Aldershot v Farnborough: Which is best?

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Aldershot v Farnborough: Which is best?
Side by side images of Aldershot Duke of Wellington statue and Farnborough airport
Which town comes out on top? (Image: SurreyLive)

Aldershot and Farnborough, Rushmoor’s two biggest towns, sit fewer than four miles from each other.

We’ve compared the attractions that each town has to offer, and thought to let you decide which is best.

Aldershot boasts a proud military history displayed with the large Duke of Wellington statue, as well as the divisive Westgate complex, a lido and multiple open green spaces.

It is also set to undergo a large regeneration project in the near future.

Farnborough, however, is home to a state-of-the-art business park, The Meads shopping centre and its own private airport.

Which of the towns deserves to come out on top? We have compared multiple factors below and all you need to do is cast your vote in the subsequent poll.

1. Arts

Located in the town centre, Aldershot’s Princes Hall is a 600-seat multi-purpose entertainment theatre. It hosts a range of musical, ballet, pantomime and comedic acts regularly.

Acts listed for the end of September and through October include an ABBA tribute, comedian Dave Gorman and showings of musical Footloose.

The town participates in Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of history and culture. Each September, guided tours of the town’s church and military museum detail its military history.

Exterior of Aldershot Princes Hall
Aldershot Princes Hall

Farnborough has plenty to shout about in the art sector, too. In 2000, Prince Edward opened a £2.5million performing arts centre at Farnborough Sixth Form College.

It is regularly used by touring theatre and dance groups for public performances and hosts local community events.

The town’s Air Sciences Trust Museum, based next to the airport, holds a collection of aircraft, satellites and simulators displaying the town’s aviation heritage.

2. Scenery

Aldershot contains a number of vast open green spaces for dog walkers and families to enjoy.

Manor Park leads the way, featuring a playground, skate park, three tennis courts and a basketball court, with three tennis lessons from 10am to midday every Sunday, according to the council.

The Heroes’ Shrine allows visitors to pay their respects to residents of the town that lost their lives in the Second World War. The town is also home to Aldershot Park, Rowhill Nature Reserve and Brickfields Country Park.

Away from the offices and planes overhead, Farnborough has its own green spaces to enjoy.

People walking down woodland path
Southwood Woodland, Farnborough (Image: Steve Porter)

Southwood Woodland is designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and offers leafy pathways and walking trails for walkers and cyclists to frequent.

In the mid-1990s, work took place to install paths, a new bridge and dipping areas in Cove Brook. It is now home to a variety of fish among other species of wildlife and features attractive walks along close to built-up areas of the town.

3. Music

The West End Centre in Aldershot has been hosting shows and musical performances for more than 45 years, including the likes of Primal Scream and Blur.

The centre is also home of Westival, the town’s own summer festival.

July 2020 will see the return of the Picnic and Pop Family Festival in Manor Park. This year’s event included tribute acts to Queen, Oasis and Little Mix among others.

Little Mix Tribute Band on stage
Little Mix Tribute Band at the Picnic and Pop Festival (Image: Aldershot News and Mail)

Farnborough has its own music festival, too. Music in the Park, held in July, raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for for local Phyllis Tuckwell shops.

Held over a Saturday and Sunday, this year’s festival included tributes to The Beatles, Madness and Motown. The next event will take place in 2021.

4. Sports

Always a hot topic, Aldershot currently edges the football stakes. Aldershot are currently playing in the National League, just a step away from the Football League, whereas Farnborough are competing in the Southern League Premier – two divisions lower.

Both clubs have a history of financial difficulties. In 1992, Aldershot Town FC formed after “Aldershot Football Club” folded while competing in the Football League.

Farnborough Town went into administration in 2006/07 and reformed as Farnborough Football Club. After a brief period of success, the club were deducted points in back-to-back seasons in 2011-12 and 2012-13 due to further financial problems.

Empty football stadium
The Rushmoor Community Stadium (Image: Surrey & Hants Sport)

Aldershot is also home to the Army Golf Club as well as the Military Stadium, which includes a running track as well as being surrounded by multiple all-weather pitches.

5. Community events

As well as their own music festivals, both Aldershot and Farnborough host a number of community events to regularly unite their respective communities.

Aldershot hosts th Rushmoor Community Food Festival every year, celebrating the town’s rich diversity with a stalls offers samples of 12 different foods from around the world.

PlayFest!, in Aldershot’s Union Street, also offers an action-packed day for children and families across the area.

Busy scene under some gazebos
Rushmoor Community Food Festival The West End centre (Image: Aldershot News and Mail)

Although its biannual public weekend has been cancelled, Farnborough International Airshow will return in 2020 in the form of public access to its trade day exhibition.

It aims to inspire the next generation of pilots, engineers and innovators for the industry.

Farnborough’s weekly market takes place every Tuesday and Friday in the Queensmead shopping centre offering a variety of food, clothes and household items. Aldershot’s own market takes place on Monday and Thursday.

6. Shopping

Much of Aldershot’s shopping appeal has been lost while regeneration works take place to the town centre. More than 30 shops can be found in the Wellington, Aldershot, whereas The Galleries has been standing empty for more than 10 years.

Farnborough, though, has two shopping areas in Princes Mead and The Meads. The former has more than 30 shops and a food court to enjoy, with the Meads allowing pedestrianised outdoor access to further shops in the town centre.

Entrance to shopping centre
Princes Mead shopping centre, Farnborough (Image: Google Maps)

Farnborough Gate, a retail park just off the A331, has further shops in the form of large retail outlets including Boots, Currys, Next and TK Maxx.

7. Cinema

Aldershot’s Cineworld, part of the Westgate complex, offers an ideal family night out with its placement next to restaurants Nando’s, Pizza Express and Mimosa.

It is, however, more expensive than Farnborough’s Vue, which costs just £4.99 for an adult ticket.

Cineworld entrance
The cinema is more expensive than others in the local area (Image: Grahame Larter)

The issue has caused much debate recently, with Aldershot residents driving to Farnborough rather than using the cinema in their own town due to the price.

Cineworld refused to comment on its pricing structure when approached by SurreyLive. Farnborough does not have the choice of restaurants that Westgate offers, though.

8. Transport

Both towns offer great transport links into London and are becoming increasingly popular as commuter towns.

It takes less than an hour to get a direct train to London Waterloo from Aldershot, while Guildford and Woking are just a short ride away on South Western Railway.

Exterior of Farnborough Main Train Station
Farnborough Main Train Station (Image: Alistair Wilson)

It is also becoming popular among University of Surrey students, with trains into Guildford departing twice hourly and taking just 17 minutes.

A direct train from Farnborough Main into London Waterloo, meanwhile, can be as fast as just 34 minutes. Farnborough North also operates lines to Guildford, Redhill and Gatwick Airport.

9. Crime

SurreyLive delved into Hampshire Constabulary stats to find out the places in Rushmoor least likely to be burgled.

Police figures for the first seven months of 2019 showed that the policing wards of Aldershot North and Aldershot South had the highest number of recorded burglaries with 66 and 60.

Farnborough North and Farnborough South had a lower total, with 52 and 45 respectively.

Aldershot or Farnborough, Which is best?
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