Farnborough

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Farnborough is a town in the northern part of the English county of Hampshire, close to the border with Surrey. The town was built on the back of the aviation industry and was the site of the first powered flight in Britain, made by Samuel Cody in 1904. Today, the aerospace and technology industries survive and aviation heritage is evident all around the town. Farnborough is perhaps best known as the home of the biennial Farnborough International Air Show, which has been running for over 60 years.

The town is currently undergoing rapid development including a radical rebuilding of the shopping centre to include new shops, bars, restaurants, cinema and hotels.

Much of the land previously used by the military is now been redeveloped to build new apartments, hotels and bars.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Farnborough is well served by airports. For travellers coming directly to Farnborough, the closest airports are:

  • London Heathrow Airport is 25 miles away via the M4 (westbound), M25 (anti-clockwise) and M3 (westbound) motorways. You can also take a National Express coach service (route 031 to Portsmouth) from the airport's central bus station to Farnborough.
  • Southampton Airport is 45 miles away via the M3 (London-bound) motorway. There are also frequent express trains between Southampton Airport Parkway and Farnborough Main station.
  • London Gatwick Airport is 46 miles away via the M23 (northbound), M25 (clockwise) and M3 (westbound) motorways. Direct trains to Farnborough North operate from Gatwick Airport station.
  • London Luton Airport is 53 miles away via the M1 (southbound), M25 (anti-clockwise) and M3 (westbound) motorways. Luton Airport Parkway connects the airport to London St Pancras International station every 35 minutes. Take the tube (Victoria line to Oxford Circus, then Bakerloo line to Waterloo is the best way) to London Waterloo station. Trains depart for Farnborough Main 4 times an hour Monday-Saturday and every hour on Sundays.

Farnborough also has its own private airport, It should be noted that there are no scheduled commercial flights to Farnborough but rather it is the base of operation of two of the largest private jet hire companies in the UK.

By sea[edit]

The port of Portsmouth (offering ferry services to and from France, Spain and the Channel Islands) is around 40 miles away, via the M275 (northbound), M27 (westbound) and M3 (London-bound) motorways. The port of Dover (ferries to and from France and Belgium) and the Channel Tunnel (car-trains from Calais in France) are 108 and 99 miles away respectively, via the M20 (westbound), M26 (westbound), M25 (clockwise) and M3 (south-westbound) motorways.

By train[edit]

Farnborough is served by four railway stations:

By car[edit]

Farnborough is served by the M3 motorway which runs from London to Southampton. It is about an hour's drive from central London. The best junctions to use for Farnborough are junction 4 or 4a and then follow the signs.

Get around[edit]

Farnborough is a small town and so it is very easy and quick to get around on foot or by car. There are a number of local bus services which serve the town from Kingsmead bus station in the town centre, the main ones being:

  • Gold 1: Camberley-Frimley-Farnborough (Main station, town centre, North Camp)-Aldershot (railway and bus station).
  • The Marbles 2: Camberley-Heatherside-Frimley-Farnborough (Ferhill, Cove, town centre).
  • YoYo 6: A service within Farnborough linking the town centre with the Prospect Estate.
  • 11: Farnborough (town centre, Main station, Coleford Bridge)-Mytchett-Frimley Green-Deepcut-Camberley-Frimley Park Hospital.
  • 41: Farnborough (town centre, Farnborough Park, North Camp)-Ash Vale-Ash.
  • 73: Frimley Park Hospital-Frimley-Farnborough (Sixth Form College, Highgate Lane for Farnborough North station, Main Station, town centre, Cove)-Fleet-Zebon Copse.
  • 82: Fleet-Farnborough (Southwood, IQ Farnborough business park, town centre, Main station)-Hawley-Darby Green-Yateley-Eversley-Riseley-Swallowfield-Spencers Wood-Three Mile Cross-Reading.

