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Things to do in Farnham - where to eat, shop and visit

PUBLISHED: 08:41 09 February 2015 | UPDATED: 11:15 23 February 2015

Farnham, Surrey

Farnham, Surrey

Emily Westwell

Often billed as Surrey’s ‘craft town’, Farnham is known for its buzzy, creative vibe, striking Georgian architecture and wide range of quirky independent shops

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2015

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1 Ceramics Café

13 Downing Street, Farnham GU9 7PB

Tel: 01252 727555

Web: ceramicscafe.com

Fancy a bit of creativity with your latte? The Ceramics Café has the answer – pick up your coffee and a paintbrush and you can decorate your own plate, cup, mug or one of many items available with your own special design. All items are food safe and you have unlimited use of over 20 colours. When you’ve finished, you pay for your item and it’s yours to take home.

 

2 Farnham Library

Vernon House, 28 West Street, Farnham GU9 7DR

Tel: 0300 200 1001

Web: new.surreycc.gov.uk

You thought libraries were all about books? Well, yes, but this library has a few more surprises for you. With National Careers Workshops, a Reading Group, Baby Bounce, and Rhyme and Storytimes, there is a lot more on offer than just borrowing something to read. Oh, and take a wander outside too – with a fabulous fountain and garden out the back, where you can relax in the summer with your book, you’ll spend a lot longer here than you expected.

 

3 Artist Kobie Dams

1 The Borough, Caxton Yard, Farnham GU9 7GD

Tel: 07747 657 821

Web: kobiedams.com

A real treasure trove hidden away down a little alley next to Vision Express, do take the opportunity to pop into the studio of artist Kobie Dams. Originally from South Africa, Kobie has combined her studio with two floors of gifts, jewellery and paintings where you are welcome to browse to your heart’s content. With a particular interest in Middle Eastern art and its bold colours, Kobie is happy to take commissions for artwork and jewellery.

 

4 Farnham Maltings

Bridge Square, Farnham GU9 7QR

Tel: 01252 745444

Web: farnhammaltings.com

A creative arts centre at the heart of this bustling market town, the Maltings is housed in a restored Victorian factory with a cinema, hall, artists’ studios, pottery and café. Phew! With ample parking right next door, there is no excuse not to visit this place. There is always something going on and the atmosphere is tremendous. Pop in on Saturday January 3 for their Maltings’ Monthly Market or on Wednesday January 7 for a showing of the film Interstellar.

 

5 Farnham Castle

Castle Hill, Farnham GU9 0AG

Tel: 01252 721194

Web: farnhamcastle.com

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. English Heritage has guardianship of the Keep and offers free entry to members of the public, while tours of the Bishop’s Palace are provided by local guides for a charge. If you happen to be getting married by the way, you can book the castle for the day – now that will impress the guests…

 

6 101 Collectors Records

101 West Street, Farnham GU9 7EN

Tel: 01252 734409

Web: 101collectorsrecords.co.uk

Ageing rocker? Opera buff? Or looking for that rare collector’s item? 101 is the place then. With record covers adorning the walls and racks and racks of CDs and discs, you’ll be hard pushed not to come out without buying something here. Andy Hibberd has run the shop at, erm, 101, since 1991 and states very clearly on his website that he “will have something that hits the spot…” Oh, and if, like many, you have a loft full of old records that haven’t seen a needle for many years, Andy will gladly make you an offer.

 

7 Lion and Lamb Café & Restaurant

19 Lion and Lamb Yard, Farnham GU9 7LL

Tel: 01252 715156

Web: lionandlambcafe.co.uk

Slap bang in the middle of the town, you have this amazing courtyard, which opens up on an Aladdin’s cave of shops and cafés. Surrounded by wooden beamed buildings, the whole thing has a splendid Dickensian feel about it. The Lion and Lamb Café and Restaurant at number 19 started as a tea house way back in 1926 and now boasts fresh, seasonal English food coupled with an unusual policy of a ‘Bring Your Own Wine’ for a small corkage of £5. 
How about the Salt Cod Brandade with grilled sourdough?

 

8 University for the Creative Arts

UCA Farnham, Falkner Road, Farnham GU9 7DS

Tel: 01252 722441

Web: ucreative.ac.uk/farnham

Created in 2005 as a college for the arts, UCA Farnham was given university status in 2008 and now has campuses here as well as in Epsom, Canterbury and Rochester. With courses in fine art, photography, textiles, crafts, film and more, plus a rolling series of exhibitions, there is a bustling, cosmopolitan feel about the place.

 

9 New Ashgate Gallery

Wagon Yard, Farnham GU9 7PS

Tel: 01252 713208

Web: newashgate.org.uk

Described as a ‘modest little gallery’ by the Evening Standard back in 1961, the New Ashgate has grown into a well-respected outlet and centre for the arts. Many famous leading artists have seen work exhibited here but the strength of the gallery lies in its desire to nurture local talent with scholarships and prizes. There’s plenty of contemporary work on sale here too – so drop in as you wander down past number 10, Downing Street (yes, there really is one in Farnham!).

 

10 Waverley Abbey

Two miles south-east of Farnham off the B30001

Tel: 0370 333 1181 
Web: english-heritage.org.uk

An astonishing group of ruins hidden away across fields and accessed along the tow- path of the river, Waverley Abbey was the first Cistercian monastery in England, founded back in 1128. Today, the abbey is looked after by English Heritage, with display panels around the site telling its story in graphics and text. Beautiful at any time of year, it’s well worth taking a stroll around these atmospheric ruins, which are also free to visit.

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