Jaillen Yehia

Antiques & Ales: A Day Out Near Farnham By Bike

Written by Jaillan Yehia

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Bears Farnham

Get on your bicycle and head to Bears, outside Farnham

I recently moved to Farnham, Surrey, a pretty market town less than an hour’s train ride from London.

Since the move I’ve been to Egypt, Italy, Menorca, the list goes on, but I’ve not made enough time to explore the area in which I actually live, until now.

I decided to get out my trusty bike and pedal my way through some local Surrey highlights.

This is the story of a leisurely day out which you can try too – exploring the picturesque town, rural antique shops and a craft brewery in the countryside just south of Farnham, all by bike.

My most recent overseas trip was a cycling holiday to France, but despite good intentions to go on long cycle rides in the countryside near my house to warm up, I failed spectacularly at using my own bike to go anywhere more exciting than the gym and the supermarket.

On my bike near Farnham

On my bike near Farnham

I’m sure a lot of people find themselves thinking, like me, that they’ll get out and about locally more come summer, so when a company specialising in slow travel and cycling called Inntravel asked me to join their campaign to discover cycling adventures close to home, I knew this was the inspiration I needed to step away from the computer for a day.

And if you’re hoping to do the same and fancy a day out exploring Farnham by bike popping in at countryside antique stores, cobbled streets, country lanes and tasting local ales, all at a slower pace, this could be the day out for you.

Packhouse, Farnham

Packhouse, Farnham

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably know that I love cycling in cities and towns, I cycle around London loads and I have got on my bike (or rather someone else’s bike) in places as varied as Laos and Nicaragua, Denmark and Slovenia.

But I am not into mountain biking, or anything adrenaline-related on two-wheels. I like my biking slow and sedate, peaceful and pleasurable so that’s just what this day out in Farnham by bike will be.

Cycling in Margate was lovely

Cycling in Margate was lovely

Getting To Farnham (Not By Bike)

Farnham by bike

Around Farnham by bike

If you’re coming from London you can pick up one of the numerous South West Trains services to Farnham from Waterloo (or try Clapham Junction if you live south already). If you’re coming from somewhere else I can’t help you, as I don’t know where you live but there may well be a train  – and if not you could always drive: there are a couple of easy to find car parks in the centre of Farnham.

The station itself is very close to the middle of town so it will be simple for you to jump on your bike and start exploring.

Coffee In Farnham

Cycle to Lion and Lamb Yard

Cycle to Lion and Lamb Yard

Where you go in Farnham is entirely up to you – like most market towns there’s a nice sprinkling of boutiques, and a few great places to grab a coffee or a snack before you head off on your bike ride.

Most are chains, though I really like The Botanist and there are some nice independent places like Lion and Lamb in a gorgeous cobbled courtyard just off the main street – which is called West Street.

Around Farnham By Bike – The Antique Agenda

the road to Farnham

The road to Farnham – there are two major antique treasure troves here. Who Knew?

I discovered that very close to my house, and only about a 3 mile cycle from Farnham is a little enclave of antiques warehouses around Runfold on the northern edge of the South Downs.

Though the word warehouse does little to accurately describe the delightful and highly historic environments you’ll find. I had driven past this sign in my car countless times and always vowed to stop one day, before I made time to come by bike.

The Antiques Warehouse

The Antiques Warehouse

The Antiques Warehouse, Farnham

First stop is The Antiques Warehouse, described as an ‘exciting and unusual antiques centre and in an incredibly charming setting on a farm, meaning you’ll see horses on your way in.

The Antiques Warehouse Farnham

The Antiques Warehouse, Farnham

You’ll do a double take once you enter the building – I couldn’t believe just how many amazing items were packed inside the Elizabethan barns; paintings and prints, kitchenware and ceramics, clothing and jewellery, you could spend hours browsing.

