The Best Guildford WA Guide – Exploring its Charm and History 2023
As a local, I’m excited to share with you everything Guildford WA has to offer. Located a short distance from Perth, this historic town dates back to 1829 and is filled with stunning heritage buildings, leafy parks, and delicious food and wine experiences.
Guildford has plenty to offer whether you love history, food or want a relaxing day trip from Perth. Here I share insider tips and hidden spots that you won’t find in your average travel guide.
Where is Guildford Western Australia?
Guildford is in the beautiful Swan Valley, 12 km northeast of Perth’s city.
Historic Guildford: From Settlement to Present Day
The town was founded in 1829, being one of the earliest settlements and one of only three towns listed on the National Trust register. Captain James Stirling named Guildford after the English town he was married in.
In 1851, the town was used as a hiring depot for well-behaved convicts that were granted a ticket of leave. They were allowed to work in the surrounding areas but were only allowed to leave with special permission.
During WWI, the 10th Light Horse regiment (a mounted infantry) was formed and trained in South Guildford. Guildford Grammar was used as an American Military hospital in World War II.
Guildford has several historic buildings that offer a glimpse into the town’s past. Some of the most notable include the Guildford Town Hall, which was built in 1938 and is a great example of the Inter-War Art Deco style of architecture. St. Matthew’s Anglican Church dates back to 1860, and the Rose and Crown Hotel, established in 1841, is the state’s oldest operating hotel.
Attractions & Things to Do in Guildford WA
Guildford offers a diverse range of attractions catering to varied interests and preferences.
1. Guildford Heritage Trails
The Guildford Heritage Trails are a fantastic way to explore the historic town of Guildford and learn about its rich history. The four self-guided walking trails feature 50 interpretive panels offering an insight into the town’s past.
The trail begins at the Swan Valley Visitor Centre (the old Guildford Courthouse), with coloured markers directing you to the next information panel.
The Stirling Square – 450m
The Stirling Square is a short walk incorporating the Colonial Gaol, the Courthouse, and Taylor’s Cottage.
The River Ramble – 1.5 km
The River Ramble adds a few more historic sites, including the Rose & Crown and Padbury’s Store.
The Town Walk – 1.8 km
The Town Walk takes you through the historic Meadows Street precinct and the town centre, where you can stop for a drink or browse through one of the antique shops.
The Captain Stirling Walk – 2.25 km
The longest trail, the Captain Stirling Walk, includes local landmarks like Guildford Grammar School and the London Plane Trees.
2. The Academy of Taxidermy (Museum of Natural History)
This small Guildford Museum showcases Australia’s animals, reptiles, birds, and fish. Housed in the former Regent Theatre, over 2,000 exhibits are beautifully presented by Master Taxidermist, Michael Buzza.
The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Entry is A$6, and children under 12: $3 inc GST
3. Woodbridge House
Take a tour of Woodbridge House, a beautiful 19th-century mansion that offers a glimpse into life in early colonial Western Australia. Tours run on Fridays and Saturdays at 11.30 am, 12:30 pm and 2.00 pm for around 45 minutes.
Constructed in 1884, the house was initially built for Captain James Stirling, who lived there until the end of his term as Governor in 1839. He then leased it to several tenants before selling it to agricultural entrepreneur, parliamentarian, and part-owner of The West Australian newspaper Charles Harper and his wife, Fanny.
Charles built a large family home along with a school for his ten children and neighbours’ kids. The Church of England later bought the school, which is now Guildford Grammar School.
The house was used for Woodbridge House School from 1921 until it was repurposed as the Old Women’s Home during World War II. It was then converted into an annexe for Governor Stirling Senior High School in 1964. In 1968, Woodbridge was entrusted to the National Trust.
The tour offers a detailed exploration of this historic home in Guildford, allowing visitors to appreciate the magnificent architecture and décor. The guides highlight some of the original Harper furniture and personal items.
On the upper floor, families can enjoy the activity space, specially designed for interactive play and an opportunity to learn about the students of Woodbridge House School.
Take a moment to relish the breathtaking views of the Derbarl Yerrigan and the adjacent rows of Verdelho grapevines, situated in one of Western Australia’s foremost wine-producing regions.
In addition to the house, the grounds boast beautiful jarrah trees and views of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River).