See[edit]

  • St Michael's Abbey. Built by the French Empress Eugénie, this is the burial place of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, his aforementioned wife, Eugénie de Montijo, and their son, Louis Napoléon Eugène. The abbey is also home to a small group of Benedictine monks, who open their gates to visitors most Saturday afternoons. Visitors receive a guided tour by one of the monks, which takes them to the chapel and the Imperial Crypt. There is an opportunity to buy historical and religious memorabilia, as well as food produced on site by the abbey's small farm.
  • The crypt of St Peter's Old Parish Church is believed to house the remains of many of the Earls of Anglesey, and is a pretty church in its own right.

Do[edit]

  • Runways End Outdoor Centre. Offers activities such as new indoor and outdoor climbing facilities, an archery range, rifle shooting, orienteering, caving, and with the benefit of being located next to the Basingstoke Canal, watersports such as kayaking, canoeing and raft-building. There is permanent indoor accommodation and an extensive area for camping.
  • The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (F.A.S.T) Museum. In Trenchard House on Farnborough Road. A little-known local gem featuring many documents and models relating to aviation. Of particular note are the static aircraft outside, the to-scale replica of Samuel Cody's first aeroplane (which made the first powered flight in the United Kingdom at Farnborough in 1908) and an interactive fighter pilot simulation in a real cockpit. The museum is staffed by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers who are occasionally a little too keen to talk to you in depth about engineering and aerodynamics! Open every Saturday and Sunday, admission is free but a small donation or some money spent in the souvenir shop would be warmly welcomed.
  • Farnborough International Air Show is held every two years, in summer. Public days are the last weekend only. Exhibits cover civilian & military hardware both static and as an aerial display.

Buy[edit]

The town centre is reasonably well-equipped with high street chains and supermarkets, but it has a smaller range of shops than might be expected for a town its size. For a larger range of shops, the nearby town of Camberley is more promising, and slightly further afield Basingstoke, Guildford and Kingston upon Thames are the leading regional shopping centres. In the south of Farnborough, the suburb of North Camp[1] has a varied selection of independent specialist shops, including but not limited to bakeries, butchers, delicatessens, ethnic grocery stores, cakemakers, bookstores, interior design and sports and outdoor equipment.

Eat[edit]

  • The Aviator Brasserie. Farnborough Road. Situated inside the hotel of the same name, it offers delicious, if pricey, 'fine dining'. Many dishes use local produce.
  • Victory Chophouse. Village Hotel, IQ Farnborough business park.
  • Aviators Café and Bar. The Hub, Fowler Avenue. Not the same venue as above, despite the similar name, this place serves a tasty selection of quality lunches. Very close proximity to the F.A.S.T. Museum and situated in Farnborough's 'Heritage Quarter'.
  • Poppadoms Indian Restaurant, Medway Drive. Very good value for money with above-average curries. Worth trying, despite its location.
  • Il Colosseo, Alexandra Road. Italian cuisine.
  • Dolce Italia, Peabody Road. Italian cuisine.
  • Gurkha Palace, Farnborough Road. This Nepalese restaurant reflects the fact that 1000s of Nepalese people have chosen to make Farnborough their home in recent years.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • The Aviator Hotel. Farnborough Road. A four-star "luxury" hotel.
  • Falcon Hotel, Farnborough Road.
  • Silverdale Hotel, Alexandra Road.
  • Alexandra Hotel, Alexandra Road.
  • The Swan Hotel, Farnborough Road
  • Potter's International Hotel, Fleet Road, Aldershot (just outside Farnborough's town boundary).
  • Village Hotel. IQ Farnborough business park
  • Holiday Inn, Lynchford Road.
  • Travelodge: two sites at Farnborough Central on Victoria Road and Fleet on Fleet Road.
  • Premier Inn, Summit Avenue.
  • Various guest houses[2].

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Sailing on Hawley Lake [3]
  • Frimley Lodge Park, a pleasant park with woods, a canal walk and a popular miniature railway. There are also extensive fields for sports and barbecues / picnics.
  • Farnham, an historic market town with an attractive selection of independent shops and a castle.
  • Winchester. The ancient cathedral city of King Alfred the Great. Once England's capital, it is still the county town of Hampshire.
  • Guildford, the nearby county town of Surrey has the newest Anglican cathedral in Britain.
  • Windsor, home to the famous royal castle and Great Park.
  • London
  • See Hampshire for a fuller list of attractions in the county.
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