Godalming is set in Surrey’s most scenic countryside − and these words, written over a century ago, are still relevant today. Climb up Hascombe Hill, the site of an ancient hillfort, and you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking, far reaching views over green meadows and wooded hills.
If you’re not feeling energetic, a walk at Winkworth Arboretum is a wonderful experience, particularly at the time of year when the trees are clothed in their autumnal glory. There’s a wonderful sense of peace to be found at Godalming’s Busbridge Lakes − the woodland and lakes are teeming with wildlife, nature trails are waiting to be explored and the heritage garden, with its follies and grottos, is a delight. In the summer months, an afternoon spent in the rolling countryside and walled gardens of Loseley Park never seems long enough.
There’s so much to delight Godalming’s walkers and ramblers. The River Wey towpath links Weybridge with Godalming. The beautiful North Downs Way, stretching for over 150 miles between Farnham and Canterbury, passes through the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between Godalming and Guildford. If you’re walking the North Downs Way, it’s worth taking time out to appreciate the views from Box Hill in Tadworth or Polesden Lacey House at Great Bookham or to visit Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking.
If you’re shopping close to home, Farncombe has a selection of shops, including a couple of supermarkets, post office, a traditional butcher’s, florist and a branch of Boots The Chemist as well as hairdressing and beauty salons. In Godalming, you’ll find a delightful blend of independent shops and High Street names including branches of both Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.
It’s a pleasure to shop on the picturesque High Street, home to the landmark ‘Pepperpot’ building and family businesses as varied as Merlins The Jewellers and Cornmeter’s hardware store as well as familiar High Street names − WH Smith, Waterstones and Robert Dyas. If you’re buying clothes − stores include M&Co, Mistral Clothing, Catwalk, Hello Lovely for women and D7 Men’s Clothing.
In the town centre, there’s a good selection of opticians, several dental practices and The Mill Medical Practice on Catteshall Road. For an evening out, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The Thai Bite Restaurant, Piazza Firenze, Prezzo and The Red Lion are just a few of Godalming’s restaurants − and the barbecue restaurant at The White Hart in Witley is always a popular choice. If you’re entertaining at home and don’t have time to do everything yourself, there are ‘home-made’ frozen meals at COOK. Godalming and Milford host monthly farmers’ markets with plenty of fresh, local ‘farm to fork’ produce on offer.
The church of St Peter & St Paul, with its dramatic spire, has been at the heart of the community for over a thousand years − and you can uncover its history at Godalming Museum where you’ll also find local links to Gertrude Jekyll, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Winston Churchill. Godalming’s riverside park − The Phillips Memorial Park − and the Jack Phillips Memorial Garden, designed by Jekyll, are named after the telegraph operator from Godalming who died on the ill-fated Titanic.
Here, you can enjoy an active lifestyle or indulge your love of arts, crafts and cultural pursuits.
At the Charterhouse Club, set in the beautiful grounds of Charterhouse School, members can swim, take part in a fitness class, climb or play golf − although Charterhouse’s golf course is just one of many in the area. Broadwater Park, with its lovely lake, is located next to Godalming Leisure Centre and hosts an angling society, lawn tennis club and the local football, rugby and cricket clubs.
If you enjoy arts and crafts, a visit to Watts Gallery Artists’ Village in Compton is a must − there’s a full programme of talks and workshops on offer. Film buffs are able to view the latest releases at Godalming’s Borough Hall − or head to Guildford’s Odeon cinema complex. Godalming Theatre Group stages three main productions a year at Charterhouse’s Ben Travers Theatre − whilst many West End productions are showcased at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.
For a wide variety of events and live entertainment, there’s Guildford’s G Live complex. Guildford, with its modern cathedral, is the perfect place for retail therapy − and is only a few minutes away by rail. The Tunsgate Quarter which opened in 2018 has brought even more designer brands to the county town − along with restaurants and café-bars. The Cosy Club at Tunsgate is a great place for a lazy breakfast with friends − or for lunch or dinner, try the Ivy Castle View.
Serious sports enthusiasts will enjoy the facilities at The Surrey Sports Park just off the A3, where some of the 2012 Olympians trained − and there’s also ice-skating, swimming, fitness classes, bowling and athletics at Guildford’s Spectrum Centre.
Located within easy reach of London, the South Coast and close to the A3 which links the two, Godalming offers excellent road and rail links − and is within easy reach of Heathrow and Gatwick airports. From Hampton Manor, it’s only about 0.9 miles to Farncombe station and 1.1 miles to Godalming station, both on the London Waterloo to Portsmouth and Southsea line.
The A3 London-Portsmouth easy access to Godalming whether you’re travelling north from Portsmouth or south from London. Travelling north, Guildford is 6 miles away and London is approximately 38 miles. Travelling south, it’s around 42 miles to Chichester Harbour and 44 miles to Portsmouth Harbour.
To reach Hampton Manor from the A3, take the Hurtmore/Norney/Shackleford exit and turn left onto Hurtmore Road. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto Twycross Road before turning left onto Huxley Close.
Travelling by rail from Farncombe station, the journey to Guildford takes around 6 minutes, to London’s Clapham Junction approximately 39 minutes and to London Waterloo, around 46 minutes. Travelling south, it takes 41 minutes to reach Petersfield by rail and 74 minutes to get to Portsmouth and Southsea.
London Gatwick airport is located approximately 29 miles from Hampton Manor (via the A25) and 33 miles from Heathrow airport (via the M25 and A3).
Godalming’s network of bus routes includes the number 46 which runs from Guildford’s Friary Bus Station to the Borough in Farnham, passing through Compton, Binscombe, Elstead and Godalming. It stops on Hurtmore Road, near Charterhouse School and, from here, the journey to Guildford takes 35 minutes and to Farnham approximately 40 minutes.
“We love Godalming. There are beautiful walks and lots of greenery, the people seem friendly and the shops are nice – and there’s a Waitrose and a big Sainsbury’s.”