The café, Riverside at Woodbridge, has a gorgeous view of the river and neighbouring vineyards.
4. Wine Tasting near Guildford
Guildford is in the heart of the Swan Valley wine region, known for its award-winning wineries and stunning vineyards. Many wineries offer tastings and/or tours, including Lancaster Wines, Sandalford Winery, and Mandoon Estate.
One of the most popular ways to experience the region’s wines is by taking a Swan Valley tour, like the ones by D’Vine Tours.
Their famous Full Day Wine Tour runs every day except Tuesdays and provides something for everyone. Your wine tastings, nibbles, lunch, beer tastings, food samples, and more are included in the tour price.
5. Guildford Antique & Collectibles
Guildford has a thriving antique scene, with stores offering everything from vintage collectables and rare finds to antique furniture and homewares.
Dr Russell’s Imaginarium is one of Guildford’s most popular antique shops. This quirky and colourful shop is filled with treasures, from vintage toys and games to steampunk-inspired jewellery and accessories.
But Dr Russell’s Imaginarium is more than just a store – it’s an immersive experience that invites visitors into a world of imagination and creativity. The store’s eclectic and imaginative decor is a feast for the senses.
Guildford WA Restaurants & Cafes
Guildford has a range of cafes and restaurants offering delicious food using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Some of the top places to eat in Guildford are:
- The Rose & Crown Hotel
- Padbury’s Café & Restaurant (pancakes)
- Alfred’s Kitchen
- King & Thai
- Guildford Hotel
- Sandalford Restaurant
- Guildford Milk Bar
- Mandoon Estate
Guildford WA Accommodation – Where to Stay
There’s a range of accommodation options around Guildford, from cosy bed and breakfasts to historic hotels.
Rose & Crown Hotel
Rating: 4.3/5⭐️ with over 2,900 Google reviews
Address: 105 Swan St, Guildford, WA 6055
One of Guildford’s most popular accommodation options is the Rose & Crown Hotel. This historic hotel is located in the heart of Guildford and is steeped in history and heritage. The hotel offers a range of air-conditioned rooms and has a restaurant, bar, and beer garden, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the area.
Guildford River Retreat
Rating: 4.4/5⭐️ with over 40 Google reviews
Address: 18 Victoria St, Guildford, WA 6055
Guildford River Retreat is a family-run, eco-friendly boutique hotel in a heritage-listed building. Within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and attractions, this retreat is the perfect base to explore the charming historic town.
The hotel offers a range of rooms with Nespresso coffee machines, tea facilities, air conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary off-street parking. Guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast, a swim in the outdoor pool, unwind in the garden, or read a book in the library.
Whether you are travelling for leisure or business, the Guildford River Retreat offers a welcoming and serene atmosphere that will make you feel right at home.
The Zen Den
63 Third Ave, Bassendean, WA 6054
The Zen Den is a two-bedroom apartment with a courtyard and a fully equipped kitchen, making it a perfect choice for families.
This accommodation has unlimited Wi-Fi, Netflix, and two allocated secure car spots with all bedding, linen, and bath towels provided.
Dogs are allowed upon request.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the town’s museums and heritage sites, shopping for antiques and artisanal crafts, or simply relaxing and enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings, Guildford is the perfect destination for a day trip from Perth or a weekend getaway.
Save Money Planning your Trip
Click on the links which will take you direct to the website.
We usually fly Virgin Australia domestically due to their competitive prices and fantastic customer service and fly with Qatar Airways to Europe.
We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are usually cheaper than Airbnb.
Car Rental 🚘
To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated.
Campervan/RV Rental 🚐
Drivenow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, Jucy as well as smaller ones.
Tours & Attractions 🎢
We book direct and use a mixture of third-party sites Viator, Get Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing.
Accessing Money 💵
We recently started using Wise to access funds internationally, including trips to Bali and Malaysia. They offer a debit card in 50 currencies and transfers are fast and free from hidden fees and exchange rate markups. Funds can be accessed through ATMs too. Wise has saved us a lot of money compared to our usual credit card and debit card.
Travel Insurance 🌏
Cover-More and Travel Insurance Direct are our preferred travel insurance companies for domestic and international travel.
See this Travel Insurance for Australia guide for more information.
For other ideas on where to visit in Western Australia along with the best things to do, where to stay, how to get around, and other essential information, click on the link below.