With lush meadows, picturesque riverbanks and historic buildings, Godalming is a town that balances the rural idyll with modern Surrey life rather well.
The River Wey provides so much of the town’s vibrancy, cutting through the Lammas Lands flood meadows and offering walking opportunities that are good for the soul. The Lammas Lands are the remains of a medieval field system and separate the main town centre from the world-famous Charterhouse School across the river. While Charterhouse was founded in 1611, it was originally based in a Carthusian Monastery in London before moving out to its sprawling Hogwarts-esque country home in Godalming in 1872. Famous alumni – known as Old Carthusians – include the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams; the founder of the Scout movement, Robert-Baden Powell; and most of the prog-rock band Genesis.
Back at the riverbank, you will discover the picturesque memorial cloister to Jack Philips, a telegraphist on the infamous Titanic, who continued to send SOS messages until the ship met its doom. The cloister was designed by architect Hugh Thackeray Turner with original plantings by the go-to garden designer of her time, Gertrude Jekyll. It is a wonderful destination for a moment of quiet contemplation but, in normal times, the nearby bandstand is also a place for the local community to congregate for relaxed weekends of live music and picnics. The parish church of St Peter and St Paul looms over the surrounding riverside park, with its 14th-century spire rising to 147ft and providing the focal point for a watercolour pretty scene.
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