Alice is a normal young girl with a normal sort of life until she is reading a normal book on a sunny afternoon by the river and follows a white rabbit down a rabbit-hole and tumbles headfirst into Wonderland. Since a young age, I’ve always been taken by this charming world jam-packed with fantastic pictures and interestingly bizarre conversations, mad tea parties, croquet matches, riddles, races and a full host of peculiar characters. Now while you may not be able to join Alice as she journeys through the wonderland where nothing is quite as it seems, it shouldn’t stop you from taking a trip down to Guildford, Surrey where you can relive some bits of the book and indulge on this magical trail. This Alice in Wonderland Trail is sure to leave Lewis Carroll fans excited and content. Click here other Guildford trails and walks. And now… here’s how to start  this one:

If you make your way from Guildford Railway station this would be your first stop after 9mins of walking and before heading into town: The Statue of Alice with her sister watching the rabbit go down the hole is in Millmead by the River Wey and opposite Debenhams. This statue was created by local artist Edwin Russell in 1984 and is the first inkling of the relationship between Guildford and Lewis Carroll. 

Across the river, a 6 mins walk will take you to the Guildford Museum housed in beautiful, historic buildings next to the Castle Grounds. The exhibitions are free to visit and include a variety of changing exhibitions, plus a permanent collection of memorabilia of Lewis Carroll and Alice. Including but not limited to first book covers, ad’s, photographs of casts from the play etc. Also, a great place to pick some themed postcards and stationery up.

Everything from here on is a stone throw away from each other.

Wander through the Guildford Palace. The palace gardens make it is easy to imagine the Red Queen darting to and fro, the Red King snoring under a tree, and Humpty Dumpty trying to keep his balance on the remaining bits of castle walls. The lawns make a beautiful place to have a picnic or to enjoy a leisurely stroll. Lewis Carroll finished Through the Looking Glass during his 1871 visit to Guildford. One of the most touching memorials is the modern sculpture by Jeanne Argent. Erected in 1990, Alice Through The Looking-Glass is on the eastern side of castle gardens and near the back garden of the Chestnuts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chestnuts on Castle Hill remains intact and its memorial plaque sports figures from Alice. Although Carroll lived in Oxford, he spent Christmases, holidays and many weekends with his sisters in this home, in Guildford. Currently in private ownership, so one cannot go in, but still worth a glimpse from the outside.

Make a pit stop and grab a drink in this quaint lil’ pub filled with graffiti of its namesake The March Hare, a character most famous for appearing in the tea party scene in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. “The March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is May it won’t be raving mad – at least not so mad as it was in March.”

Right next to The March Hare you will find The Mad Hatter, a traditional hat shop that turns heads. They make an amazing range of fascinators and hats from a wide selection of different designers, both British and international. If you fancy meeting the mad hatter you better go in and find one that fits!

Much of the Guildford that Carroll knew and loved survives. Make your way to St Mary’s Church in the town centre. The author, whose real name was the Rev Charles Lutwidge Dodgson preached here. St Mary’s is the oldest church in Guildford. The tower dates from around 1050 AD.

It was on his Christmas visit to Guildford in 1897 that Carroll caught influenza, and died. After a funeral service at St Mary’s, he was buried in the new cemetery on The Mount, which can be reached after a 10 min tough uphill climb out of town. It’s off course and better reached by car or bus, to pay homage to this great writer.

But if you’d rather end your day trail on a more pleasant note, feel free to walk through town and discover all the other lil’ gems of Guildford High-street. My favourites spots are:

If you’re arriving by car: Park at the Castle Car Park and it will be easier to do this walk starting from the bottom of this list.

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

Enjoy your walk!

22 thoughts on “Alice in wonderland trail in Guildford.

  1. Sonia Cave says:

    This looks like an amazing route to walk and something to keep little minds entertained along the way!

  2. Helen says:

    Oh this is so much fun! My daughter would love following the trail around 🙂

  3. Victoria says:

    This looks like a lot of fun! I’ll have to recommend this to my cousin for their two little kids! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Kira says:

    I am obsessed with Alice in wonderland . This is definitely something I would do and bring the children too , they would love it x

  5. Kara says:

    I have not visited Guildford for years but you have made me want to. I didn’t know the trail was there

  6. That sounds like a fascinating walk. I don’t know much about Lewis Carroll but am looking forward to reading the books with my son. And Guildford Palace looks wonderful!

  7. I’ve never been to Guildford but very tempted to go just for this as it looks so much fun for the family and I do love Alice in wonderland.

  8. This sounds like an interesting trail. I had no idea he had a connection to the area x

  9. I would love to walk around this palace garden. Looks beautiful.

  10. Helen Wills says:

    What a fantastic way to encourage a walk through a city. Sometimes it’s hard to keep children interested on a walk but this is brilliant.

  11. Laura Dove says:

    Oh how lovely! We love this kind of trail, it’s great to get out and explore!

  12. Anosa says:

    I would love to visit Guildford one day and walk the Alice in wonderland trail as it seems like a lot of fun

  13. Stephanie says:

    What a lovely walk, so much to do and see. Thanks for sharing

  14. scots2travel says:

    The Alice Through the Looking Glass statue is really quite eery. I can’t take my eyes off it. So much to see and do.

  15. What a lovely sounding trail! Will have to bookmark this for whenever we’re in the area.

  16. Nadia says:

    This looks like an amazing place! Great place for any Wonderland fans.

  17. Debbie says:

    Oh my daughter in law is Alice obsessed so would love this!

  18. Lorna says:

    My Isla would love this. Always looking for close-ish long weekend ideas. Adding this to the list!

  19. Grant R says:

    How brilliant to be able to see things linked to the story like that! Looks a little magical 🙂

  20. Taty says:

    What a post! Im passionate with this kind of trips and this will be absolutely my next destination!

  21. I really love the idea of taking this walk. It’s certainly something I would do with my daughters to help bring the story to life

  22. arjun singh says:

    It is a really very good walk.
    Thanks for sharing!

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