Destination Farnborough

Farnborough has hosted its world famous Airshow since 1948 and we are proud to welcome the aerospace sector every 2 years to continue inspiring pioneering change.

  • Share this page:

With its plentiful green spaces, rich aviation history and diverse array of amenities, Farnborough offers a good blend of urban convenience with access to rural tranquillity.

History

Farnborough has a rich history in aviation dating back to the early 20th century. The town’s proximity to Aldershot, home of the British Army, established it as a premier location for aviation research and development.

Farnborough’s proud aeronautical legacy includes the historic milestone of Colonel Samuel Cody's pioneering flight, the first in the UK. This marked the birth of powered aviation in Britain (more about the history of flight can be found at the nearby FAST Museum).

The town was also at the forefront of turbojet engine development, with the RAE leading advancements in technology that powered jet aircraft worldwide. This included research and testing for the development of Concorde, which revolutionized commercial air travel.

A world-renowned aerospace and defence cluster

Farnborough is home to Europe’s number one airport for business flight and the birthplace of British aviation, with the first UK powered flight taking off from the airfield in 1908. The region boasts some of the biggest names in aerospace and defence including Gulfstream, Boeing, BAE Systems, QinetiQ Fluor and L3 Harris.

Farnborough serves as a global stage for cutting-edge technologies, aerospace advancements, and groundbreaking discoveries. With its world-class research facilities and dynamic business environment, Farnborough is a magnet for forward-thinking companies with more than 70 aerospace business located near Farnborough Airport.

The area is also at the forefront of the transition to sustainable aviation. Across Hampshire and Surrey, there is an emerging cluster of activity focused on the transition to net-zero within the aviation sector and across its supply chain. There is a relatively high incidence of organisations that are engaged in activities linked to Jet Zero and some of these are local spinouts.

Premier Location

Farnborough is in northeast Hampshire, 50 km southwest of London, in the borough of Rushmoor. Situated close to Junction 4 of the M3, which connects the town to London, the south coast and the M25. The town also benefits from fast rail connections, including a 34-minute service to London Waterloo.

The local borough can be proud of a growing working age population of 101,100 and more economically active individuals than both the regional and national average. Nearly half of all residents (44.7%) are educated to degree level of higher.

The borough (together with Guildford and Basingstoke) is a primary hub for investment and innovation, which together accounted for 60% of all inward investments in the Hampshire and Surrey area over the period 2013-19.

A recent report by the Centre for Cities*, which compared 63 urban areas, highlights the strengths of the borough:

  • Farnborough comes out as No.1 in productivity growth and has the second highest GVA per hour worked.
  • Farnborough is one of only seven places that had cumulative disposable incomes that were higher than what 1998 to 2010 growth rates would have achieved.
  • Farnborough has a relatively high business stock (9th) and ratio of private to public sector jobs (4th).
  • Farnborough is 6th in the number of ‘new economy firms’ and is higher than Oxford, Edinburgh and Manchester.
  • Farnborough has the 2nd highest employment rate.
  • Farnborough has the 5th highest ultrafast broadband speeds.

A supportive ecosystem

The area benefits from an abundance of high-quality office space on the fringes of Farnborough Airport. Farnborough Business Park is home of a number of global organisations and includes the UK headquarters of Lenovo, Gulfstream, DXC and Gama Aviation. The nearby Aerospace Boulevard boasts Phillips, Siemens and Alexander Dennis as its tenants. Innovation thrives at Cody Technology Park which features QinetiQ as its anchor tenant. The site comprises approximately 1.3m sq. ft of buildings on a site totalling c.183 hectares with a wide variety of accommodation ranging from high quality offices to laboratory and R&D space.

Local businesses can take advantage of a skilled labour market and a pipeline of new talent coming through the Universities of Southampton, Portsmouth and Surrey which are in close proximity. Additionally, Farnborough College of Technology has a dedicated aerospace and university centre supplying the next generation of aerospace engineers.

Farnborough Aerospace Consortium (FAC) is a trade association with national and international members. It is the longest established aerospace and defence trade body in the UK, providing support to some 300 companies located in southern England – the heart of the UK’s aerospace industry.

Through its experience and expertise, FAC acts as an enabler for business between large primes and the supply chain, particularly Small to Medium Size Enterprises. It enables its members to become more competitive and increase their market share through facilitating local and international trading, technology transfer and development, sharing of best practice and training plus lobbying at national level on key issues facing the sector.

 

Things to do:

The region benefits from a rich heritage celebrated through the following amenities:

Farnborough Heritage Trails

Five self-guided walking trails that cover the civilian and aviation history of Farnborough. Free to download. Find out more at: www.rushmoor.gov.uk/heritagetrails

Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (‘FAST’) Museum

The Museum displays photographs and exhibits from the early years of aviation and important pieces of aviation history. The building is a museum piece, as Trenchard House (1907) was the purpose-built HQ of No 1 (Airship) Company of the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers. Find out more at: Farnborough Air Sciences Trust

St Michael’s Abbey

After the fall of the French Second Empire Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie fled France to England, where Napoleon died in 1873. The grief-stricken Eugénie commissioned a Benedictine abbey and mausoleum for him in Farnborough, and this was completed in 1881. Find out more at: Saint Michael's Abbey, Farnborough — a benedictine monastery (farnboroughabbey.org)

Southwood Country Park

Southwood Country Park covers 57 hectares of open space. The park includes a field centre including Chalk in the Park café and an adventure playground for children.

For more attractions and activities visit Farnborough Hampshire - Farnborough Tourist Information (visit-hampshire.co.uk)

*The Centre for Cities Report is for the Aldershot Urban Area which includes Aldershot, Farnborough and Camberley.

FIA2024: Book Your Trade Pass Pioneers of Tomorrow: Book Your Pass