The 7 best and the 5 worst things about being a teenager in Guildford

Guildford is the ideal commuter town, the perfect balance between urban and rural.

With London a 30-minute train journey away and the Surrey Hills on your doorstep, it’s a popular place for working or commuting adults to come to raise a family.

However, once those kids have grown into teenagers is it still such a great place to be?

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We have taken a look at what life is like for teenagers in Guildford and come up with both the very best and the very worst things about spending your teenage years in Surrey’s biggest town.

Take a look at our reasons below and let us know what you think in the comments section.

5 reasons being a teenager in Guildford was awful

The tragic nightlife

Your first night out was in the Casino night club, voted one of the top 10 most tragic clubs in the UK a few years ago by The Tab.

Despite this, The Tab also said it was one of the ‘best worst’ nightclubs in the UK. It seems quite impressive to feature on both lists.

If you do want to branch out, there’s also Popworld which brings in lots of hen dos or Bar Thirteen if you want to pretend you’re being swanky.

And we can’t forget the massive Spoons where you’re sure to bump into everyone you know, whether you want to or not.

Everyone you meet outside Guildford thinks you’re posh

Guildford is the capital of Surrey, so of course, when anyone hears you grew up in Guildford, they will immediately peg you as not just posh, but ‘Surrey’ posh – fancy cars, acres of land, and a mansion of a house. Even if you’re not.

When Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry brought up the fact she was homeless at seven years old and her family lived in the Bellfields council estate in Guildford, people were surprised Guildford even has a council estate.

You need a car to get most places outside of Guildford

Public transport links aren’t always great from Guildford and are quite expensive for young people. Most kids rely on their parents to get them around outside their local area until they can take their driving test at 17.

Those fortunate enough to be put on the insurance of their parent’s cars or able to afford their own car and insurance can then have more freedom.

Everything is SO expensive

Guildford is a great place to live if you’re an adult with a job who wants to be a commuter distance from London but also in a more rural area for raising kids.

It’s also a great place if you’re a young child, as it’s relatively safe and all the green spaces are a great place to play. But, for teenagers, this means everything in Guildford is geared to those with money, and everything from buses to drinks in bars are really expensive.

Merrow Downs, Guildford
(Image: Google Maps)

No one really appreciated all the green space nearby

This is changing with the pandemic, with everyone suddenly discovering that green spaces are a lifeline during lockdowns.

But, normally teenagers in Guildford don’t use much of the green spaces like the Merrow Downs, Stoke Park, and the River Wey, and when they do they often just leave their rubbish behind.

7 reasons being a teenager in Guildford was amazing

Live gigs at the Boileroom

Every now and then a band you saw at 11am at Reading Festival and thought were pretty decent comes to the Boileroom.

Or one of your mates happens to be in a band playing there and you all go to support, making up pretty much the entire audience.

As small venues go, it has seen some pretty big names through its doors, including Wolf Alice, Foals, First Aid Kit, The 1979, Declan McKenna, and You Me At Six.

It’s a dark and intimate space which feels much bigger when you’re in there. Plus, any live music is cool, especially when you don’t have to ensure you catch the last train home from London.

Hanging out at Guildford Lido in the summer

Going to the Guildford Lido was a great way to hang out with friends, top up your tan, and show off to your crush with backflips into the pool (when the lifeguards weren’t looking of course).

Guildford Lido
(Image: Guildford Borough Council)

The ice skating discos at The Spectrum were actually pretty fun

No one ever really wanted to admit it but the ice discos at The Spectrum were a lot of fun. Hanging out with your friends with pop music blaring while trying to look cool and not fall on your bottom had a strange attraction to it.

If you happened to actually be decent at skating this was the perfect opportunity to show off.

AirHop was great too

A relatively recent arrival to Guildford, AirHop was another great place to go with your friends to try something different.

You had decent places for a first date

If you grew up in Guildford, your first date was probably at a café chain like Café Nero or watching a movie at the cinema.

If things went well you’d kiss in a side street or head to the Castle grounds which always seemed to be full of couples sitting on benches. All very romantic.

There were lots of green spaces to hang out

Tree-lined avenue between Newlands Corner and Merrow Downs
Tree-lined avenue between Newlands Corner and Merrow Downs
(Image: Nigel Stewart)

Stoke Park, the Merrow Downs, Newlands Corner… Guildford and its surrounding villages have lots of green spaces to visit. They are great places to hang out during the summer evenings.

Mountain biking is also pretty popular, especially on the Downs, and you would occasionally go on a dog walk with a friend or two.

Bars like Pews and Five & Lime are the place to be

Once you were old enough to drink and had completed your baptism into Surrey nightlife with your first visit to Casino and Popworld, you could upgrade to bars like Pews and Five & Lime.

Much classier affairs, these bars always had a good crowd in them. Drinks might not be very affordable, but for that one big night out it was worth it.

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