Guildford named the UK's tourist destination of the year

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A general view of Guildford railway station


Guildford has been named UK's tourist destination of the year is for 2014. Known throughout the world as the spiritual and cultural centre of the UK, with delights from the Friary Centre mall to the thrills of the cinema multiplex, it's the jewel in the crown of the UK tourism industry... apparently.

Yes, the Surrey town of Guildford has been named the tourist destination of the year by the Tourist Network Awards. The town sees millions of day-trippers every year, and the network put the number of visits together with the quality of the attractions and the service provided by people working in tourist attractions.

On balance it decided that Guildford was more than a match for places like Stratford-upon-Avon, London, Windsor and Bath.

But why?

In fairness, beyond the expensive parking, the horrible one-way system, the horrors of the A3, and the endless overpriced commuter housing, there are enough attractions to keep you busy for the weekend.

The shopping centre is enormous, and is a major reason why many people cram themselves into the town centre every weekend. The Friary Centre is so large that you can hire cars to push your kids round in to stop them moaning.

Aside from shopping, there's Guildford cathedral (a modern cathedral where scenes were filmed for The Omen), Loseley House, Clandon Park, Hatchlands Park, Spike Heritage centre, the castle (with a statue of Alice in Wonderland in the garden to reflect the fact that the town was home to Lewis Carroll), the museum, the lido, the leisure complex and a number of theatres.

It also has some great claims to fame - including the fact that it was where The Stranglers grew up (they were originally known as The Guildford Stranglers), it was the fictional home of Ford Prefect in The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy, and it was the first recorded place where cricket was played (in 1598).

But is it enough to draw you for a short break? Or would you rather pick another award-winner for your stay - like the London hotel voted the best in the country or the holiday home in Warwickshire which became the first to win an architecture prize?

Is Guildford worthy of being the UK's tourist destination of the year? Tell us below! And if Guildford isn't really your cup of tea, perhaps our slideshow of the prettiest towns in the UK will make you happier...

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