Travel & Touring | WA Destinations

By: Fleur Bainger

Charmingly historic, Guildford’s antique shops, cute cafes and grand pubs make for excellent day trip material.

Better still, the heritage-listed town is the gateway to the Swan Valley’s wineries, foodie havens and a little-known sculpture park.

Top things to see and do

Antique shops

James St is Guildford’s main drag and the strip is home to a row of antique shops that advertise themselves with strings of ornate lanterns and vintage wares placed on the pavement. Find all manner of collectables and curios.

Dr Russell's Imaginarium

Tucked away off the main street, inside Ethel St Courtyard is this collection of wild and wonderful retro goods. The owner has been curating his offering for some 45 years. Expect to find moving dolls, authentic pressed tin signage, vintage toy cars, coloured glassware and loads of other oddities.

Sample local pancakes

Eating pancakes at Padbury’s on Terrace Road is a must-do. The meringue munro pancakes at this historic café-restaurant are legendary for a reason. Fluffy, thick pancakes are loaded with oozing lemon curd, honeycomb chunks, light meringue and toasted granola. They’re on the menu until 3pm each day. Share them - if you can.

Characterful cafes

Café Poste, housed in Guildford’s former Post Office doubles as a garden centre and its tables are dotted between greenery. Venture inside, where it feels like an eclectic manor; each ornate room is decorated differently, giving diners their own private space. Alternately, score a bowl of authentic Vietnamese pho soup at newcomer, Little A’s, or a ripper pie or cream-filled pastry at Guildford Town Bakery.

Burger hotspots

In Guildford, Alfred’s Kitchen is a tried-and-true spot famed for being the longest running roadside burger kitchen in Perth – and it has a fire pit for cold nights. Meanwhile, Joey’s Swan Valley Diner catches the eye with its cute pink and white stripes, and specialises in American style burgers, hot dogs and chips, plus there’s a fire pit and flower wall.

Historic pubs

The Rose and Crown on Swan Street is WA’s oldest operating hotel, so is well worth a look. Other iconic public houses in the town include the chic, renovated The Guildford Hotel, the Stirling Arms Hotel and The Woodbridge Hotel, which all do good food and ice-cold beer.

RELATED: 10 of Perth's most haunted places »

Swan Valley trails

With more than 40 world-class wineries, six breweries, two distilleries, three cideries, a meadery, endless gourmet producers, bustling markets and vibrant artist studios, the visitor centre has created a bevvy of Swan Valley trails to follow for any interest. There’s more than 150 places to discover, with the trails winding deep through the Valley, showcasing some of the highlights of the region.

The Gomboc Gallery Sculpture Park

Did you know a WA sculptor designed the AACTA awards statue? A huge version of the gold figure, created by prolific resident sculptor Ron Gomboc, stands in this unexpected Swan Valley park, along with many works from past Sculpture by the Sea exhibitions. Venture inside to Gomboc Gallery to see tableaux by prominent artists.

Foodie havens

Hop between Whistler’s Chocolate Company, Mondo Nougat Factory, Pasta in the Valley (where they make you fresh pasta on demand) and The House of Honey (check out the Perspex bee hive), with a side trip to Harris Organic, the only organic distillery in Perth, doing gin, vodka and brandy.

Fresh produce hubs

Get your hands dirty at Edgecombe Brothers, where you can pick asparagus in a masterclass, or flit next door to Swan Valley Sisters, where local produce is sold from a shed; an earthy café opens on weekends.

Family-owned wineries

Meeting the people behind the wines makes them more meaningful, and that’s all but guaranteed at many Swan Valley wineries. Descend into the atmospheric cellar, hand dug by the winemaker’s great grandfather at John Kosovich Wines and enjoy a tasting.

Alternately, BYO picnic, grab a wine ($5/glass or $10-$14/bottle) and find a place on the grass beside the vines at Windy Creek Estate. While you won’t meet family members, it’s still worth visiting Mandoon Estate, loved for its bustling brewery, swish restaurant, playground and decking beneath leafy surrounds.

At a glance

Distance from Perth 13 kilometres, 23 minutes' drive from Perth CBD
Why go? The strip of antique shops, the jam-packed Academy of Taxidermy, the treasures inside Dr Russell’s Imaginarium, Padbury’s pancake stacks, the Swan Valley’s sculpture park and family-owned wineries.
When to go

Dec - Feb: High temps and low rainfall; a time of open-air music events and roadside produce stalls.
Mar - May & Sep - Nov: Pleasantly warm, sunny days; Oct heralds the Entwined in the Valley festival, Wine Machine music festival and Oktoberfest as well as the start of the Guildford Twilight Market.
Jun - Aug: Cooler and wetter; time for the Avon Descent and Avon Descent Festival. 

How long to stay Ideal for a day trip, although there’s enough to do for a weekend getaway.
Need to know Being part of the wider Perth region, Guildford has all the amenities you’d expect such as fuel stations, public toilets, a strong phone signal and a lovely public park edged with historic gum trees called Stirling Square. The Visitor Centre is on the corner of Meadow and Swan streets.
Fast facts Town population: 6,552 
Indigenous people: Whadjuk Noongar.
Insider tip The Academy of Taxidermy and Museum of Natural History houses a trove of stuffed and moulded specimens – including dinosaurs - behind a nondescript frontage. It’s definitely worth a look.
Related road trips Perth to New Norcia road trip

Getting around

While in Guildford, leave your wheels in one of the all-day parking spots and wander around on foot. The main sights are all within walking distance and you’re going to want to leisurely browse the shops. Drive to the Swan Valley and motor between sights.

What to pack

Guildford is a neat but casual destination. Wear light clothing in summer and bring a hat and sunscreen, while winter lends itself to long pants, jackets and an umbrella.  

Travelling safely

Be aware that many stops in the Swan Valley are along the busy Great Northern Highway, where vehicles drive at relatively high speeds, including a high volume of trucks. Read more long distance driving tips before setting off.

Eager to explore Guildford and surrounds?

Hop on a tour - RAC members save 15% on a full-day Swan Valley Winery Tour with Sightseeing Pass Australia.

Find out more

Last updated September 2020