Reverse commute Clapham to Guildford
February 16, 2009 11:03 AM   Subscribe

I currently work and live in Guildford, UK. I love my job and need to stay there for at least the next 6 months, but I am thoroughly miserable living in Guildford - it's a beautiful town but so dull for a young single person!! I want to move to south London and reverse commute - does anyone do this journey? Is it do-able? I'd probably need to drive although could poss do on train. Was thinking Clapham Common is nice area - what is the traffic like to get down to Guildford in the morning, is it bad? I need to be at work at 8.30am. I finish at 7pm. Are there any other places that are better for commuting and missing traffic - Clapham Junction maybe? Or brixton? Waterloo?
posted by bunnyrabbit22 to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't specifically commuted to Guildford, but I did commute from Islington to Sidcup for a year, and I currently commute from Marylebone to Twickenham. In general reverse commuting in London is awesome. The roads are comparatively clear and public transport is comparatively empty.

You can just use Journey Planner to figure out whether public transport is doable. If you need to drive every day, I would take a day off work (outside of school holidays), to test the route from Clapham to Guildford.

If you are considering other areas, I would have a look around Chiswick, Shepherd's Bush, and Ladbroke Grove.

Lastly you might find useful to figure out the best match of journey time and prices.
posted by roofus at 11:45 AM on February 16, 2009

Well, if you lived around Clapham Common you could walk to Clapham Junction in the morning and there's a train to Guildford that takes 32 minutes. (dep 7.52 arr 8.24). I've had friend who live around Clapham and it seems a fun place in itself with loads going on and very easy access to central London. Of course you have the advantage of resting on the train, reading or even more work.

By road you'd take the A3 all the way (about 25 miles) but you'd still have to cope with rush hour traffic going in to Guildford in the morning and potential holdups along the A3 (e.g. at Tolworth on the very edge of London, around the M25) so you'd have to allow an hour at least. Personally, this sounds like not-a-fun-thing. Then again, you work 10 1/2 hours a day so we might have different ideas of fun ;-)
posted by i_cola at 12:41 PM on February 16, 2009

It's not EA, is it? As a data-point, a friend of mine did the reverse commute from near Paddington to there by train for 4 months before it drove him insane and he quite. I believe it took him between 1hour 20 and 1hour 30 each way.

Another friend of mine lived in Guildford for about 6 months (Dettica, I believe) before being driven out by hot tears of boredom.

I'd second the clapham suggestions for sane commutability, reasonable proximity to London proper, and tenuous affordability.
posted by Luddite at 1:34 PM on February 16, 2009

I live near to Guildford, and I suspect you'd want to commute on public transport rather than drive. The A3 coming out of London may be okay at 8am (never attempted it) but arriving into Guildford could be messy since you'd be arriving at prime school times. Do-able, but maybe very tedious.

However, the drive home at 7pm should be a bit neater!
posted by gkhewitt at 1:48 PM on February 16, 2009

I used to do exactly this - commute from SW London to Guildford.

I would endorse using the train - it's a great opportunity to get some reading done. You might need to change at Woking as not all trains run to Guildford. Worth knowing there's also a milk run train down through Effingham Junction that calls at London Road (Guildford) station, which might be a (slow) option. For me, even though it took longer, it was worth the extra time, as I was completing a degree at the time and needed time to do all the reading. And the trains are pretty empty in the reverse direction, which is nice.

My first year, I would drive from Wimbledon. It took about 30 minutes in the morning and usually longer coming home, but that was before they slowed down the 3-->2 lane restriction as the A3 comes into London by Hook / Tolworth down to 50mph and put the speed camera up. I also found that if you came home a bit later, traffic was better. Hit Hook after 6:30 and you usually breezed through. Hit it at 5:30 and there could be queues of half an hour. You should be okay here.

That extra distance from Wimbledon into Clapham would probably add at least half an hour of driving to the commute each way, especially in the morning. I'm not sure I would recommending living that far in and driving out. Wimbledon / Raynes Park is a doddle for getting onto the A3 in the morning.
posted by sagwalla at 2:20 AM on February 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you so much for all your advice and comments! The one about being "driven out of Guildford by hot tears of boredom" is classic - really made me laugh!!!

I think I'm going to have to drive unfortunately as have found out I'll definitely need to have my car at work during the day, so I guess the plan is leaving Clapham quite early in the morning to get down to the A3 - that seems to be the worst bit, once I've got to the A3 it's fine, and getting home is fine. Anyone know any back roads or short cuts from Clapham Common to the A3 that avoids the main drag? Did it the other morning and it was almost first gear traffic at 7am!!!!
posted by bunnyrabbit22 at 1:26 PM on February 21, 2009

This is how I usually do it:

Google Map

(jump on the A3 where the map crosses the A3 as Beverley Way).

I wouldn't do this at peak times, but off peak it's a decent alternative to the A3.

[Can you just leave your car in Guildford?]
posted by sagwalla at 4:43 AM on February 25, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you for sending that sagwalla! Looks like a good alternative, will try it out.

I guess I could leave car at Guildford and get train from clapham junction, that would be nicer.... but it's difficult to find parking in Guildford near station as it's mainly permit holders only, and I think you have to pay quite a bit to leave car at station overnight?
posted by bunnyrabbit22 at 7:36 AM on February 25, 2009

Just leave the car at the office and walk? Maybe it makes the commute too long.

My office was right by the A3 - that first big building you see when you come off the A3 from London into Guildford. I used to use London Road (Guildford) because it left a nice walk down through Stoke Park in the morning. In those days, I'd get the 7:22 out of Wimbledon and be in the office by 9AM. Long, but stress-free.
posted by sagwalla at 7:30 AM on February 26, 2009

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