10 Good reasons to visit Fareham
PUBLISHED: 00:16 17 February 2011 | UPDATED: 18:53 20 February 2013
Steeped in history, a retail delight and at one with nature, Fareham is a fascinating place with much to see and do. Charlotte Tomlinson-White reveals 10 reasons to visit the area
Fareham is a shopaholics dream with its diverse range of shops and retail outlets. Staying true to its roots, the traditional market town still hosts a variety of markets, including independent Farmers Markets and Speciality Markets, plus its Monday Market is rumoured to be the best in the region with approximately 50 stalls.
Farehams West Street boasts 70 speciality shops and businesses offering a unique shopping experience to the discerning customer from cake decorating to craft, fresh fish to fireplaces and sewing machines to school wear there is something for everyone.
High on Portsdown Hill and covering nearly 19 acres, Fort Nelson was built in the 1860s as part of a chain of defences protecting Portsmouths naval harbour and Royal Dockyard from a dreaded French invasion. Today Fort Nelson is home to the national collection of historic cannons and big guns, part of the Royal Armouries and the national museum of arms and armour. It is also the oldest public museum in Britain. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Victorian fortress is undergoing an impressive redevelopment project to include a new visitor centre and a huge glass gallery displaying the biggest and most famous objects in the collection. Visit in the summer to witness the new additions.
For King & Castle
Feel the wonder of a castle that has defended Portsmouth Harbour for 2000 years as you walk amongst the Roman walls and climb the towering Norman keep. Portchester Castle, found on the eastern boundary of Fareham, was on the front line throughout the Hundred Years War, serving as a rest stop for expeditions to France and repelling cross-Channel raids. Occupying nine acres, it also accommodates a Saxon fortress and with the exhibition in the keep showcasing what life would have been like at Portchester, it provides a fascinating day out for the whole family.
Did you know
it is thought that Shakespeare wrote some of his sonnets whilst staying in what is now the gatehouse at Titchfield Abbey in the western part of Fareham?
Fareham has a fascinating and colourful history which is cleverly depicted at Westbury Manor Museum. Using graphics, models, archive materials, sound effects and photographs, it tells the story of the whole Borough including the industries that have helped the area grow into a thriving centre. Discover the story behind the distinctive Fareham Reds which were used to build much of Victorian England including The Royal Albert Hall in London and learn about the importance of Swanwick Railway and strawberries. Other displays include a family friendly timeline gallery showing how people have lived in, worked in and visited Fareham over the years and a Roman curse written on a small lead tablet found in the River Hamble.
Bricks and Mortar
Fine examples of Georgian architecture can be witnessed to the east of the town centre in the High Street. These were part of a drastic rebuilding programme that replaced the older, neglected dwellings as the population increased during the 18th Century. The elegant, stately buildings, characterised by their panel centred front doors and rectangular windows with an emphasis on proportion and symmetry, now accommodate a number of speciality shops and quality eateries.
Holly Hill Woodland Park is located in the south of Fareham. With over 70 acres of historic woodland and more than five acres of lakes, the park stretches down to the River Hamble and is ideal for leisurely walks and wildlife watching. The park also contains some unique and unusual landscape features engendered from the planting of exotic specimen trees around the lake area. Protected and conserved for its biodiversity, the Park was awarded gold in the Champion of Champions category at the 2010 South and South-East in Bloom awards, won the Silver Gilt in the Countryside Park category, and in 2009 obtained a Green Flag Award.
Food for Thought
Fareham has plenty of eateries to tickle your taste buds, from coffee shops and fast food chains to traditional pub meals and international cuisine such as Italian, French and Oriental the High Street alone possesses over forty places to eat and drink. The Richmond Restaurant at Lysses House Hotel and Villa Romana Restaurant on the High Street together with The Old House Hotel and Restaurant in Wickham have all won awards and are AA accredited.
If youre looking to be entertained then look no further than Fareham. Not only does the town have its own cinema Apollo showing the latest films across 5 screens, but it also has two art centres. The Ashcroft Arts Centre boasts a 150 seat theatre, a dance and music studio with a capacity of 140 and a gallery. In addition to a varied programme of professional theatre, music, comedy, film, dance and visual arts, there are many arts activity workshops available. Ferneham Hall offers a broad range of comedy, music and childrens shows. It also presents drama, dance and musical productions for several of the Souths leading amateur groups and dance schools.
The Henry Cort Sculpture Park is the name given to the pedestrian area of West Street. It features the Henry Cort Millennium Exhibition of wrought iron sculptures and street furniture, and provides a unique and interesting thoroughfare linking Millennium Square with Fareham Shopping Centre and Market Quay. Themed on Farehams market town history, the exhibition is the largest permanent display of sculptural ironwork of its type in Britain and celebrates the achievements of Henry Cort Farehams 18th Century Man of Iron responsible for pioneering the iron refining processes which assisted England in winning the Napoleonic Wars.
Pampering & Relaxation
Fareham is a place to relax and be pampered, with the nearby Solent Hotel & Spa in Whiteley ready to tender your every need. Set in the perfect location to make the most of the glorious Hampshire countryside, this stylish 4 star hotel offers first-class facilities to both business and leisure guests who enjoy temporary membership of the exclusive spa during their stay. Be sure to investigate the stunning double treatment suite with its own outdoor terrace and hot tub while your there.
Did you know
the author William Thackeray spent many school holidays in Fareham visiting his grandmother who lived
in the High Street?