So, a couple of wedding guests have now asked me if I’ve got any tips on places they can visit before or after the wedding to make a long weekend. I lived in Farnham for thirteen years. I’ve been to Birdworld world (tip number 1) more times than I can count. If there is any vaguely entertaining thing to do in the surrounding area, I’ve done it. I’ve tried to feature a range of indoor and outdoor activities for all weathers and for all budgets (the last tip is free).
NB, might be worth checking all the websites to see if these places are open over the Bank Holiday as I am too lazy to do this for you, sorry.
1. If you like birds (and fish too), visit Birdworld
When I was a child no holiday weekend was complete without a trip to Birdworld and it’s sister site and my personal favourite Underwater world. Birdworld is on the outskirts of Farnham and plays host to Penguin beach (watch the penguins swoop underwater), owls just like in Harry Potter, parrots, and scary ostriches. If you have kids or if like me you just like petting strange animals def pay a visit to the Jenny Wren petting farm inside Birdworld to touch goats, rabbits and even a tiny horse!
2. If you like retro entertainment, visit the Hollycombe Working Steam Museum
Think steam trains, steam carousels and steam big wheels. Basically if you like steam Hollycombe Working Steam Museum has it. Cool retro fun.
3. If you like swinging from trees, visit Alice Holt Forest
If you’re an adventurist than the Alice Holt Forest is for you. Not only does it host Go Ape where for medium-sized fee you can dangle from the trees miles off the ground. There are also bikes for hire, wildlife walks of varying intensity and plenty of kid friendly adventure playgrounds.
4. If you’re a fan of Pride and Prejudice (and if you’re not, why are you coming to my wedding?), visit Jane Austen’s House
Chawton was where Jane Austen spent the last 13 years of her life. The house has been perfectly perserved in its (tiny) historic beauty. I loved seeing her writing desk by the window where she would hide her writing beneath letters if guests arrived and know that here she wrote Persuasion and revised the great Pride and Prejudice. If you want tea and cake or something more substantial visit the lovely Cassandras Cup across the road, they even do gluten-free food.
5. If you’re a scientist visit Gilbert White’s House
Gilbert White is an amazing 18th century naturalist and his house is full of manuscripts and intricate drawings of his observations. But when I think of visits to his house only one word comes to mind: tortoises!
6. If you’re a history buff visit Farnham Castle
Overlooking the town is the distinctive red brick of Farnham Castle. Built in 1138 AD by Henry de Bois, William the Conquerors grandson the castle has been continuously occupied for 900 years. It’s surrounded by 320-acre park, with great views over Farnham which we spent our teenage years getting drunk in and rolling down the hill. Fun times.
7. If you like beer, visit the Hogs Back Brewery
The Hogs Back Brewery brews yummy real ales and offers tours of the brewery as well as a small shop stocked full of beer and beer related goods.
8. If you only go to one place on this list make it Waverley Abbey
Waverley Abbey is where HWSNBN proposed knowing that is my favourite place. The Abbey is actually the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey torn down by Henry VII and one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been to. From the Abbey you can walk alongside the water meadows to Mother Ludlam’s cave which is full of bats. Most of all, it’s free. So there are no excuses. Go. Go now!
Farnhamites current and former, have I missed your favourite place? Tell me in the comments.