Farnham Victoria Garden

The Victoria Garden is a ‘secret garden’ created on the site of the former Victorian open-air swimming baths. Entrance through the archway reveals a planting of roses, clematis, lavenders, hebes and sedums and the garden contains a giant chessboard, a mosaic hopscotch, and a mini-maze. Created through the generosity of Farnham residents, charitable trusts and Heritage Lottery Funding, the garden is managed by the Farnham Swimming Baths Trust with the support and help of a dedicated group of Friends. It is open to the public from about 9am to 6pm in summer and about 9am to 3:30pm in winter.

Location map
Location Map

Creating the Victoria Garden

Constructing the garden and restoring the Falkner Arch was a major project costing over 116,000. The Arch had deteriorated over the years, the walls needed repair, the timber cornice had been removed and the old pool site was derelict.

Victoria Garden design
Garden Design

Surrey Gardens Trust prepared an excellent design, which is still the basis of the present garden, and in the spring of 1996/97 the arch was restored and the garden laid out with a paved terrace, wide paths, arches for climbing plants and borders filled with shrubs and trees.

The garden incorporates commissioned craft work such as the rose arches, railings and gates featuring the clematis ‘Duchess of Albany’ (chosen for the Friends logo). There is a sculpture by a local artist called ‘Outdoor Bathing’ or more usually nicknamed ‘The Shivering Boy’, which. reflects the previous use of the site as a swimming baths. Information panels in the alcoves describe the history of the swimming baths, the creation of the garden and details of the early planting.

The shivering boy
The Shivering Boy

Activities in the garden

The giant chess board
Chess board

The raised terrace behind the arch provides a stage for special events, such as musical or theatrical performances and the garden is an ideal photographic setting. There are features for children: A giant sized chess board with paved squares, a maze formed of short box hedging and a mosaic hopscotch pitch. Quieter leisure time may be spent sitting reading or watching the wildlife in the garden.

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