Godalming is a charming town set in delightful Surrey countryside between the valleys of the Wey and Ock rivers, five miles upstream from the county town of Guildford. Godalming town centre is surrounded by Frith Hill and the attractive Charterhouse area to the north and Holloway Hill with its popular residential area of Busbridge and Munstead to the south.
There are excellent public and private transport links to London and the South Coast, and both Godalming and the adjoining village of Farncombe have mainline stations with a 45 minute rail link to London Waterloo. The A3 trunk road between London and Portsmouth is a few minutes drive away with access onto the M25 and the international airports of Heathrow and Gatwick which are both within one hour's drive.
The settlement of Godalming was originally founded by the Saxon leader, Godhelm, and was first recorded in the will of King Alfred the Great who died in 899AD. Almost two hundred years later, the entry for Godalming in the Domesday Book described a thriving rural community and over the following centuries the village became a busy market centre with its own annual fair trading mainly in wool and textiles. In the 18th Century it developed as an important staging post along the main London route to Portsmouth and the coaching inns still line the High Street today. Godalming also has the proud boast of being the world's first town to provide street lighting using a public electricity supply.
Today, Godalming, with its population of 22,000, has an interesting mix of architecture with its 16th Century beamed cottages, Victorian and Edwardian character houses, the modern and popular Bargate Wood development, and some prestigious recently-built flats and apartments. Many older buildings and walls are constructed with the locally quarried Bargate sandstone, including the parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul and the gothic towers of Charterhouse public school sited on the northern hill above the town. There are many scenic walks in the surrounding hills and countryside including the local National Trust
sites of Winkworth Arboretum, Hydon's Ball and Witley Common.
There are several well-known historical characters associated with Godalming. Architect Edwin Lutyens and gardener & craftswoman Gertrude Jekyll have left a legacy of beautiful rural architecture and landscaped gardens to the south of the town, while the Phillips memorial cloisters commemorate Jack Phillips, the wireless operator on the ill-fated Titanic, who was born locally in Farncombe. Local politician James Oglethorpe became the first governor of Georgia in America, after sailing west in 1732 to establish a new colony for people who suffered religious persecution.
This long history of settlement and architectural development, combined with the natural geography of river valleys and surrounding hills has made Godalming a very attractive and interesting place in which to live, work and visit.
For more information about Godalming, click on www.godalming-tc.gov.uk