So, today was a beautiful day. I was pretty relieved about that, because as part of our plan to build up the residents’ point of view part of the website, I had arranged to have one of our Blackbushe Park residents (and her guest) road-test a day out in Farnham. They went for a look around Farnham Castle, and then for afternoon tea at The Bush Hotel. The following day I went to see Mrs Thurlby at home to get her review of both parts of the afternoon. Read the feature on their experience here.
While I was waiting for the ladies to have their look around the Castle and enjoy their tea, I drove down into Farnham and tried to capture how pretty and enjoyable a place the town is to spend an afternoon.
I love the Lion & Lamb Courtyard. I can remember climbing on the lion statue when I was a little kid…
I’ve lived near Farnham for about thirty years, and always really liked the place, but after trying to capture it on camera, I can now actually tell you why it’s so lovely.
Part of the appeal of the High Street is the way that buildings that date back as far as the fifteenth century, nestle comfortably alongside neighbouring buildings of all ages. Even if you come into Farnham in a rush, to do a quick errand, it still feels somehow cosy.
And of course, there is the incredible view that suddenly emerges as you walk along the High Street and pass Castle Street.
I particularly like the way that between the width of Castle Street, which allows for market stalls, and the narrow mews streets and pretty alleys that run off the main thoroughfare, you get a really strong feel of how the town must have been when the main mode of transport had four legs and ran on hay…
While I was exploring up Castle Street, I suddenly noticed The Corn Exchange, which I admit I must have rather been ignoring for the last 30 years! There were still a few vivid roseblooms hanging on in September. I love the contrast between the smart busy town, with all its contemporary shops and current concerns, and the care that is taken to preserve a 300 year old building and the shape of its plot of land.
And finally, because of course, I was actually looking for chances to take pretty photographs, I realised that there are lots of little historical details in Farnham, woven into the modern town. More than I’d ever noticed, before.
The Lion statue; really pretty carved wooden features on a jewelers’ shop on the corner of Castle Street; a very detailed iron, gold leaf and copper verdigris sailing ship, on what is now the NatWest building.
In case you are thinking of exploring the town yourself, it is very easy to reach from Blackbushe Park. I drove from the A30, through Fleet, down Reading Road South, following this route as Reading Road becomes Beacon Hill. I then turned onto the A287 and followed it into Folly Hill, which passes the Castle, and comes down into Farnham via Castle Street. I parked easily first of all in the Lion & Lamb car park, reached via The Hart and Lion & Lamb Way. Then while I waited for the ladies to finish their tea, I parked in the car park behind The Ashgate Gallery off Lower Church Lane, and again, there were ample available spaces.
See the residents’ area page describing Mrs Thurlby’s and her guest’s experience of Farnham Castle & Afternoon Tea.