Surrey may only have one cathedral, and it may not have as much history as those in places like Wells, Salisbury and Winchester – but it’s a remarkable piece of architecture in a stunning location atop Stag Hill. Whether you want to worship at a service or just to witness the splendour of the building and its surroundings, it is one of the county’s most unforgettable places to visit.
Work on the cathedral began in 1936 but was delayed by the Second World War, and it was eventually consecrated in 1961. In the final decade of its construction, more than 200,000 people donated money in exchange for the chance to sign one of the building’s bricks – including both the Queen and Prince Philip, whose bricks are now on public display inside.
Inspired by several cathedrals in continental Europe, the building was designed by architect Sir Edward Maufe in a Gothic Revival style, and is said to have influenced the subsequent design of Auckland Cathedral in New Zealand. The main tower is 160 ft (49 metres) high, and contains 12 bells.
Inside, the vaulted ceilings, limestone pillars and marble floors make Guildford Cathedral a breath-taking place to experience. If you’re planning a visit, here is everything you need to know to make the most of your trip…
What is there to do at Guildford Cathedral?
Of course, first and foremost the cathedral is a working church, with services throughout the week. On Sundays, Holy Communion is at 8am, with Cathedral Eucharist at 9:45am and Choral Evensong at 6pm. On all other days of the week you can attend prayers and Holy Communion in the morning, and there are often services in the evenings too. Times can differ from the Sunday services, so it’s best to check the cathedral website for specific times.
Aside from during services, the whole cathedral is open to visitors from 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Saturday (opening an hour earlier on Tuesdays), and from 1:30pm to 3:30pm on Sundays. You can book guided tours on selected dates via the website, including tours of the tower. The cathedral also hosts events including art exhibitions, concerts and a series of events for families.
The Seasons Cafe at the cathedral is open seven days a week, from 9am to 3pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 12 noon on Sundays, serving coffees, teas and snacks. There is also a souvenir shop open from 9.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Saturday.
How do I get to Guildford Cathedral?
The cathedral’s address is Stag Hill, Guildford, GU2 7UP. It’s easily accessible from the A3 – just take the exit signed to Cathedral and University. There is ample parking on-site, and it’s free for up to two hours (or longer if you make a purchase in the cafe or shop). There is also a cycle rack for anyone wishing to travel by bicycle.
The nearest train station is Guildford. From there it is a 10-minute uphill walk to the cathedral: take the Guildford Park Road exit out of the station, turn right onto Guildford Park Road, then at Ridgemount turn right and follow the pedestrian signs for the Cathedral.
There is not a public bus route that comes up to the cathedral, but several routes stop at the bottom of Stag Hill, leaving a five-minute uphill walk to complete the journey. Routes 3, 27 and 37 go through the adjacent University of Surrey campus, while routes 4 and 5 (serving the bus and rail stations) go along Madrid Road to the bottom of Cathedral Approach.