Things to do in Surrey for students

Surrey ISC students enjoying soft drinks in a pub

Guildford, located in the county of Surrey, is a vibrant town with a bustling shopping and food culture. Situated just outside of London, an exciting day trip or weekend in the UK’s capital is just 34 minutes away by train.

Home to the University of Surrey, Guildford is a student-friendly city that is exciting to live in. With many restaurants, live performance venues and fun activities such as swimming and skiing, there are so many things that make student life in Guildford enjoyable.  

Things to do in Guildford


The historic town of Guildford is home to one of the most attractive high streets in the UK. Here you will find designer brands, luxury retailers and independent shops. When shopping in Guildford, there is something for everyone no matter their age, interests, and budget. 

The town’s biggest shopping area is North Street, which is home to The Friary shopping centre. The centre offers three floors of shops with a range of snacks and meals available from the top floor food court. 

Alongside major high street names, North Street is also home to a street market every Friday and Saturday. With over 30 stalls selling a variety of products, from fresh fruit and vegetables, giftware and flowers, the traditional market is an exciting place to shop.

If you are looking for a more unique shopping experience, then The Lanes is the retail location for you. A series of medieval side streets, The Lanes offers shoppers something special with a range of intriguing independent stores to browse.


There are plenty of places to choose from when wanting to go out for a meal or grab a coffee – Guildford restaurants are not in short supply. With over 100 establishments in town, including a large variety of international restaurants, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding high-quality food in Guildford.

Café pavement culture is big in Guildford. Coffee shops and restaurants spill onto the streets with outdoor seating. The large amount of pavement side eateries makes Guildford food culture a vibrant and welcoming experience. 

Parks and gardens

There are many parks in Guildford that offer stunning views. One of which is Stoke Park, an award-winning park spanning over 66 acres. Leisurely stroll through its beautiful greenery or have a game of mini golf with friends. There are many things to do during a trip here as there is also a free to use paddling pool and skate park.

If visiting estates from the Renaissance period is of interest to you then a trip to Loseley Park and House is a must. One of the most beautiful Guildford gardens, the park and house are steeped in a rich history dating back more than 500 years. You will need to pay for admission to both the gardens and house, but a guided tour filled with interesting history makes the fee more than worth it. 


With multiple universities and a diverse population, the town offers everything from large music venues, theatres, art galleries and festivals. 

Live music is one of the biggest entertainment sources in Guildford. The town has plenty of music venues, varying in size, which play host to local bands, as well as top names in the music industry and musicians of every genre. There is something for everyone in Guildford’s live music scene.

If comedy is more your thing, then many pubs and venues offer live stand-up comedy nights on a regular basis. These venues include the Electric Theatre, the Boileroom and the G Live, all of which support local acts and bigger names in the comedy industry. 

Guildford is home to many festivals throughout the year including food, gaming, literature and music. Festivals in Guildford cater to the interests of all. 

Things to do around Guildford 

Places to visit in Surrey

Explore local culture by visiting Watts Art Gallery, an Edwardian gallery featuring a permanent collection of works by Victorian painter G.F Watts. It is the only gallery in the UK dedicated to just one artist. 

The Watts Chapel, shop, grounds and tea shop are free to visit. If you want to head inside the gallery, students can get in for a small admission fee.

Guildford castle is a staple landmark which makes for a great day out. Thought to have been built by William the Conqueror after the 1066 invasion of England, its beautifully preserved grounds are nestled in the heart of the town centre.

You can freely explore the grounds or choose to venture inside the keep for a very small fee. The Castle keep is open to the public April-September every year.

If you are looking to explore outside of Guildford, Painshill park is an excellent place to start. Situated in Cobham, the stunning park is easily accessible by national rail services and car. 

Visiting Painshill park will be a day trip to remember. The wonderful views and landscapes steeped in history make for a fun and fulfilling experience. 

The Electric Theatre is a vibrant venue in the town centre of Guildford. It’s exciting events, from musicals, comedy and workshops make for a great night out. No matter what you are interested in, The Electric Theatre has it all. 

Take a walk on the wild side with the British Wildlife Centre. In the heart of East Surrey’s countryside, it is the best place to learn about the wonderful wildlife in the UK. 

Have a go at wildlife photography with the centre’s photography days or find out more about interesting animals with the keeper presentations. The British Wildlife Centre is one of the best places to visit in Surrey.

Places to visit in London

London, the UK’s capital city, is easily accessible from Guildford in just over half an hour via train from the station available in the centre of town.  If you are looking for places to explore beyond Guildford, London is a great place to start.

Want to learn more about history? The Natural History Museum, located in South Kensington, is the best place to go. With more than 80 million objects spanning multiple exciting exhibits, the Natural History Museum is one of the best places to visit in London.

The Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden that boasts a vibrant social space and a 360-degree view of the city’s beautiful skyline. Enjoy lush greenery, expertly landscaped gardens, an open-air terrace and observation decks at this free admission attraction.  

Opened in 1737, Greenwich market is one of the oldest markets in London and is a great place to visit. There are many intriguing items across 100 unique stalls expertly crafted by local sellers.

If an exciting shopping experience in a vibrant setting is something you are interested in, then visiting Camden is a must. The area is filled with markets, vintage stores, authentic street food and more. Camden is an area brimming with life and culture.

Buckingham Palace is the royal residence and administrative headquarters of the UK’s monarch and is one of the most visited landmarks in the city by tourists. During the summer months you can tour the interior and walk through the beautiful palace gardens.

Hyde Park is one of the UK’s most famous parks. Connected to Kensington Gardens, the park is largest in central London and boasts a landscaped filled with wildlife and stunning views of the city.


How close is Guildford to London? 

London is accessible from Guildford in just 34 minutes by train, meaning the excitement of the UK’s capital is never far away. The journey is easily made by car or bus too. 

What is Guildford famous for? 

Guildford is home to the University of Surrey, a high-ranking university known worldwide for its quality of teaching. 

It is also famous for Guildford Castle, built by William the Conqueror in 1066. The beautifully preserved gardens and keep are home to some of Guildford’s richest history.

What are the best outdoor activities in Guildford? 

Guildford is home to many exciting outdoor activities including national parks, historical estates and Guildford Castle – all fun ways to further explore the history of the town.