Guildford Castle


Many eyes across the globe were turned towards our little island this weekend as we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We may not be a very big nation geographically, or even in terms of power these days, but no one can deny we have a rich and long history. Among the signs of that history are the many castles that still stand right across the country. I do love a good castle so I thought I might do an occasional series about them.


Guildford Castle is the closest castle to where I live. It was originally a Norman castle, built shortly after the conquest in 1066. Wooden defences were replaced with stone ones during the 12th century. As the only royal castle in Surrey, Guildford Castle became the centre for the county’s administration and justice and the keep, photographed here, housed the county gaol. However, after Henry III’s death in 1272, the castle fell into decline. In 1885, the ruins were bought by Guildford Borough Council. The keep has been renovated and now contains an interesting display about its history. The grounds are now a lovely park, full of beautiful flowers.


20 thoughts on “Guildford Castle

  1. I’m a big fan of castles too – not been to Guildford but it looks beautiful there. I live not far from Warwick Castle which is a great building but unfortunately it’s been turned into something of a theme park (owned by Madame Tussauds). I actually prefer Kenilworth (not far from it), a ruin but much more atmospheric.

  2. Your post on Guildfor Castle brought back beautiful memories of spending a day in Guildford! The cosy gardens surrounding the castle, and the view of the town from the top of the castle were mesmerising, indeed. Also, loved the train ride to Guildford!

  3. England does have some beautiful castles. You’ve captured some really enchanting shots of Guildford’s castle.

    I do wonder, in 100+ years time, will people look back at the likes of The Shard or The Gherkin in the same light that we look at castles and cathedrals?

  4. Looks like a great place to visit and to photograph – yes, you’re lucky indeed; we don’t have many castles where I’m from, just a lot of McMansions. One of my favourite songs by a British musical hero, Robyn Hitchcock, is called ‘No, I Don’t Remember Guildford’. I assume it’s the same place. Don’t think he mentions a castle, but a couple of other landmarks (?): “No, I don’t remember Guildford/What, was there something/Jog my memory/Not the cathedral or the pool/If there was a pool…” He also mentions a Jenner Road. One day I’ll do a pilgrimage!

    • I don’t know that song. I’m going to google it now. But the lyrics sound right for the Guildford I know which does have a (very ugly) cathedral and a swimming pool! There is also a Jenner Road, fairly central, near the top of the High Street.

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  6. This is my favourite shot of Guildford Castle – your chosen angle and those wooden fences are perfect! Never been but must call-in there next time Iโ€™m close-by now Iโ€™ve seen your shot. I live near Corfe Castle, which has a similarly-shaped keep.

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