Fringe Box



Guildford – A Top Ten Place to Live

Published on: 24 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 25 Mar, 2023

The Guildhall, Guildford High Street

Guildford has been judged to be one of the top ten best places to live in the South East according to the annual Sunday Times “Best Places to Live Guide”.

It achieved its ranking because of its “combination of parks, access to proper countryside, a choice of rail routes and a high-performing high street that make Guildford the obvious first choice for Surrey commuters – attractions that have grown in importance as more commuters are WFH [working from home]. Its high-achieving schools and theatre and live music venues add to the appeal.”

Howard Smith with his children

Howard Smith, Guildford Labour vice-chair commented: “Guildford is a great place to live, and having been born and brought up here, I certainly love it.

“But it doesn’t work for everybody. It’s expensive to rent and almost impossible to buy for a first-time buyer.

“Local people have to move away to find affordable accommodation, so we desperately need more social housing, in fact, more housing of all types.

“It would also be nice to see its history and culture celebrated in the way it deserves, with more events and markets to make it a vibrant place for families to visit as well as live.

Much needs to be done, and we need a far more dynamic local council to keep Guildford a great place to live.”

Amanda Mullarkey

Amanda Mullarkey chair of the Guildford Residents Association said: Guildford is a great place!  Too many people with agendas talk it down!

Real plus points are easy access to amazing countryside and views, our vibrant character High Street, places to eat and drink, an interesting mix of venues, and strong educational facilities.

It also has a vibrant community with many people involved in a rich range of activities.  We just need to make sure we don’t spoil Guildford with over development and congestion!

Alistair Smith

And Alistair Smith chair of the Guildford Society added: “The survey is correct; Guildford is one of the best places to live.  Continued effort is needed to ensure the town and surroundings continue to thrive as a unique place, not just seen as a commuter dormitory town. 

We need a vision: to attract and support good employment opportunities, rectify our infrastructure deficiencies, and provide well-designed affordable housing.”

Amanda Masters

Amanda Masters the CEO of Experience Guildford was the most enthusiastic. She said: “Guildford is a stunning place to live, work and play. Of course we have been voted in the top ten! The area is full of natural beauty and a rich heritage that can be found around every corner. With its diverse culture, historic High Street, vibrant nightlife, excellent transport links and top-notch education system, Guildford has it all.”

What are your views? Does Guildford deserve its top-ten South East ranking? Please leave a comment using the Leave a Reply Feature below.

Other winners All photos below from Wikipedia.

Wadhurst High Street, East Sussex

Wadhurst in East Sussex was named the overall national winner of Best Places to Live. It was praised by judges for its “good schools, convenient transport connections, an amazingly well-stocked high street and stunning scenery”. They said that it offers “pretty much everything needed for modern life in miniature”.


The South East overall winner was Chichester, West Sussex which according to the judges had both class and a heart. They said:”The beautiful historic town has welcomed the highest number of Ukrainian refugees per head in the country.

“It has good schools and transport links but it’s the easy access to both the South Downs and Chichester Harbour plus a healthy dose of culture from the Festival Theatre and Pallant Gallery that elevate it far above the south coast sprawl.”

And the others in the South East to make the top ten are:

New Arlesford

Alresford, Hampshire Pretty and peaceful, Alresford has good state schools and a nice selection of independent shops and cafes.

It may feel out of the way, but Winchester is only a short drive away, and there’s always something going on in the town, with sports clubs for all ages, a community choir and theatre, a horticultural society and two arts societies.

Seven Dials, Brighton

Brighton and Hove: Seven Dials There’s a good reason why the hilltop neighbourhood of Seven Dials is regularly namechecked as Brighton’s coolest enclave. It has a genuine village-feel, with its beautifully preserved Victorian terraced houses and villas, independent shops and views of the South Downs.

With Preston Park on the doorstep, and the station and seafront a short walk away, it’s easily the best place to enjoy Brighton’s bewitching mix of grit and glamour.


Folkestone, Kent Folkestone is fun. With entertaining public art at every turn  and a colourful Creative Quarter filled with quirky shops and artist’s studios, it’s a fine example of the gaiety that a spot of well-aimed regeneration can bring.

More practical considerations include outstanding schools and trains that take less than an hour to reach London.


Lindfield, West Sussex With its duck pond, rose-covered historic houses and a pretty common full of dog walkers, Lindfield looks like the perfect English village.

Its excellent pubs, coffee shops and a high street with a baker, greengrocer, butcher and classy interiors shops and boutiques back that up in style.

St Peter in The East Church, East Oxford

(East) Oxford The terrible traffic and crippling house prices can be off-putting, but Oxford’s renowned museums, excellent theatres, ravishing urban landscape cast an irresistible spell.

We think you can have the best of both worlds if you travel on two legs or two wheels and set your sights on the east of the city – especially Cowley Road, which is Oxford’s most multicultural and vibrant street and home to the county’s largest group of indie businesses.

Reading, Berkshire The force is with Reading – and not just because of the latest Star Wars spin-off that’s being filmed at the new Shinfield Studios.

It’s the combination of great job prospects and transport links with relatively affordable property prices that make the town a hard-to-beat option for millennials and Gen Z.  The leisure options are good, too, from the Biscuit Factory cinema to the restored Thames Lido.


Reigate, Surrey Part time commuters are spoilt for choice in the South East, but a combination of excellent schools, green space, an independent cinema, useful high street and an impressively global food scene make this Surrey market town stand out.


Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire It may no longer have a station of its own, but the ancient capital of southern England is definitely the king of the commuter villages.

You can be in central London in an hour, but the surroundings couldn’t feel more rural, and the community couldn’t be more friendly, with volunteers getting involved in everything from restoring the disused station to running the community library.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *