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Farnborough is a Hampshire town that lives and breathes aviation – it’s home to the biennial International Airshow, the Air Sciences Trust Museum and Farnborough International Airport, which is the arrival point for thousands of executive jets and business travellers every year.
If you have a private jet, chances are you’ve been to Farnborough, but if planes don’t really float your proverbial boat, Farnborough is a historic town worth visiting anyway, not least because it’s located in a charming part of the Thames Valley with plenty to see and do, including Farnborough’s beautiful Benedictine abbey and working monastery.
Restaurants in Farnborough
For such a small town, Farnborough has an impressive choice of places to eat and drink, including a fantastic selection of East Asian and Indian food, and a great choice of traditional pubs serving British classics and local ales.
If you visit the Swan Inn on the weekend, you may find local bands and artists performing an eclectic mix of jazz, funk, rock and soul too.
Shopping in Farnborough
Farnborough’s shopping is functional rather than charming, based around a modern pedestrianised shopping area with all the usual high street names, many of which you’ll find in the covered Princes Mead shopping centre.
There’s a good outdoor market in the Princes Mead car park on Tuesdays, where you can pick up great value fruit, veg and household goods.
If you’re a true bargain hunter, you won’t want to miss the huge Sunday car boot sale in the Pinehurst car park; one of the biggest in the region.
If you’re looking for more extensive shopping choice, your best bet is to hop on a train to Reading or London Waterloo, both of which are just 30 minutes away and have everything the shopping enthusiast could possibly want!
Many of the businesses in Farnborough are related to the aviation industry, for example Farnborough Aerodrome, the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Lockheed Martin and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
Transport in Farnborough
Even if you’re not arriving by private jet, you’ll find Farnborough is easy to get to. If you’re driving, it’s just a short distance from the M3, or only 35 minutes from London Waterloo by train, with regular services to Southampton too. Farnborough North rail station has direct services to Reading or Gatwick Airport.
Once you’re here, it’s a nice area to wander on foot, with delightful countryside walks around the River Blackwater and the local Hampshire villages. Or if you’re in more of a hurry, there’s a regular bus service that connects Farnborough with all the surrounding towns.
Things to watch out for
Farnborough Airshow takes place in July every two years and is a huge two day event that attracts hundreds of thousands of families and aviation enthusiasts. The local roads and public transport are chock-a-block, so the town is best avoided that weekend if you’re not visiting the show!