Things to do in Faringdon: A Guide to Activities and Attractions

Farington is an old market town situated upon a ridge between the picturesque Ock and Thames rivers, Faringdon, whose name translates to ‘fern-covered-hill’, offers panoramic views of its idyllic surroundings.

This quaint town boasts a remarkable heritage, with a tapestry of stories woven into its ancient streets and historic buildings. Wander through its cobbled lanes, and you’ll discover a wealth of captivating tales that bring the past to life. From medieval roots to notable figures who left their mark, Faringdon is a place where history truly comes alive.

But Faringdon isn’t just a town frozen in time. It seamlessly blends its rich heritage with modern amenities and attractions. The vibrant town centre features an array of hotels, charming pubs, cosy cafes, and enticing shops, inviting visitors to experience leisurely strolls, delightful shopping sprees, and delicious culinary experiences. So, have a look below at the best activities and attractions in Farington that will keep you busy during your time there!

Where is Faringdon?

Faringdon is positioned in the southern part of the country, within the region known as the South East of England. Faringdon is located on a ridge, providing it with scenic views and a picturesque setting.

To give you a better sense of its geographical location, Faringdon is situated about 18 miles southwest of the historic city of Oxford, renowned for its prestigious university and architectural splendour. It is also approximately 65 miles west of the bustling metropolis of London, the capital city of England and a hub of culture, commerce, and entertainment.

The town’s position between the valleys of the Ock River and the Thames River adds to its natural beauty, with the rivers meandering through the surrounding countryside.

Bustcot Park walled garden
The walled Garden at Buscot Park

See the Faringdon Collection at Buscot Park

Buscot Park, SN7 8BU

The Faringdon Collection, also known as Buscot Park, is a renowned art collection located in Oxfordshire, England. It is housed within Buscot Park, a stately home that serves as the principal residence of Lord Faringdon. The collection primarily consists of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts spanning various periods and styles.

The Faringdon Collection features works by notable artists such as Rembrandt, Botticelli, Reynolds, and Gainsborough. It is particularly renowned for its significant collection of 19th-century pre-Raphaelite artworks, including pieces by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, and John Everett Millais.

Buscot Park, where the collection is housed, is also known for its picturesque gardens and parkland, designed by landscape architect Harold Peto. Visitors to Buscot Park can explore the house and enjoy the art collection, as well as stroll through the beautiful gardens, which include water features, sculptures, and a walled garden.

To access the gardens and grounds, all visitors, including National Trust members, are required to obtain a valid day ticket. Rest assured, the investment is well worth it, as it grants you entry to a world of captivating beauty and cultural treasures.

Visit on Market Day

5 Market Place, Faringdon, SN7 7HL

Since receiving its charter from King Henry III in 1218, the historic market town of Faringdon has maintained its weekly market, which continues to thrive to this day.

Faringdon Farmers’ Market is held every Tuesday, with a Saturday Market on the third weekend of every month, the shops and boutiques surrounding the Old Town Hall come alive with an extra buzz.

You’ll be able to indulge in local delicacies such as meats, cheeses, freshly baked goods, and even treats for your beloved four-legged companion. Additionally, on Fridays, you can visit the indoor market at the Corn Exchange, offering a delightful array of goods. The Saturday markets in Faringdon also frequently adopt thematic elements, drawing inspiration from the current season or ongoing events in the town.

Market days are an opportunity to savour the flavours, shop for unique finds, and soak in the lively atmosphere of this thriving community.

panoramic view of Faringdon Folley
Faringdon Folly Tower

Walk the Faringdon Folly Tower and Woodland

Folly Path, Faringdon, SN7 7AQ

The Folly Tower and Woodlands in Faringdon is a prominent landmark and natural area offering a unique experience to visitors. Faringdon is renowned for its Folly Tower, constructed in 1935 by Lord Berners, who was the owner of Faringdon House at the time. Standing tall at 100 feet, this tower is England’s most recent significant folly and is situated on Folly Hill, within a delightful four-acre circular woodland adorned with magnificent Scots pine and broadleaf trees.

On the first and third Sunday of every month, the Folly Tower welcomes visitors, offering them the opportunity to ascend to its summit and witness the awe-inspiring views spanning five counties. Explore the sculpture trail that meanders through the woodland and keep an eye out for twenty-four blackbirds, the secretive fairy door, the bridge leading to nowhere, Cromwell’s cannon, and numerous other intriguing sights.

