We had a gorgeous blue sky day for our 4 1/2 drive from Greenfield to Guildford, where we are spending another full month in one location. As in Greenfield, I have many family members around the Guildford area who we are excited to spend time with. Our apartment is only a 15 minute walk from Guildford High Street, the hub of the town, yet we back on to a lovely open green space and have enjoyed the peacefulness of the area. We are entertained daily by the wildlife, mostly squirrels and the occasional red fox dashing about the fields.
My “Greenfield cold” was not improving so 4 days after we arrived in Guildford we went to a walk in medical clinic. Thank you again to the NHS for their free service to visitors as I am again on antibiotics 🙁 this time to clear up early symptoms of bronchitis from this lingering cold. Being unwell while traveling has put a damper on our activities and our first two weeks here were very low key as we continued to rest and get healthy. Similar to our time up North, our time here is dedicated to family so once again I will focus the narrative on our travels around the area we are staying.
Guildford – our home base for this month, is a prosperous town in Surrey less than 30 miles outside of London, boasting a medieval castle from the 1400’s and a lovely cobbled high street fronted by buildings as old as the 1300’s. Jutting out over the high street is the Guildhall Clock erected in 1683, magnificently maintained and restored over the years.
Author Charles Dodgson, better know by his pen name Lewis Carroll, spent extensive time in Guildford and is buried in the grounds of the Mount Cemetery. During his time in Guildford he wrote Alice in Wonderland and there are a number of memorials to the book around the area. My favorites are the Alice Through The Looking Glass statue in the castle grounds and a statue of Alice and her sister watching the rabbit go down the hole along the River Wey. The River Wey was an important thoroughfare in the past connecting Guildford and Surrey to the rest of England. The river itself was impassable until in the 1600’s sections of the river were diverted to a system of canals and locks completing a navigable passage to the River Thames, improving the transportation of goods to and from London. Today there are extensive pathways and historical sites along the canals and river dedicated to the history of this important waterway.
Albury – The Silent Pool is a small spring fed lake in the North Downs and a favorite of visitors to the area. On one side of the pool is the Albury Organic Vineyard and on the other side is the Silent Pool Distillery, makers of bespoke handcrafted gin. We had a brief look around the distillery but weekend tours are very popular and fully booked until December. The vineyard is also closed this time of year, opening only on Sundays for wine tastings. Albury village itself has a number of ornately designed chimneys which adds to the charm of the area.
Shere – is a quintessential English village offering visitors charming buildings, a stream with ducks, a small museum, a tearoom, two pubs and a 12th century church. We enjoyed a pleasant walk along the quaint streets and through the ancient cemetery of St James church. This church dates back to 1190 and many of the gravestones are so weathered as to be unreadable.
Worthing – is a lovely seaside town just over an hour South of Guildford. Along the way we stopped in Arundel to have a wander about the historic town and view the Arundel Castle dating from the 11th century. It is a magnificent structure set high on the hill with sweeping views of the countryside.
Once in Worthing we enjoyed a long and leisurely walk along the seaside promenade, busy with families enjoying the sunny fall day. It was wonderful to see the ocean again and I have come to realize that my “happy place” is being by the sea.
From Worthing we drove along the coast to Brighton. It was an unattractive drive through miles of industrial area and Brighton was not much of a highlight either. The waterfront feels like an old and tacky tourist seaside resort in need of a facelift. The streets were crowded and the gaudy pier full of bright lights and amusement park rides catering to the 7.5 million tourists who come here every year. Brighton’s location has made it a popular day trip destination for Londoner’s with quirky shopping areas and a large music and arts scene. It is also known as the gay capital of the UK with a large LGBT population. Away from the seafront there are some nice shopping streets and numerous restaurants, bustling with the weekend holiday crowds. Overall, not our kind of place 🙁
We have enjoyed many walks around Guildford and the surrounding areas, and fun evenings with family. The past couple of weeks have gone quickly leaving us with just over two weeks remaining in the UK. Time to start planning for our upcoming flights, getting suitcases organized and disposing of the bits and pieces we acquired since June. We need to get down to 1 suitcase each weighing no more than 20kg to avoid exorbitant excess baggage charges on a couple of our upcoming flights. This means leaving one suitcase in Guildford with family to be couriered to us once we arrive in Spain. Lots to do…..