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Farnham town guide 2015

PUBLISHED: 10:34 01 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:12 01 September 2015

Farnham Castle overlooks the historic town (Photo: Matthew Williams)

Farnham Castle overlooks the historic town (Photo: Matthew Williams)

Archant

With beautiful architecture, a castle perched high above and arts at its heart, Farnham is a true gem of a town – so it’s no surprise that Hollywood is constantly attracted to its surrounding countryside

Farnham is a picturesque arts hub (Photo: Matthew Williams)Farnham is a picturesque arts hub (Photo: Matthew Williams)

Originally published in A Celebration of Surrey Life

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Did you know?

1 A beautiful Georgian town with plenty of stunning architecture to peruse, Farnham’s history can be traced back thousands of years with evidence of prehistoric animal bones found in nearby gravel pits.

2 The Farnham Maltings was purchased from the Courage brewery in the 1960s and is now a vibrant arts centre with theatre companies, a museum, exhibitions and vintage and knitting fairs. Relax in the deck chairs outside the Riverside Café Bar.

3 Set in five acres of gardens overlooking the town, Farnham Castle is thought to have been built around 1138. Home to the Bishops of Winchester for over 800 years, there have been no less than 55 bishops associated with this castle. You can visit the Keep for free, while the attached Bishop’s Palace is used as a training and conference centre.

4 Described as a ‘modest little gallery’ by the Evening Standard back in 1961, the New Ashgate Gallery has grown into a well-respected outlet and centre for the arts. Among its many annual highlights, it hosts the annual Surrey Artist of the Year competition.

5 Most recently used for filming by the likes of Into the Woods and The Huntsman, the fragments of Waverley Abbey, the first Cistercian abbey in England, founded in 1128, provide the perfect place to escape for contemplation in peaceful solitude.

6 The king of all film locations in the area, however, is Bourne Wood, which has taken centre stage in everything from Gladiator to Thor via various Harry Potters and War Horse.

7 A short drive away, the expansive Great Pond (complete with full beach, lakeside hotel and sailing) and the intimate Frensham Little Pond offer waterside escapes you might not necessarily associate with Surrey.

8 Alternatively, for a further burst of colour, why not head to Birdworld where they have just opened their new ‘Flamingo Cove’, a walk-through enclosure where you can get close to these stunning birds? One of the largest bird parks in the country, Birdworld’s collection has risen to over 2,000 animals since opening in 1967.

9 England’s former rugby captain and fly-half supremo Jonny Wilkinson played for Farnham Rugby Club at youth level. He remains an honorary vice president of the club.

10 The biggest outdoor country life collection in the south of England, the Rural Life Centre can be found on the way to Tilford. As well as being home to a café, you can also explore one-and-a-half centuries of village and rural life through its ten acres.

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A pocket guide:

Drink at: Make a beeline straight for The Wheatsheaf on West Street or head out into the countryside to its sister pub, The Duke of Cambridge in Tilford.

Eat at: Just off West Street is The Lion and Lamb Yard – a lovely Dickensian-style cobbled courtyard where The Lion and Lamb Café originally opened in 1926. Anderson’s restaurant is another independent favourite.

Stay at: The Bishop’s Table is an intimate, privately-owned and managed 18th century hotel in the heart of the town.

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