The history-rich village of Guildford in Western Australia was one of three towns established during the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829. Perth was the administration centre, Fremantle the port and Guildford the market town.
Strolling the streets of Guildford - one of the gateways to the Swan Valley - you get the feeling you’re in a charming little village that time forgot.
It’s a place where history lives on in quaint colonial buildings, where the influence of the English gentry is still played out on the polo field and where Devonshire tea is served with a shameless disregard for cholesterol levels. So put on some stout walking shoes and explore the beguiling colonial charm of Guildford.
Step Back In Time
Today Guildford is one of only two towns in Perth on the National Trust register and many fine colonial buildings from the township’s earliest days continue to grace the streets.
You can learn much about this fascinating history by setting out on one of the self-guided heritage walk trails which meander through the streets. The walk trails start from the Swan Valley Visitor Centre. Here you can view Guildford’s original courthouse (c. 1866) and interpretive displays that explain much about the region’s past, including the new Cradle of the Colony exhibition featuring stories of Guildford and the Swan Valley.
Commencing with occupation by the Swan River Aboriginal people and the first contact with Stirling's party in 1827, the exhibition explores the development of Guildford as the inland port servicing the Swan Valley and surrounding agricultural land, colonial hardship, convict arrival, the gold era boom period and migrant contribution to the vine industry.
You might also enjoy exploring Guildford's ANZAC heritage via the recently launched Guildford ANZACs website, an initiative of the Guildford Association. The website can be utilised on mobile devices to locate ANZAC homes within the Guildford townsite and contains an online database that allows you to search for specific servicemen and discover more about their lives and war records.
Be sure to visit the James Street antique strip, which offers one of the largest ranges of second-hand wares outside Perth. There’s also quaint home décor outlets, specialty gift shops, galleries, premium garden centres, chic furniture and clothing stores.
With several dining experiences to choose from, why not soak up the village atmosphere and visit one of the restaurants, pubs or cafés. Ranging from quaint tea rooms, an ice creamery, the iconic Alfred's Kitchen and historic pubs to venues offering tapas, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian and modern Australian fare.
Stay a little longer
To really make the most of your visit to Guildford and the Swan Valley, stay overnight or even longer at one of the many accommodation venues in the region.
In Guildford you can choose from bed and breakfast (B&B), lodge, self-contained or motel-style accommodation or a beautifully restored hotel where you can indulge in a luxurious heritage suite.
You can search for and book accommodation in Guildford and the Swan Valley via our website or contact us.
The annual Guildford Heritage Festival celebrates the rich history and preservation of this colonial market town. Held in autumn, join locals at this free, family fun-filled day and gain an insight and appreciation of Guildford’s historical significance and contribution to the development of colonial and modern-day Perth.
For more information on things to see and do in Guildford visit our Attractions and Experiences section.