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Oh We Do Love To Be Beside The Seaside – In Guildford Too

Published on: 17 Aug, 2015
Updated on: 17 Aug, 2015

Guildford on Sea 1The Guildford-on-Sea event held by the Electric Theatre over the last weekend (August 14-16) proved to be a big success with local families and there are already calls for it to become an annual event. Around 800 visitors attended over the three day period.

The idea for the event came from a focus group of parents last year as a free and different attraction for Guildford and was developed and delivered by Experience Guildford and supported by Guildford Borough Council.

Charlotte Whitacker, project manager at Experience Guildford, said: “Bringing Guildford’s first urban beach to the town centre offered a great opportunity to show off our town and attract visitors from a larger catchment area.

Guildford on Sea 9

“We had a lovely day, brilliant fun for the whole family.”

“It was something different, something fun and definitely something that can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old.

“It also added to the ongoing events and marketing initiatives planned by the town centre’s Business Improvement District, designed to raise the profile of Guildford and drive footfall and trade to its shops, leisure and lifestyle businesses.

“And it helps us promote those less explored areas of the town centre and showcase the fantastic riverside location on which Guildford is positioned.”

Guildford on Sea 10

“I think the urban beach is an absolutely child friendly and fun; the sand was clean and soft, the free candy floss was tasty, the deck chairs were comfy…”

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographical area in which local businesses have voted to invest collectively to improve their environment. BIDs provide improved services as identified and requested by local businesses.

Guildford on Sea 7

Every busy beach needs a lifeguard and this one is on patrol in North Street to guide beach lovers in the right direction.

Experience Guildford is Guildford’s Business Improvement District run by general manager Amanda Masters.

The money for the event came from the BID levy, mandated in the business plan created by the town’s businesses to bring and support more events to the town.

Feedback from attendees was very positive. Charlotte said: “We gave out feedback cards and had a hundred back.”

Some of the comments were:

“We had a lovely day, brilliant fun for the whole family.”

“I think the urban beach is an absolutely child friendly and fun; the sand was clean and soft, the free candy floss was tasty, the deck chairs were comfy, the face painter was fabulous and I will definitely be coming here again!” Carmen age 11.

“Fantastic idea, working as a child carer its often difficult to find activities suited to all three children aged 3, 4 and 9 amused! This has been great. The children and myself have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.” Sarah and three minions.

And in answer to the question will it become an annual event, Charlotte said: “With such positive feedback we would say, provisionally, yes!”

“We are absolutely delighted. The feedback has been great with lots of people commenting on the relaxed atmosphere, live music courtesy of the ACM [Academy of Contemporary Music], face painting, candy floss and balloon making stilt walker which went down a storm with the children.

“A lot of families attended and are keen for us to repeat next year. All activities were free which made the day cost friendly towards the end of the summer holidays. So look out for the return of the urban beach next year!”

Guildford on Sea 11

The stilt walker, “went down a storm”.

Ward councillor Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) said: “In spite of the scepticism from some residents, the beach was a resounding success.

“The sun shone for the most part, and everyone appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, in fact residents have already contacted me to say they would like it to happen again and for longer.”

See also: Dragon Interview: Amanda Masters, General Manager of Experience Guildford

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Responses to Oh We Do Love To Be Beside The Seaside – In Guildford Too

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    August 17, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    I called in on Saturday and I was pleased to say it was a great success.

    There must have been at least 300 children building sand castles and eating candy floss.

    The last time I saw candy floss I had to give up my sweet coupons.

    I spoke to one of the organisers who said that they were going on to Wales this week.

    Experience Guildford must be congratulated on their enterprise. Perhaps GBC should listen to them more closely for trade is is the life blood of our town.

    I had reservations about the scheme and I was pleased to say that my misgivings were unfounded.

    I was wrong, but there, I am frequently wrong.

    I look forward to hearing more of this group’s future plans to bring life back into our town.

  2. Bill Stokoe Reply

    August 17, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Congratulations to BID [Experience Guildford].

    We in the Guildford Vision Group have argued right from the start for the town’s Masterplan – soon to be published – to return the riverside to the people, with a vibrant riverside scene and attractive public space.

    The beach showed how the space could be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. If the Masterplan doesn’t deliver wider pedestrianisation and isn’t as imaginative as the beach organisers, we will have lost a once in a generation opportunity.

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