Farnborough City Guide
Farnborough is a peaceful town on the Hampshire/Surrey border and has strong ties to the aviation industry harking back to the start of the 20th century. His Majesty's Balloon Factory was set up in the town in 1904 and in 1908 this was renamed the Royal Aircraft Factory (RAF) and amongst its designers were pioneers of the aviation world such as Geoffrey de Havilland and John Kenworthy. Since then Farnborough has become known throughout the world for its pioneering work, from the first powered flight in Britain in 1908, to the first car to go supersonic on land in 1997. The historic Farnborough factory site still houses 2 of the wind tunnels, now listed buildings, which were used to research Concorde's aerodynamics as well as some F1 cars.
Every other year this quiet Hampshire town is taken over by the Farnborough International Air Show and for that one week in July this peaceful idyll becomes the roaring centre of the world's aviation industry. The Air Show takes place at the privately owned TAG London Farnborough Airport and Farnborough Apartments has stylish 1 bedroom serviced apartments which could offer you an ideal base just minutes from the town centre and within easy reach of the airfield.
Farnborough has some notable business residents including BAE Systems, AugustaWestland, IBM, BMW, Toshiba, Lockheed Martin and RBS. The location of this rural location (yet with proximity to London) with great access via the nearby M3 to Heathrow airport, give it an enviable position for large companies looking to relocate.
The town centre of Farnborough is quite compact and yet offers a great range of shops, restaurants, bars and traditional pubs. There has also been extensive renovation of the centre recently with plans to provide a new entertainment centre and retail space.
Located on the edge of the Blackwater Valley, Farnborough also offers a more rural lifestyle to visitors with river paths and lakes having a range of water sports and country walks/rides. Still, the proximity of the motorway and direct rail links means that central London is only an hour away. Equinox Place has executive two bedroom serviced apartments that are ideally located near to the railway station to take full advantage of this.
The nearest airport is London Heathrow Airport from where you can very easily get trains down to Farnborough.
Farnborough is served by three railway stations, the busiest of which is the Main railway station on the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo to Basingstoke and beyond. Farnborough North and North Camp stations are both on the North Downs Line between Reading and Gatwick. The main station is Farnborough from where you can get connections to London Waterloo and Portsmouth as well as Basingstoke.
Farborough is just under an hour's drive away from London and there's a couple of car parks where you can leave your vehicle for the day, just have a look at Rushmoor Borough Council's list of car parks.
Farnborough is a great town to cycle round and there is a network of on-road and off-road cycle routes running through the town. The addition of a link between the Cove Brook Greenway cycle path at the Hawley Bridge and the cycleways around the Farnborough Road and the Blackwater Valley, means that you can now cycle a complete loop around Farnborough on cycle routes. Rushmoor Borough Coucil offers some good information on different cycling routes.
Most buses in Farnborough are operated by Stagecoach so have a look at their Journey Planner to find out how, where and when you need to hop on the bus!
What to do in Farnborough
Listed below are some of the great places to visit in Farnborough. Click one to see more.
- St Michael's Abbey
A small community of Benedictine monks was founded in 1881 by the exiled Empress Eugenie in honour of her husband, Napoleon III of France, and both are buried in the crypt of this flamboyant gothic church. Eugénie moved to Farnborough Hill in 1880 and by 1888 the crypt of the future abbey was ready to receive the bodies of both her husband and son. And so, a remarkable piece of Anglo-French history continues on the Hampshire-Surrey border.
For more information visit: www.farnboroughabbey.org
- Farnborough Air Services Museum
Located on a hill overlooking the runway of Farnborough Airfield is the Farnborough Air Services Museum, or FAST, which displays historical aircraft in an equally historical setting, on the original site of the headquarters of the Royal Balloon School. Tally ho and chocks away!
For more information visit: www.airsciences.org.uk
- Blackwater Valley
Located to the west of the Blackwater Valley, the town of Farnborough has the river and lakes of this beautiful, green valley right on it's doorstep. You can enjoy a leisurely walk along the riverside paths, and angling, sailing, jet skiing, wind surfing, sailing, cycling and horse riding are all on offer too...all this and a pint by the river. On yer bike!!
For more information visit: www.blackwater-valley.org.uk
- Dine in style at The Aviator Brasserie
Think 1930's movie starlets and a time when travel really was a luxury experience for the lucky few.
Innately stylish, The Aviator binds the timeless glamour of aviation with indulgent design. The Brasserie restaurant overlooking the airfield is slick and contemporary with a menu to match the surroundings, but don't expect it to come cheap. Looking this good takes time and money darling!
To make a booking visit: www.aviatorbytag.com/brasserie
Prestige Apartments' Alex Wood and Richard Chapman were lucky enough to have dined here and gave it glowing reviews!
- Retail therapy at Princes Mead
Princes Mead Shopping Centre is one of the finest shopping centres in the area, and is situated right in Farnborough's town centre. With nearly 50 shops to choose from, you're bound to find something to take home with you, or if not then maybe just to get your haircut, browse for (more) last minute holidays or maybe meet with friends over a coffee.
For more information visit: www.princesmead.co.uk