Frensham Ponds were originally created in the 13th century to supply fish to the Bishop of Winchester whilst visiting Farnham Castle.
Today the ponds (great and little) and the surrounding area is a sanctuary for wildlife and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Look out for reed bunting, sedge warbler and great crested grebe, as well as nightjars and woodlarks. The great pond is also the backdrop for an hotel and used for sailing and fishing.
Part of the Greensand Way that crosses Surrey, and once drained during WWII as they were visible landmarks for the enemy, Frensham Little and Great ponds provide a wonderful local location to discover. A perfect place to run, walk dogs, build sandcastles, sail and even paddle in the summer months. Both have cafe facilities.
Frensham Ponds are part of the National Trust network and managed by Waverley Borough Council.
For a relaxing day whatever time of the year, Frensham Ponds are a great escape from the hustle and bustle. Follow a beautiful walk with a cream tea at Frensham Pond Hotel, Frensham Garden Centre or the Rural Life Centre.
Banner image © Julian Paynter
The Library in Farnham warmly welcomes anyone to visit its multitude of facilities including lovely library gardens.
Enrolment is free of charge with anyone able to borrow 20 books. The library has 11 PCs with free internet access and free tutored courses are on offer. Book a computer. Help is also available to apply for your free bus pass where eligible.
The library also welcome families into Farnham Library. “Rhyme time” sessions are run on a Tuesday morning at 11am.
To renew online visit www.surreycc.gov.uk
Parking and accessibility
The nearest public car parks are Waggon Yard and Lower and Upper Hart, these are pay and display car parks. The library is on one level with adjacent disabled parking.
The library has automatic doors and a hearing loop is installed. There is also a disabled toilet.
Opening times (from October 30 2017)
Looking for something different – pop into Farnham library on West Street with its weekly story time sessions and lovely garden where playful events are held, the Museum of Farnham also along West Street with its’ changing exhibitions or Challengers, St James Avenue with its great facilities for all on a Sunday.
Ceramics cafes offer a creative indoor option, with one family friendly ceramics cafe studio in Downing Street and another pottery painting studio in Badshot Lea at Squires Garden Centre.
England’s first Cistercian abbey was built near Farnham. The now ruins of Waverley Abbey are situated in a peaceful loop of the River Wey and still give an impression of the solitude experienced by the monks who founded a monastery here almost 900 years ago.
The monastery at Waverley, the first Cistercian abbey to be established in England, was founded by William Gifford, Bishop of Winchester, in 1128. It was colonised with 12 monks and an abbot from Aumone in France. By 1187 there were 70 monks and 120 lay brothers in residence. In 1201 the abbey buildings were badly flooded. This became a common occurrence and as a result the abbey was substantially rebuilt during the 13th century. It continued to grow in the 14th century. The monks and lay brothers farmed the surrounding land, were active in the Cistercian wool trade and provided shelter for pilgrims, travellers and an infirmary for the sick.
In 1536, with the dissolution of the monasteries, the site passed to Sir William Fitzherbert, treasurer of the king’s household. Much of the abbey was dismantled and some of the stone was reused to build Sir William More’s house at Loseley, a few miles to the east.
Today the site is managed by English Heritage and is free to visit. Only parts, some substantial, of the buildings remain standing, although archaeological excavation has recovered the complete ground plan.
Don’t miss the graphic panels that tell the story of this important monastery.
Please note: dogs on leads are allowed and limited parking is available.
How to find Waverley Abbey
Museum of Farnham
“The neatest spot on earth – all there is garden.” William Cobbett describing Farnham.
Farnham is a town of outstanding Georgian architecture and a designated town of craft with a lively and artistic atmosphere. The museum aims to reflect this in a varied programme of exhibitions and events for adults and children alike. The museum was founded in 1961 to provide the Farnham community with a collection dedicated to the history of the local area. The elegant Grade I listed Georgian townhouse retains many original features, including a beautiful walled garden perfect for picnics.
Displays include items from a large and eclectic collection; from archaeological artefacts to nationally important artworks by local artists and an extensive costume collection. The museum holds three major exhibitions per year which aim to please and surprise, from artistic collaborations to exhibitions designed for children and families.
Five things to see and do at the museum
1. Discover the history of a beautiful Grade I listed Georgian townhouse and its many occupants
2. Try the children’s trail or one of the activity packs for all ages
3. Have a look at the exhibitions and find out if you are an adventurous archaeologist or a civil war buff
4. See the wonderful history garden spanning from Roman gardening to a working World War II allotment
5. Join in with brass rubbing or a crafty half-term activity for children or sign up for Museum Club
If you’ve got a bit longer…
6. Ask at the local studies library for assistance with your latest school project
7. Have a picnic in the garden
8. Enjoy one of the new temporary exhibitions
9. Join the hunt for the hundred year old biscuit!
Audio guides, tours and children’s guides are available.
The Garden Gallery
A modern community venue for the town. The beautiful garden gallery in the museum garden is available for parties, conferences, exhibitions and weekly courses.
Hiring the Gallery
The gallery is self-contained and consists of a entrance hall, a main area, kitchen and toilet (disability accessible and baby changing). The building is fully wheelchair accessible and can accommodate up to 80 people. It is available for hire throughout the week, including evenings and weekends.
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm
Wheelchair access to ground floor, shop toilet, Garden Gallery and garden.
Museum of Farnham garden room
Alice Holt Forest
You can walk, cycle, play or have a picnic in these lovely woods. Find the wooden sculptures which younger visitors can climb and enjoy, the Timberline Trail. Experience life in the trees with Go Ape, take a relaxing break in the café and finish your visit with a quiet stroll in one of the more remote parts of the forest. Hire bikes or bring your own there is a family cycle trail to discover.
Alice Holt is free to visit, just car parking charges to pay for your day out. An annual car parking pass makes excellent value if you live locally. And with rooms to hire you can now hold an event or party here in the Farnham countryside.
Alice Holt Forest is open everyday (except Christmas Day) 8am- 5pm (December-February), 6pm (March), 7pm(April), 9pm (May- Spetember), 7pm (October) and 6pm (November)
The Rural Life Centre
The Rural Life Centre is set in over ten acres of garden and woodland, housed in purpose-built and reconstructed buildings including a chapel, cricket pavilion and school room.
Numerous events are held throughout the year from donkey days out to Weyfest. See the museum’s events calendar for details.
Summer opening (March to the beginning of November) – Wednesday to Sunday plus Bank Holiday Mondays 10am-5pm
Winter opening – Wednesdays and Sundays only – 11am – 4pm.
Birdworld one of the largest bird parks in the country, located on the Surrey border with Hampshire it is a great place to explore for a fun and informative day out. In addition to a walk around 26 acres of aviaries and beautiful landscaped gardens, visitors can admire over 800 birds and 180 species from around the world and take part in educational feeding sessions throughout the day. Popular exhibits include The Terry Pratchett Owl Parliament, Penguin Beach and Flamingo Cove whilst, Underwater World and The Jenny Wren Farm also prove to be a big hit with all who visit.
Open daily from 10am until 6pm (30 March – 28 Oct inclusive) and daily from 10am until 4.30pm during the winter months.
Last admissions are an hour before closing.