Farnborough, Hampshire

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Farnborough is located in Hampshire
 Farnborough shown within Hampshire
Population 65,034 (Census 2011)
OS grid reference SU871554
District Rushmoor
Shire county Hampshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district GU14
Dialling code 01252, 01276
Police Hampshire
Fire Hampshire
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Aldershot
List of places

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Farnborough is a town in north east Hampshire, England, part of the borough of Rushmoor and the Farnborough/Aldershot Built-up Area. Farnborough was founded in Saxon times and is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name is formed from Ferneberga which means "fern hill".

The town is probably best known for its association with aviation – Farnborough Airshow, Farnborough Aerodrome, Royal Aircraft Establishment, and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

Geography and climate

Farnborough is situated in northeast Hampshire near the boundary with Surrey. The River Blackwater forms part of the boundary. It is located 34 miles (55 km) southwest of London and 16 miles (26 km) east of Basingstoke, directly to the south of junction 4 of the M3 motorway. The town lies at the centre of the Blackwater Valley conurbation, which includes Aldershot, Camberley, Yateley, Sandhurst, Frimley and Farnham.

Farnborough has incorporated several sizeable villages as it has expanded, including North Camp to the south, Cove and Southwood, which are now considered suburbs. It is contiguous with the garrison town of Aldershot to the south and with Frimley to the north. The council of the local government district of Rushmoor is based in the town. The district has borough status and also covers nearby Aldershot.

Farnborough's suburban areas include Southwood, Rafborough, Cove, West Heath, Farnborough Park, Farnborough Street, North Camp, South Farnborough, Fox Lane, Hawley Lane, St. John's, and St. Christopher's.

Within Farnborough the only naturally occurring significant flowing water is Cove Brook.

Farnborough's lowest temperature (−14.2c) was recorded on 20 December 2010.

Farnborough's highest temperature (36.1c) was recorded on 10 August 2003.

Climate data for Farnborough, Hampshire, UK
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 62.5
Source: Weather.com[1]


Name changes: Ferneberga (11th century); Farnburghe, Farenberg (13th century); Farnborowe, Fremborough, Farneborough (16th century).

Tower Hill

Tower Hill, Cove: There is substantial evidence[2] that many years ago a large accumulation of Sarsen stones existed upon what later came to be known as Tower Hill.

Farnborough Abbey

The town is the home of St. Michael's Abbey. The Imperial Crypt there is the resting place of Napoleon III (1808–1873), Emperor of the French, and his wife, Eugénie de Montijo, (1826–1920)[3] and their son, Napoléon, Prince Imperial. Since 2007 the Abbey has been the home of the Catholic National Library.

River Blackwater

The River Blackwater on the Hampshire/Surrey border was the location of the first international prize fight between Tom Sayers and John C. Heenan, which took place near the location of the Ship Inn pub.[4][5]

Samuel Cody

Closely associated with Farnborough Airfield, situated between Farnborough and Fleet, is Samuel Franklin Cody. Cody, or Colonel Sam Cody as he was known, was one of the early pioneers of aviation. He died when he crashed his plane on Ball Hill, a site which is now within Qinetiq's Technology Park. A statue was unveiled on the 100th anniversary of his death, 7 August 2013. The statue is sited outside the FAST museum, home of the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust, surrounded by commemorative paving paid for by supporters.


Main Fan in Building Q121
Main Fan in Building Q121

Farnborough Airfield is the site of the historic Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE). Part of the old RAE, Farnborough's historic wind tunnels are now listed buildings, two in particular preserved. The first built in 1917 and the other, much larger, in 1935. The latter was used extensively for research into Concorde aerodynamics, Formula 1 cars until its closure in the early 1990s. The tunnels were open to the public during June and July 2014 until the end of the Farnborough International Airshow.

Sir Frank Whittle conducted much of his research into jet aircraft at the RAE. A replica Gloster E.28/39 (based on his prototype) is sited on a roundabout along Ively Road in tribute to its inventor.

A monument to the Gloster E.28/39

The Tumble Down Dick

The Tumble Down Dick

An inn, The Tumble Down Dick Pub has been present on the A325 Farnborough Road since the 17th Century. It was reputedly connected to Richard Cromwell, and was the central focus of the town before its 19th century refocus toward North Camp and the town centre proper's 20th century development. The pub closed in 2008 and was designated an "Asset of Community Value" in 2013 after local protest over a request for planning permission by McDonald's.[6] The ACV status was later rescinded after an appeal by the site's owners. Permission was granted for the site's conversion to a McDonald's restaurant on 9 October 2013, and the building reopened with a new roof in October 2014 after being allowed to lie derelict for six years. During the renovation, an early advertisement for the Reading Simmonds Brewery was discovered and is now on full display on the side of the building.


Farnborough is near junctions 4 and 4a of the M3 motorway. The A325 enters the town from Frimley to the north, and continues into Aldershot to the south. The A331 runs north to south along the east side of the town.

