Farringford was the much loved home of Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson, for forty years until his death in 1892. The main house dates from 1806 with gothic embellishments and extensions added from the 1830s. Of particular historical importance is the second library built by Lady Emily Tennyson in 1871 with a play room below connected by a turreted winding staircase. The grounds are laid to lawn, rose borders and informal planting. Evidence remains of Tennyson's planting schemes together with a section of the walled garden and wooden footpaths.
The house and grounds are currently undergoing a programme of restoration having been a hotel since the left the Tennyson family's ownership in the 1940s. The house is scheduled to open in 2016 as a study centre and will host group visits, writers' retreats, creative workshops, concerts and exhibitions. On the estate there are fourteen 4* self-catering cottages available all year round, a helicopter landing pad, a restaurant which caters to both guests and local residents, a nine-hole golf course, outdoor heated swimming pool, tennis court and children's play area.
The estate is located on Bedbury Lane, Freshwater Bay, on the western tip of the Isle of Wight. Some of the surrounding houses, particularly those in Middleton at the start of Moons Hill are connected with Farringford's history, once forming part of the estate. The houses at the end of Queens Road, the junction near the farm used to be stables where Fred Pontin's horses where kept.
Southern Vectis' Needles Breezer open top bus has a stop outside Farringford and this is the only bus that goes down Bedbury Lane towards Alum Bay.
Tennyson wrote of Farringford:
“Where, far from noise and smoke of town
I watch the twilight falling brown,
All round a careless-ordered garden,
Close to the ridge of a noble down.”
Tennyson rented Farringford in 1853, and then bought it in 1856. He found that there were too many starstruck tourists who pestered him in Farringford, so he moved to "Aldworth", a stately home on a hill known as Blackdown between Lurgashall and Fernhurst, about 2 km south of Haslemere in West Sussex in 1869. However, he returned to Farringford to spend the winters.
- Farringford:The House of Tennyson official website
- The Home of Tennyson, Rebecca FitzGerald, Farringford: The Home of Tennyson official website