Feel the history at Great Coxwell Barn

The Hollow Rd, Great Coxwell, Faringdon, SN7 7LZ

The Great Coxwell Barn, situated in the village of Great Coxwell, stands as a remarkable testament to the region’s history. It is the sole remaining structure from a prosperous 13th-century grange that played a vital role in generating income for Beaulieu Abbey. Constructed with Cotswold rubble-stone walls, this barn serves as a magnificent testament to the craftsmanship of Gothic carpenters and the prosperity of esteemed monastic orders.

For many years, it was believed that the Great Coxwell Barn was erected in the early 1300s. However, recent scientific testing has shed new light on this longstanding theory, offering fresh insights into the barn’s origin and construction.

Visitors to the Great Coxwell Barn can marvel at its impressive scale and explore its historic interior. The barn’s soaring timber framework and atmospheric ambience offer a glimpse into the past, evoking a sense of the agricultural practices and religious traditions of medieval England.

Feed the animals at Farmer’s Gow

Fernham Rd, Longcot, Faringdon SN7 7PR

Experience the joy of ‘hands-on’ farm animal interactions and feeding adventures, accompanied by an exciting farmyard play area. Farmer Gow extends a warm welcome to visitors of all ages. Immerse yourself in delightful countryside experiences at this farm, located in the picturesque Vale of White Horse, conveniently located off the A420 between Oxford and Swindon.

Prepare for plenty of engaging interactions with the farm animals, as Farmer Gow offers daily ‘Meet the Animals’ sessions. Get the chance to bottle-feed adorable lambs and goat kids, stroke and tickle wriggly piglets, hand-feed friendly sheep and goats, and participate in the exciting task of egg collecting. Delight in handling tiny, fluffy chicks, turkey poults, ducklings, and goslings.

The farm also boasts an adventure play area within the farmyard, where you can embark on trailer rides to feed Pollyanna, the sow, and enjoy thrilling treasure hunts on the giant Bale Climb. Rain or shine, there are activities available for all weather conditions, with both indoor and outdoor options.

the swan

Sample the Faringdon Brewery at the Swan

1 Park Rd, Faringdon SN7 7BP

When it comes to spending quality time with friends, The Swan in Faringdon is a charming pub that epitomises a cosy and welcoming gathering place.

With an impressive selection of libations, The Swan ensures that every palate is satisfied. Five real ale hand pumps showcase a rotating array of local and national brews, while delightful real ciders and a wide range of premium gins, perfectly paired with Fever-Tree tonics, offer a taste sensation. Craft beers, wines, and prosecco also grace the menu, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

But The Swan is not just about great drinks; it’s about creating memorable experiences throughout the week. Mondays bring mouth-watering pizzas, perfect for indulging in a casual and delicious meal. Tuesdays are reserved for brain-teasing fun with a lively quiz. Wednesdays invite you to unleash your competitive spirit with board games. On Fridays, Floyds Food takes the spotlight, offering delectable treats to satisfy your taste buds. And when the weekend arrives, prepare to be entertained with regular music events that will have you dancing and singing along. At The Swan, every visit is infused with warmth, laughter, and a vibrant atmosphere.

Immerse yourself at Kelmscott Manor

Kelmscott Manor, Lechlade, Gloucestershire GL7 3HJ

Kelmscott Manor, the beloved rural retreat of William Morris, stands as a testament to the visionary poet, designer, and craftsman who transformed the Arts and Crafts movement. This splendid house, listed as Grade I, is nestled amidst picturesque countryside, and it captured Morris’ heart with its embodiment of time-honoured artistry and harmonious integration with the surrounding village and landscape.

As you set foot in Kelmscott Manor, you are transported to the world that inspired Morris’ extraordinary designs and influential writings. Situated in the upper reaches of the Thames, the manor exudes a timeless allure that deeply resonated with Morris and left an indelible mark on his creative pursuits, including the renowned Willow pattern that has enraptured audiences across the globe.

You can embark on a journey to unravel the rich legacy of William Morris, as you explore enlightening exhibitions and engage in guided tours that delve into the depths of his multifaceted genius. You’ll be able to uncover the profound and far-reaching impact he made on the realms of arts, crafts, and social reform, and gain a profound understanding of the visionary who left an indelible mark on the artistic landscape, forever altering its course.