Farnborough is served by three railway stations, the busiest of which is Farnborough (Main) railway station on the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo to Basingstoke and beyond. Farnborough North railway station and North Camp railway station are both on the North Downs Line between Reading and Gatwick.[7] North Camp station is a short distance over the county border, in the Surrey village of Ash Vale.[8]

Since 2003 Farnborough Airport has been a business airport operated by TAG Aviation. The Farnborough International Airshow takes place at the airport on even numbered years.



Farnborough is part of the Borough of Rushmoor, along with Aldershot.[9] It contains eight wards, each with three elected borough councillors. Until 2011, there were nine wards, but following the Electoral boundary reviews,[10] Grange and Mayfield wards were merged to create Cherrywood ward.[11] The full list of wards and their councillors is as follows:

Cove & Southwood:[12] Cllr. Sue Carter (Conservative), Cllr. Alan Chainey (Conservative), Cllr. Martin Tennant (Conservative)

Cherrywood:[13] Cllr. Clive Grattan (Labour), Cllr. Barry Jones (Labour), Cllr. Les Taylor (Labour)

Empress:[14] Cllr. David Clifford (Conservative), Cllr. Gareth Lyon (Conservative), Cllr. Brian Parker (Conservative)

Fernhill:[15] Cllr. Alan Ferrier (Conservative), Cllr. John Marsh (Conservative), Cllr. Ken Muschamp (Conservative)

Knellwood:[16] Cllr. Roland Dibbs (Conservative), Cllr. Adam Jackman (Conservative), Cllr. Paul Taylor (Conservative)

St. Johns:[17] Cllr. Jacqui Vosper (Conservative), Cllr. Barbara Hurst (Conservative), Cllr. Peter Moyle (Conservative)

St. Marks:[18] Cllr. Dianne Bedford (Conservative), Cllr. Rod Cooper (Conservative), Cllr. Liz Corps (Conservative)

West Heath:[19] Cllr. Steve Smith (Labour), Cllr. Mark Staplehurst (UK Independence Party), Cllr. Malcolm Small (UK Independence Party)


Farnborough is represented on Hampshire County Council by three Divisions, each with a single elected representative. Each District covers three wards of Rushmoor Borough Council.

North Farnborough:[20] Cllr. Carol Leversha (Conservative) (Cove & Southwood, St. Johns & West Heath Wards)

South Farnborough:[21] Cllr. John Wall (Conservative) (Empress, Knellwood & St. Marks Wards)

West Farnborough:[22] Cllr. Roz Chadd (Conservative) (Fernhill, Grange & Mayfield Wards)


The local MP is Gerald Howarth (Conservative) for the Constituency of Aldershot, a former defence minister.

Notable residents


Only some parts of Farnborough are served by two free local newspapers, The Star Courier (published from 18 September 2008 as a combination of the former Surrey Hants Star and the Aldershot Farnborough Courier) and The Rush, along with one local available for purchase, The Farnborough News & Mail.[27] Although the local ITV news region is ITV Meridian and the local BBC TV news region is BBC South, the area is also served from Crystal Palace and Guildford transmitters carrying London programming. Farnborough is covered by BBC radio on BBC Surrey. Local commercial radio stations are 96.4 Eagle Radio and Eagle Extra as well as Heart Thames Valley.


Cody Technology Park

The headquarters of QinetiQ is located in Cody Technology Park.

Farnborough Aerospace Centre (business park)

File:FarnboroughAerospaceCentre panorama.jpg
Part of Farnborough Aerospace Centre.

Farnborough Aerospace Centre is a business park south of the airfield.

IQ Farnborough (business park)

The reconstructed airship hangar at IQ Farnborough.

Adjacent to the airport, IQ Farnborough (formerly Farnborough Business Park),[28] is a development.

When completed it will include new housing, a new aviation library and the refurbishing of the listed wind tunnels on the site. Current tenants include: AgustaWestland, Autodesk, a BMW & MINI dealership, Costco warehouse, Blue Coat Systems, Bluhalo,[29] Defence Strategy & Solutions, Imagine Homes, a hotel, Orcare Limited,[30] Fluor Limited,[31] Red Hat and DGTL,[32]

On the park is the frame of a 1910 Airship Hangar which had previously been dismantled to house wind tunnels, but is now reconstructed – minus its outer skin – to make an impressive centrepiece. The structure has now been listed and protected as a Grade II building.

During the fifteenth series of Top Gear a race was performed around the business park.

BMW in 2013 announced that they will move their UK headquarters from Bracknell to the old Nokia facility on the outskirts of Farnborough.[33]

Other notable companies

Other notable companies present in Farnborough are Aon Hewitt, Qualcomm, IBM, Absolute Validation, Toshiba, Lockheed Martin. Diners Club International and RBS.

Other industry

Farnborough's North Camp district is notable as being the location of Hampshire's only full-throughput abattoir, nestled between housing and a school at Peabody Road. It is licensed to kill bulls, cows, sheep, pigs and goats.[34]


Farnborough has one main shopping centre divided into three areas; Kingsmead and Queensmead (which are currently undergoing redevelopment into 'The Meads') and Princesmead. There are three supermarkets in Farnborough. Towards the south of Farnborough is North Camp village with independent retailers.

