GSA Girls' Boarding & Day School 11–18

Priorsfield Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 2RH

Tel: +44 (0)1483 810551

You are here: Boarding > Local Area Information

Local Area Information

Godalming is situated in the county of Surrey, which has one of the lowest crime rates in England and some of the finest countryside in the South East. The town dates from Saxon times and was the first in the world to have electric street lighting in 1881.

Godalming has many timber-framed buildings and narrow cobbled streets, but is also packed full of shops and good restaurants. It is situated only 3 miles from the county town of Guildford, which offers all the amenities of a large town, including cinema, theatre, cathedral and castle.
London is only 40 minutes away by rail.

Godalming Museum

At Godalming you will find a friendly, welcoming museum in a listed medieval building. Oak beams in the timber frame have been dated to 1446, making this the oldest dated building in the town, apart from the stone built Parish Church. You can follow a trail to discover how the museum looked in medieval times and how it has changed over six centuries. Explore the history of Godalming and the surrounding villages through the displays, activities and computers. Uncover the story of a country town with a rich industrial past. Find out about the town's links to the Titanic, to Georgia, and the embarrassing episode of the rabbits!

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a former English royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in south west London. The palace is located 11.7 miles south west of Charing Cross and upstream of Central London on the River Thames. It is open to the public as a major tourist attraction. The palace's Home Park is the site of the annual Hampton Court Palace Festival and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Along with St. James's Palace, it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by Henry VIII. It is estimated that over 55 million people have visited Hampton Court Palace, and it is reserved as a well known landmark of South-East England.

Watts Gallery

Watts Gallery is an art gallery in the village of Compton in Surrey. It is dedicated to the work of Victorian era painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts. Watts moved to "Limnerslease" in Compton in 1891, and with his artist wife Mary Fraser-Tytler, planned a museum devoted to his work, which opened in April 1904, just before his death. A nearby Mortuary Chapel, designed by Mary Watts, houses his remains. The architect of the Gallery was Christopher Hatton Turnor, an admirer of Edwin Lutyens and C.F.A. Voysey, who designed the original Prior's Field buildings. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, the building contains top-lit galleries that allow Watts's work to be displayed under natural light. It is one of few galleries in the UK devoted to a single artist, and has recently been marketed as "a national gallery in the heart of a village". The present director is Perdita Hunt and the Curator is Mark Bills.

Loseley Park

Loseley Park is a historic manor house situated outside Guildford in Surrey, England near Compton. The estate was acquired by the direct ancestors of the current owners, the More-Molyneux, at the beginning of the 16th century. Loseley Park is the residence of the More-Molyneux family, and is open to the public. In the neighbouring fields, a herd of Jersey cattle grazes. Their milk is used to make local products of yogurt and ice cream. The 17th century tithe barn is available for weddings. Loseley appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Losele. It was held by Turald (Thorold) from Roger de Montgomery. Its domesday assets were: 2 hides. It had 4 ploughs, 5 acre of meadow. It rendered £3.

Winkworth Arboretum

Winkworth Arboretum is a National Trust-owned arboretum located between Godalming and Hascombe, Surrey, England. Winkworth Arboretum exhibits large collections of azalea, rhododendron, and holly on slopes leading down to ornamental lakes. Gertrude Jekyll, who designed the original Prior's Field gardens explored the woods in the early 20th century. The exotic trees were planted from 1938 by Wilfrid Fox.

RHS Garden, Wisley

The Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley in the English county of Surrey south of London, is one of the three most visited paid gardens in the United Kingdom alongside Kew Gardens and Alnwick Garden. It is one of four public gardens run by the Society, the others being Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor. Wisley was founded by Victorian businessman and RHS member George Ferguson Wilson, who purchased a 60 acre (243,000 m2) site in 1878. He established the "Oakwood Experimental Garden"on part of the site, where he attempted to "make difficult plants grow successfully". Wilson died in 1902 and Oakwood (which was also known as Glebe Farm) was purchased by Sir Thomas Hanbury, the creator of the celebrated garden La Mortola on the Italian Riviera. He gifted both sites to the RHS the following year. Since then Wisley has developed steadily and it is now is a large and diverse garden covering 240 acres (971,000 m2).

Devil's Punch Bowl

The Devil's Punch Bowl is a large natural amphitheatre and beauty spot near Hindhead, Surrey, in England, and is the source of many stories about the area. The London to Portsmouth road (the A3) climbs round its side. The land is now owned and maintained by the National Trust as part of the "Hindhead Commons & The Devil's Punch Bowl Cafe" property. Hindhead Youth Hostel is located inside the bowl. The bowl was once called Highcombe, after the Celtic term combe, meaning forested valley. Local legend has colourful theories as to its creation. According to one story, during the Middle Ages the Devil became so irritated by all the churches being built in Sussex that he decided to dig a channel from the English Channel, through the South Downs, and flood the area. As he began digging, he threw up huge lumps of earth, each of which became a local landmark - such as Chanctonbury Ring, Cissbury Ring, Mount Caburn and Rackham Hill. He got as far as the village of Poynings (an area known as the Devil's Dyke) when he was disturbed by a cock crowing (one version of the story claims that it was the prayers of St Dunstan that made all the local cocks crow earlier than usual). Assuming that dawn was about to break, he leapt into Surrey, creating the Devil's Punch Bowl where he landed.

Surrey History Centre

Surrey History Centre collects and rescues archives and printed materials relating to Surrey's past and present, so that they can tell the story of the county and its people to future generations. You can use these fascinating materials in our supervised search room where staff are on hand to assist your research. Visit us to discover more about your family, house, town, organisation or community.

All text used is from, with thanks.