With a population of 137,200, Guildford is the county town of Surrey and is situated in the centre of the county. The town offers first class entertainment, shopping, gardens and historic buildings, including its own castle, as well as being close to the Surrey Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty. With a full calendar of exciting events and festivals throughout the year, Guildford offers an excellent base for family life, as well as a vibrant and exciting business environment.
Guildford delivers a population of higher income consumers and a vibrant and growing retail environment. It is within commuting distance of London and well connected both nationally and internationally.
Guildford's annual retail spend is over £900m
Guildford came top of the 2013 Experian survey. It examined consumer spending levels, household income, demographics, and the penetration of online retailing in a report that looked at UK cities, excluding central London. It reported that Guildford’s annual retail spend was £900m, and had 6,878 households with annual incomes ranging between £100,000 and £150,000.
Retailers and coffee shops reported a vibrant trading environment in Guildford, while John Lewis has identified the town as a future location. Cool designer brands and luxury retailers sit alongside unique independent outlets, providing a shopping experience to suit every age group, style and budget. Retailers such as Hugo Boss, Gant, Armani Exchange, Ann Summers and Mappin & Webb populate the historic high street as well as department stores including House of Fraser and Debenhams.
In all, Guildford boasts over 100 places to eat and drink; three shopping centres, three theatres and a cinema as well as an excellent variety of sports and leisure facilities.
Guildford is a great place to do business. It has, in recent years, been ranked the most competitive city in the UK outside of London. Since the early 1990s Surrey’s economy has grown at above the national average rate putting it among the top performers in the UK, with high and stable employment rates and high skill levels.
Key commercial sectors in and around Guildford include the creative industries, ICT, advanced engineering, software and digital media. A high percentage of businesses in and around Guildford are knowledge-based, with a steady flow of graduates coming into the workforce from world-class universities, including the University of Surrey, which is situated on the outskirts of the town. The surrounding economy is dominated by financial, business and professional services, with the highest concentration of business units and employment in the South East and is home to some of the world’s leading companies in pharmaceuticals, life sciences and healthcare.
Surrey Research Park nurtures companies involved in the commercialisation of a wide range of sciences, including social science, technologies, health related activities and engineering. It is widely regarded as one of the best examples of science parks in the United Kingdom with a highly-proactive track record.
Guildford is a popular place to live and boasts a wealth of heritage, beautiful scenery and a lively theatre and arts culture. The town centre offers almost endless opportunities for shopping, entertainment, sporting facilities and recreation, while the surrounding countryside is among the most attractive in the country. Even though Guildford is close to London, Surrey is the most wooded county in Great Britain with famous beauty spots such as Box Hill and quality sporting venues including racecourses and golf clubs.
Surrey performs well in national quality of life surveys that look at health, employment and school performances. State education provision in the county is good, with Surrey students achieving above the national average of 5 A* - C grades including English and Maths at GCSE level, achieving 63% against the national average of 59%.
Guildford is well connected to London, other parts of the UK and international locations. Guildford is within easy reach of Heathrow and Gatwick Airports, and with excellent frequent rail links to London and the South Coast.
Guildford is served by M25, M3, M23 and A25 motorways and the A3.
Guildford station has 8 platforms and serves 8 million passengers a year, a number that has risen by 1.5 million over the last 10 years. It operates services to London Waterloo, London Victoria and London Bridge, Portsmouth Harbour, Reading and Gatwick Airport.
Guildford has a comprehensive bus service covering the main shopping areas, the University, rail station and leisure centre. Other routes serve the outlying towns and villages with frequent services.
London Heathrow and London Gatwick are two of the country’s largest airports and serve 380 domestic and global destinations. Gatwick can be reached by rail in 40 minutes direct from Guildford station and is 45 minutes away by car. Heathrow can be reached by rail and tube in 1 hour 25 minutes and 40 minutes by road.