Solartron retail park is located to the West of the town centre.

On the border with Frimley, there is a retail park known as Blackwater Retail Park (formerly Farnborough Gate).


State education


There are currently seventeen primary schools in Farnborough.[when?]

  • Cherrywood Community Primary School
  • Cove Infant School
  • Cove Junior School
  • Fernhill Primary School
  • Grange Community Junior School
  • Guillemont Junior School
  • Manor Infant School
  • Manor Junior School
  • North Farnborough Infant School
  • Parsonage Farm Infant School
  • Pinewood Infant School
  • South Farnborough Infant School
  • South Farnborough Junior School
  • Southwood Infant School
  • St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School
  • St Mark's Church of England Aided Primary School
  • St Patrick's Catholic Primary School
  • St Peter's Church of England Aided Junior School
  • Tower Hill Primary School


There are three state secondary schools in Farnborough. All three are non-selective, mixed comprehensives, for pupils aged 11–16.

There are two independent Roman Catholic secondary schools in Farnborough. Both are single-sex, selective and include sixth forms. (2012 GCSE score in parentheses)


The town is home to the Sixth Form College, Farnborough, which draws in around 3,000 students aged 16–19 from the surrounding area.

Farnborough College of Technology is a further-education institution specialising in BTEC, A-level and vocational courses for students aged 16+.

Higher education

Whilst there are no universities in Farnborough, Farnborough College of Technology provides degree-level courses, accredited by the University of Surrey.

There are universities, which lie with 30 km (19 mi) of the town :-

Town centre

The centre of Farnborough includes the Kingsmead, Queensmead and Princesmead shopping precincts. In February 2007, in a bid to address local perceptions, Rushmoor Borough Council unveiled plans to radically renovate the centre of Farnborough over the next two decades. The town centre study[36] outlines major changes to the council offices, Farnborough's main railway station, the local road network and the continuation of the improvements to Farnborough's town centre, including the development of a Discovery Centre (a Hampshire County Council initiative aimed at improving libraries in the county).

Work is underway to construct a new retail area with an entertainment complex. Several new blocks of flats have also been built adjacent to the town centre. Following a public consultation during the winter 2011–12, a 'town centre prospectus' outlining extensive redevelopment plans for the whole centre, including the building of a new cinema, a significant expansion of the available retail space, a new look for Queensmead shopping street and a community-led theatre or cultural venue.[37]

On the edge of the town centre, is Farnborough Leisure Centre, which has a swimming pool, gym, indoor bowling, squash courts and ten pin bowling.



The football club, Farnborough F.C. (known as Farnborough Town FC until 2007),[38] play in the Conference South. As Farnborough Town F.C., the team came to national prominence in 2003 when they reached the 4th round of the FA Cup, where they played the previous season's Cup winners Arsenal at Highbury. They were drawn to play the tie at home but was switched on police advice. The match was won 5–1 by Arsenal. As Farnborough F.C they have won the British Gas Business South and West and Premier division and got to the final of the Hampshire Senior Cup against Basingstoke but lost. The town's other clubs are Cove F.C, Farnborough North End and South Farnborough F.C. These teams play in the Southern Counties League and Aldershot & District League respectively.


Established in 1915 (originally as the Royal Aircraft Factory Rugby Union Football Club) Farnborough Rugby Football Club[39] is primarily a rugby union club based at Tile Barn Close in Farnborough. They play in Hampshire Division 1. They also have a Minis and Juniors section which caters for boys from 5 to 19 years of age and girls from 5 to 12 years of age. In the summer 2007 season they also fielded a successful rugby league team, winning the Co-op Southern Conference competition in their first year of entering.


One cricket club in Farnborough is Cove Cricket Club.[40] The club was established in 1935.[citation needed] It fields five senior sides on a Saturday including an Academy XI playing in the Morrant Thames Valley Cricket League and one side on a Sunday playing a combination of league and friendly games. In 2007 Cove established a mini's section, providing cricket related fun on a Monday evening for players aged 4 to 7. Cove run boys teams at U9, U11, U13, and U15 and girls teams at U13 and U15.

Another cricket team, the "Frogmore Amateur Cricket Club", currently based in nearby Frogmore are planning a relocation to Farnborough.[citation needed]


Camberley and Farnborough Hockey Club[41] play men and women's field hockey in nearby Camberley (Kings International College). The London 2012 Bronze medal winning Alex Danson went to school and played hockey at Farnborough Hill.


Layout from the Farnborough District Motor Club Summer Solo Event

The Farnborough District Motor Club holds rallies, autocross, sprint, hillclimbing events throughout the year.[42]


Farnborough Phantoms Basketball Club[43] was formed in 1996 and has men's, ladies' and junior teams which play in local leagues.

Twinned towns

Rushmoor is twinned with:[44]

Neighbouring areas

See also


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External links

Media related to Farnborough at Wikimedia Commons