town Bridge – a centuries old crossing of the River Wey

Alice and the White Rabbit – Alice, her sister, and the white rabbit

The Wey and Godalming Navigations – a waterway of two halves.

The Town Mills – from milling to power production.

St Mary’s Church – the oldest surviving building in Guildford.

Quarry Street and Rosemary Alley – the old route to the South and a former ditch.

Guildford Museum – home to a world of treasures

Castle Arch – an ancient way to the castle.

Castle Cliffe Gardens – gardens with subterranean secrets.

Guildford Palace – a former royal destination of choice.

The Castle Keep – watching over Guildford since Norman times.

Alice through the looking glass – relating Lewis Carroll’s relationship with Guildford.

The Bowling Green – a tranquil pass-time for 200 years.

Henry Peak – a key visionary of Victorian Guildford.

Castle Square – a thriving part of central Guildford life.

Tunsgate Arch – former corn market and seat of justice.

Guildhall – The seat of power and decision-making for centuries.

Guildford House – Guildford’s art museum.

Holy Trinity Church – the final resting place of George Abbot.

The Three Pigeons – an atmospheric pub with a spooky reputation.

Abbot’s Hospital – a gift from George Abbot to his home town.

The Royal Grammar School – a seat of learning since 1586.

Somerset House – property of the 6th Duke of Somerset.

Allen House Gardens – a stylish and substantial residence.

Foxenden Quarry Deep Shelter – designed to shelter 1,000 people from war-time bombs.

Quaker’s Acre – an ancient burial ground.

Angel Hotel – the only remaining coaching inn.

Friary Square – once home to a tank and The Bear pub.

The Guildford Friary – 13th century friary, mansion, and now shopping centre.

This last plaque is listed on its own simply because of the location. Providing directions to anyone unfamiliar with the area is not easy, it’s just out of the town centre, and there’s a lot of road junctions to contend with.

Guildford MPD – home to Guildford’s railway locomotives