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The Local Area Guide to Living in Godalming

Godalming is an English civil parish and market town in the county of Surrey. It lies in a deeply forested and hilly area around the River Wey, around 30 miles southwest of London. As such, it lies within the commuter belt into the city. It is well known for its picturesque beauty, regarded by some as a quintessential example of a small English countryside town. It has been ranked among the top 3 desirable property hotspots in the country, and has a good quality of life on offer for its residents.

Godalming has a long and interesting history dating back to Saxon England, during which King Alfred the Great famously bequeathed the town in his will to his nephew Ethelwald. Its positioning between London and the port city of Portsmouth means that it has long been an important trading point. Over the centuries, the economy of Godalming has been powered by a variety of industries; from woolen cloth during the medieval period to paper making and eventually quarrying. As time passed, a high number of commuters began to settle there and the town was bigger than Guildford during the 19th Century. A rather more fascinating fact in the town’s history also occurred during this period: In 1881, when the installation of an electric lamp on the street marked the world’s first public electricity supply.

Many of the buildings in Godalming reflect its historic roots, with 138 listed buildings scattered throughout. The town’s architecture is defined by its Tudor-framed buildings, as well as its beautiful medieval churches. The old town hall, or ‘The Pepperpot’ as it is affectionately known, similarly holds great symbolic value. In the past, Godalming has had some highly illustrious residents. These include James Oglethorpe, the founder of the colony of Georgia, as well as the writer and novelist Aldous Huxley.

Information about the Local Residents

Godalming has a population of around 21,804 according to the 2011 census, with its mean age of 41.5 - just a little over the national average. Just under 20% of residents are of pensionable age, and around 22% are under the age of 18. The area is wealthy when compared to the national average. Just 1.1% of residents claim Jobseeker's Allowance, and a total of 6.6% of people are on benefits of any kind - which lessens in comparison to 13.5% of the country as a whole.

The town’s wealth is clear to see when looking at its social grade profile. Social grade is determined by the occupation of the main household earner, and by this measure 40.7% of households belong to the highest grade (AB). This is nearly double the national rate for this figure: 23%. A further 30% are in grade C1, while just 29.5% belong to grades C2 or DE. Home ownership rates are also above average. 37.7% of households are owned outright, while 36% are owned with a mortgage which compares to 30.6% and 32.8% for the nation respectively. Just 10.4% of houses are privately rented, and only 12.5% are designated social housing.

Nearby Schools

As a commuter town, Godalming has a lot of families with young children. They are provided for by a good selection of schools, starting with 10 co-educational state primary schools. These feed into two state secondary schools - Broadwater School and Rodborough Technology College. Past the age of 16, pupils from these schools often move on to Godalming College, which has been awarded the ‘Outstanding’ rating across all categories following its last Ofsted inspection. The college was also the best performing state school in Surrey for A-Levels in 2004.

Godalming also has three independent schools: Charterhouse School, Prior's Field School and St Hilary's School.

Getting Around

Godalming is fantastically provisioned in terms of transport links. By road, there are several trunk roads running through or near to the town, including the A3, the A31 and the A281. Between these, there is easy access to get to Guildford, Winchester, Brighton, Portsmouth and London. Godalming railway station, on the Portsmouth Direct Line, offers direct links to London Waterloo in one direction and to Portsmouth in the other.

Local Shops

Godalming's weekly market offers a brilliant range of locally produced goods. As well as this, it has a strong selection of independent stores selling artisan goods, antiques, clothing, books, gifts, jewellery and more. The town also has some excellent tea rooms, cafes, pubs and restaurants, and hosts the ‘Godalming Food Festival’ on an annual basis.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@zoopla.co.uk

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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