Why more and more people are moving to Berkshire
The Royal County of Berkshire, just 49 miles from London, is increasingly popular with people moving out of London. According to the Office for National Statistics, 12,610 Londoners relocated to Berkshire in the year up to June 2019 – the highest recorded number in nine years.
Is Berkshire a good place to live?
Her Majesty the Queen certainly thinks so. Windsor Castle is said to be the place she really thinks of as home, and is one of the top visitor attractions in the county, if not the whole country. It is why Berkshire was designated a Royal County by the Queen back in 1957.
Connections and quality of life
Apart from Royal preference, Berkshire is also considered one of the best places to live in the UK by working age people, who are looking for good job prospects, more affordable property prices, an excellent quality of life and proximity to London with good rail links to London Paddington. The latest UK Quality of Life Index ranked the county number six in the UK’s best places to live. For country life within reach of London, Berkshire is hard to beat.
Windsor, one of Berkshire’s top attractions
Berkshire’s attractions are many and varied, but top of the list has to be its Royal connections. Windsor Castle has been home to monarchs for nearly 1,000 years, and much of it is open to visitors, including the fabulous State Apartments, St George’s Chapel and the intriguing Queen Mary’s Dolls House. When the Queen is in residence you can also see the Changing of the Guard. Windsor Great Park, one of Berkshire’s best outdoor attractions according to Tripadvisor, has over 4,800 acres to explore, with the Savill Garden and Virginia Water within its boundaries. The Long Walk, approaching the magnificent castle, has to be one of the best views in the country.
Horse racing fans worldwide know about Ascot racecourse; and in June it becomes Royal Ascot, unfailingly attended by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, not to mention large numbers of extravagantly hatted and exuberant racegoers. The affluent town of Ascot is also the location for Kingswood Houses and the soon-to-be-released Woodlands Collection. Newbury is another Berkshire town famous for horse racing.
Thames riverside towns
Eton also has strong Royal links; the famous public school numbers many Royal personages and national leaders amongst its old boys. However, Eton itself is also delightful and is one of the many Berkshire riverside towns and market towns worth visiting. The Thames runs close to Wargrave, which is in turn close to Newell Green, the location for our Larks Hill Green development. Riverside walks or bike rides, with pubs and rural views along the way, are always a relaxing way to pass the time. Maidenhead, one of the larger Thames towns, has wonderful views of the river, and from there you can set off on walks towards picturesque villages such as Cookham and Bray.
Shopping and dining in Reading
Reading, the largest town in Berkshire, is on the river Kennet, and some of its best restaurants are located on the riverside, many within the spectacular Oracle shopping complex. Reading is also a great place to shop, being amongst the UK’s top ten retail destinations. Apart from the Oracle, the town centre is packed with famous names, including John Lewis.
Explore the Kennet Valley
The Thames is perhaps more famous, but the river Kennet, and the Kennet and Avon Canal, also offer many opportunities for getting out and about. The valley runs through the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and its footpath walk begins in Reading, going all the way to Bath. Hiring a boat is another relaxing way to explore the river and the canal. Along the way, you could stop off at Hungerford Wharf or Newbury Wharf, both historic, tranquil spots with historic market towns nearby.
Berkshire’s best outdoor attractions
In fact, Berkshire is a great choice for all kinds of outdoor life. Wherever you live, you’ve never too far from beautiful open countryside and historic landmarks. In California Country Park near Wokingham, almost next door to Victory Fields at Arborfield Green, you can really get off the beaten track in 100 acres of ancient heathland and enjoy relaxing strolls, nature walks and fishing.
Cycling through Swinley Forest
Swinley Forest is another of Berkshire’s natural treasures. The 2,600 acres of gently hilly pine woodland extends from Bracknell to Crowthorne, it features 24 km of way-marked mountain bike trails suitable for all abilities and is home to Swinley Bike Hub, offering bike hire and coaching.
Riding in a Royal Park
If your idea of a great ride is on horseback rather than two wheels, how about a hack through Windsor Great Park? Tally Ho Stables and Hacking Centre has horses for hire and experienced instructors to take you on what might be the best ride of your life through the glorious landscape.
Stately living in Berkshire
Exploring historic houses is very rewarding in Berkshire. You can soak up the past at Cliveden, on the Berkshire borders in Taplow. Basildon Park, near Pangbourne, Engelfield House and Gardens near Reading, and Shaw House, close to Newbury, are all stately homes that show how ‘the other half lived’ in different eras. Perhaps the most famous, thanks to Downton Abbey, is the imposing Highclere Castle. To be accurate, it’s in Hampshire, but close enough to Berkshire to count!
Thinking about moving to Berkshire?
Get more information about new homes in Berkshire here and look out for our next Berkshire blog which will focus on the many family-oriented activities the county has to offer.