Farnborough, Hampshire

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".

Location within Hampshire
Population65,034 — 2011 census, including exurb Ash Vale[1]
OS grid referenceSU871554
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtGU14
Dialling code01252, 01276
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament

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 forms, with Blackwater and Aldershot, a projection of northeast Hampshire into Surrey. The River Blackwater marks the county boundary. It is centred 34 miles (55 km) WSW of London and 16 miles (26 km) east of Basingstoke. It is directly to the south of junction 4 of the M3 motorway and its Cove/West Heath parts, included its official GSS built-up area is north-west of the town centre; a similar area, North Camp, is immediately south and a smaller area, Southwood, to the west. The town lies at the centre of the Blackwater Valley conurbation, which includes Aldershot, Camberley, Yateley, Sandhurst, Frimley and Farnham.

North Camp is contiguous with the garrison town of Aldershot to the south. Its northern parts abut Frimley to the east and the Hawley part of Blackwater to the north. The council of the local government district of Rushmoor is based in the town, having borough status and including 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.

The Met Office have a weather station at Farnborough Airport which has been operating since 1914.

Climate data for Farnborough, Hampshire, UK (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.5
Average low °C (°F) 1.3
Average rainfall mm (inches) 67.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 53.2 75.2 112.2 166.5 193.3 185.0 212.0 201.0 142.9 112.4 67.5 50.6 1,571.8
Source: Met Office[2]


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

Tower Hill

Tower Hill, Cove: There is substantial evidence[3] 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)[4] and their son, Napoléon, Prince Imperial. The Abbey was the home of the Catholic National Library from 2007 until it was relocated to Durham University Library in 2015.[5]

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.[6][7]

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.


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 being preserved, the first built in 1917 and the other, much larger, in 1935. The latter was used extensively for research into Concorde's aerodynamics, and later that of 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.

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.[8] 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.[9] North Camp station is a short distance over the county border, in the Surrey village of Ash Vale.[10]

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.[11] It contains eight wards, each with three elected borough councillors. Until 2011, there were nine wards, but following the Electoral boundary reviews,[12] Grange and Mayfield wards were merged to create Cherrywood ward.[13] The full list of wards and their councillors is as follows:

Cove & Southwood:[14] Cllr. Sue Carter (Conservative), Cllr. Steve Masterson (Conservative), Cllr. Martin Tennant (Conservative)

Cherrywood:[15] Cllr. Clive Grattan (Labour), Cllr. Christine Guinness (Labour), Cllr. Ashley Halstead (Labour)

Empress:[16] Cllr. Marina Munro (Conservative), Cllr. Adrian Newell (Conservative), Cllr. Mike Smith (Conservative)

Fernhill:[17] Cllr. John Marsh (Conservative), Cllr. Ken Muschamp (Conservative), One vacancy

Knellwood:[18] Cllr. Mara Makunura (Conservative), Cllr. Calum Stewart (Conservative), Cllr. Paul Taylor (Conservative)

St. Johns:[19] Cllr. Jacqui Vosper (Conservative), Cllr. Barbara Hurst (Conservative), Cllr. Jonathan Canty (Conservative)

St. Marks:[20] Cllr. Dianne Bedford (Conservative), Cllr. Abul Chowdhury (Liberal Democrats), Cllr. Thomas Mitchell (Liberal Democrats)

West Heath:[21] Cllr. Rod Cooper (Conservative), Cllr. Lee Jeffers (Conservative), Cllr. Veronica Graham-Green (Conservative)


Farnborough is represented on Hampshire County Council by three Divisions, each with a single elected representative.

Farnborough North:[22] Cllr. Roz Chadd (Conservative)

Farnborough South:[23] Cllr. Roland Dibbs (Conservative)

Farnborough West:[24] Cllr. Rod Cooper (Conservative)


Since 2017, the local MP is Leo Docherty (Conservative) for the Constituency of Aldershot, a former captain in the army.

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.[29] 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)

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

IQ Farnborough (business park)

Adjacent to the airport, IQ Farnborough (formerly Farnborough Business Park),[30] 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,[31] Defence Strategy & Solutions, Imagine Homes, a hotel, Orcare Limited,[32] Fluor Limited,[33] Red Hat and DGTL,[34]

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.

In 2013, BMW announced that it will move its UK headquarters from Bracknell to the former Nokia facility on the outskirts of Farnborough.[35]

Other notable companies

Other notable companies present in Farnborough are Zurich Insurance, Aon Hewitt, BAE Systems, Qualcomm, Lockheed Martin, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Fluor Corporation and Lok'nStore.

Other industry

Farnborough's North Camp district is notable as being the location of Hampshire's only full-throughput abattoir. The abattoir is nestled between housing and a school, its site having entrances on both Peabody Road and Sherborne Road. It is licensed to kill bulls, cows, sheep, pigs and goats.[36]


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.