The Antiques Warehouse

The word treasure trove is probably overused, but if anywhere deserves the description this has to be it – a chair from the 17th century, a rolling pin from the 19th or a diamond ring from the 20th, it’s all here.

The Antiques Warehouse is open 7 days a week, 10.30am to 5pm.

Packhouse Farnham

Packhouse, Farnham

Packhouse, Farnham

It’s just a couple of minutes pedalling away until you’re at the next gorgeous Surrey location on your cycling day – though it’s pretty close to the Hampshire border round here too – and that’s Packhouse Farnham.

Garden furniture at Packhouse

The garden furniture matched my pedi at Packhouse

New meets old in this large sprawling historic building with the slogan ‘Lose yourself amongst beautiful things’ and it’s easy to do just that.

They sell their own things, as well as eclectic wares brought in by 65 traders – including everything from old curiosities to greeting cards and candles so its a fun place to meander.

Lose yourself amongst beautiful things

Lose yourself amongst beautiful things

There’s even a restoration company on site dedicated to reimagining cast offs and turning them into desirable shabby chic stock.

Bears, at the Packhouse, Farnham

Bears, at the Packhouse, Farnham

They also run events, workshops and have partnered with a new cafe and restaurant, Bears, which is ideal if you’re ready for a bite before moving onto beer.

The Packhouse is open 9.30am to 5.30pm and 10am to 4.30pm sundays and Bank Holidays.

Packhouse Farnham

How cool is this?

On To Ales

Image from Hogsback Brewery

Hogsback Brewery

Another surprising turn up on my cursory glance around my local neighbourhood was a really cool looking brewery – Hogsback Brewery is a family-owned business which uses mostly hops from within 5 miles of the 18th Century farm buildings which house the brewery.

Hogsback Brewery

Hogsback Brewery

They also planted a hop garden here which grows a variety unique to this part of Surrey – Farnham White Bine hops – so if you’re a beer enthusiast there’s something unique for you here and the brewery has an onsite shop and runs Hogsback brewery tours daily.

Being on a bike means that you can have a tipple without worrying about driving – just be extra careful on your cycle back to Farnham station.

I’m so glad InnTravel asked me to collaborate on this post to help promote their local cycling adventures campaign  – because otherwise I’d still be driving past the signs in my car and be none the wiser.

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  • heatheronhertravels

    You found so many pretty and tasty things on your bike ride – I love cycling in the English countryside – it reminds me how pretty England is

    • I must admit when I lived overseas I became very nostalgic for cycling in England, you don’t realise how good we’ve got it until you leave!

  • Lucy Dodsworth

    I only ever seem to cycle on blog trips and don’t even have a bike now but am definitely feeling inspired to get out there and do some more cycling, so many cool things to explore (will have to see if I can tie in a brewery into the route too!).

    • I often do a day of cycling on blog trips, but I highly recommend getting a cheap bike to pootle around your own area, it is amazing what a different perspective it gives you.

  • Claire Robinson

    Why did I think Farnham was more urban than this? Doh. It looks lovely and I like the idea of a bike ride to a brewery!!

    • Maybe you were thinking of Farnborough? I must admit that before I moved to the area I would have been hard pushed to say if it was urban or not, but I’m happy to report that this part of Surrey near Hampshire is absolutely full of gorgeous country lanes, woodland and walks – as well as bike rides.

  • Antiques, ales, pretty shepherds. I’m in heaven! And I love visiting breweries. I’ve just discovered a new one near me and they have some wonderful events coming up. I can see me becoming quite a regular there. Farnham is only about an hour from me so a visit to Hogsback Brewery would be possible if I can just bribe someone to drive me!

    • Let me know if you do come to the area and I’ll join you for a pint!

  • I love having a pootle around antiquey places like these, reminds me a lot of Rye in East Sussex. The colours in your first photo match your blog colours perfectly!

    • Yup I adore Rye! And thanks for noticing, I’m a bit obsessed with pink and green so I was in heaven when I saw this display at Packhouse!