Today I’m gonna tell you a bit about Christmas here in Guildford. At Surrey, we have a 3 week Christmas break that starts after Week 11 (which is the last week when proper teaching happens). The only inconvenient thing about that is the fact that when you come back at the end of the 3 weeks, you only have 1 week before exams begin (exams happen in weeks 13 and 14 in semester 1) which means you will probably have to do some revision during the holidays. The majority of students go back home during this break so the university becomes rather quiet. I always stay in Guildford, mostly because I always have quite a bit of revision to do (engineering is a pretty demanding thing to study) but I do relax and take thing slow.
Guildford, and the UK in general, become quite festive and busy in the run-up to Christmas. Town centres are decorated and most houses are too. Going into town, especially after dark, is quite a spectable. A few days ago I went to town and found a large farmer’s market on the high street. They were selling everything you could think of: all types of food including meat, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, breads, olives, honey, wines, chocolate and much more. They were also selling arts and crafts such as vases. There was live music and even farm animals on display. It was crowded and very festive. Here are a couple of pictures of the animals. I know they’re not very clear but you can see a sheep and what I believe is a couple of mules or donkeys.
It’s always nice to go for a walk in Christmas time. It’s very calm and Guildford is a great place for walking, even more so if you like nature like me. We’ve got a river passing through the entire town, and you can practically walk all through Guildford by the riverside, which is a great thing to do in spring/summertime.
Stoke Park is one of the biggest in Guildford and has some awesome views. You can see the magnificent cathedral from it. That building in the distance with the tower protruding from the middle is the cathedral. It’s no more than a 30-minute walk from Stoke Park to the cathedral even though it seems like it’s at the end of the world in the picture.
There’s also a nearby village, within walking distance, called Shalford which is almost all greenery. I even found out that you could cycle all the way from there down to the sea (a 60 km journey) on scenic routes without traffic. I’m hoping to do that in the spring since I really like cycling. In 2013, if you’d believe it, there was widespread flooding in the UK and that whole area you see below was completely submerged. It was really a sight to behold. I was just walking around exploring and I came across the place for the first time and found it all submerged. I didn’t even know what it looked like normally until a few days ago when I came across it again.
And on the outskirts of Guildford (which is actually just beyond Manor Park, the university’s off-campus accommodation) you can even find farms with horses.
So I guess you could say like nature and walking, and peace and quiet, Guildford in Christmas time is practically heaven, as long as the weather is good. In all honesty, it often isn’t but lucky for me, it is this year and I sure have been enjoying it.