  • 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 4,000 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, University Centre Farnborough (UCF) at Farnborough College of Technology, provides degree-level courses, accredited by the University of Surrey.

Town centre

The centre of Farnborough includes the Kingsmead, Queensmead and Princesmead Shopping precincts. In February 2007, Rushmoor Borough Council unveiled plans to renovate the centre of Farnborough over the next two decades. The town centre study[38] 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 was published.[39]

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 FC (known as Farnborough Town FC until 2007),[40] play in the Conference South. As Farnborough Town FC, the team came to national prominence in 2003 when they reached the fourth 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 the venue was switched on police advice. The match was won 5–1 by Arsenal. As Farnborough FC 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, Farnborough North End and South Farnborough. 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[41] 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.[42] 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.


Camberley and Farnborough Hockey Club[43] play men and women's field hockey in nearby Camberley (Kings International College). The London 2012 Bronze medal and Rio 2016 Gold medal winning Alex Danson went to school and played hockey at Farnborough Hill. Danson is now the captain of the Great Britain Women's Hockey Team.


The Farnborough District Motor Club holds rallies, autocross, sprint, hillclimbing events throughout the year.[44]


Farnborough Phantoms Basketball Club[45] was formed in 1996 and has men's, ladies' and junior teams which play in local leagues.

Twinned towns

Rushmoor is twinned with:[46]

Neighbouring areas

See also


  1. https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/localarea?compare=1119883822,2013265928,2092957699
  2. "Farnborough Climate 1981–2010". June 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  3. 'Parishes: Farnborough', A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 15–18. Date accessed: 1 October 2008.
  4. "Farnborough – Towns and Villages in Hampshire". Visit Hampshire. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  5. "Catholic National Library moves to Durham University". Catholic Herald. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  6. "Frimley photos, maps, books, memories". Francisfrith.com. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  7. Archived 19 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "The Tumbledown Dick public house". Rushmoor Borough Council. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  9. "Travelling by train in Rushmoor". Rushmoor Borough Council. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  10. Guildford & Farnham : Godalming & Farnborough (Map) (B2 ed.). 1 : 25,000. Explorer. Ordnance Survey. 2007. ISBN 978-0-319-23926-1.
  11. "Page not found". rushmoor.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 19 June 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  12. "Electoral boundary reviews- Rushmoor Borough Council". Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  13. "One in four children in ward living in 'poverty'- Gethampshire". Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  14. "Cove and Southwood – Rushmoor Borough Council". Rushmoor.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  15. "Cherrywood – Rushmoor Borough Council". Rushmoor.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  16. "Empress – Rushmoor Borough Council". Rushmoor.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  17. "Fernhill – Rushmoor Borough Council". Rushmoor.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  18. "Knellwood – Rushmoor Borough Council". Rushmoor.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  19. "St John's – Rushmoor Borough Council". Rushmoor.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  20. "St Mark's – Rushmoor Borough Council". Rushmoor.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  21. rushmoor.gov.uk http://www.rushmoor.gov.uk/article/4606/West-Heath. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. "County Council Election 2017". .hants.gov.uk. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  23. "County Council Election 2017". .hants.gov.uk. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  24. "County Council Election 2017". .hants.gov.uk. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  25. "Napoleon III of France". chislehurst-society.org.uk.
  26. "Farnborough Hill". guidetoindependentschools.com.
  27. "Shaun Udal". Cricinfo.
  28. "T.E. Lawrence (Soldier) by Britain Unlimited". britainunlimited.com.
  29. "Farnborough". gethampshire.
  30. "Farnborough Business Park".
  31. "gyro: Igniting business decisions in a numb world". bluhalo.com.
  32. "Website Design and Build by Umbraco Gold Partners in Camberley, Surrey – Orcare". orcare.com.
  33. "Fluor – Global Engineering Construction Company – EPC Services". fluor.com.
  34. "Web design and web development agency in Farnborough Hampshire". Dgtl – A website design and website development and website localisation company located in Farnborough, Hampshire.
  35. "Relocations for BMW and Honda UK headquarters". AM Online. 14 February 2014.
  36. North camp abattoir
  37. "Farnborough Hill". farnborough-hill.org.uk.
  38. "Farnborough town centre study". Rushmoor District Council. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2009.
  39. "New plans for Farnborough town centre- Rushmoor Borough Council". Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  40. "Farnborough Football Club". farnboroughfc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 August 2011.
  41. "Farnborough Rugby Club". farnboroughrugby.co.uk.
  42. Cove Cricket Club
  43. "Camberley & Farnborough Hockey Club". candfhockey.co.uk.
  44. "FDMC – Farnborough District Motor Club, Hampshire, England". farnboroughdmc.org.uk. Archived from the original on 24 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  45. farnboroughphantoms.com
  46. "Twinning Association of Rushmoor". The Farnborough Society. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  47. "Ville de Meudon – Villes jumelles". Ville de Meudon. Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
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