Area guide

Berkshire is a very well connected county, commutable to London from all its corners and also has very easy access to the national motorway network.


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Welcome to our Berkshire area guide where we will be taking a look at this beautiful county, together with details on transport links, schooling, property prices and things to do.

This, combined with its beautiful landscape and excellent schools, makes it a natural choice for many families wishing to enjoy the country life but remain close to the capital, with a number of attractive market towns and lovely villages.

The Strutt & Parker offices in Newbury and Pangbourne cover the whole of West Berkshire between them, with the support of the National Country House Department, based in our head office. As well as unique and imposing country houses, Berkshire has its fair share of manor houses, farms, detached family homes with land and quaint cottages.

Things to do in Berkshire

A rich sporting destination
There is no shortage of leisure activities in Berkshire; golf lovers will be happy with the 40-odd golf courses and horse racing fans are spoilt for choice with racecourses at Newbury, Ascot and Windsor. The 24,200 capacity Madejski stadium is home to both Reading Football Club and the rugby union club London Irish, with both teams attracting huge crowds from throughout the surrounding area on match days.

Outdoor action
The county’s interesting landscape – rolling hills and downland – make it an ideal spot for all sorts of activities, including walking, cycling and horse-riding. The rivers and canals zigzagging through the county also provide extensive opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors, as well as being home to some interesting wildlife.

Family attractions
There are also plenty of exciting days out on your doorstep: Windsor Castle, the National Trust’s beautiful Basildon Park, Legoland and Go Ape in Bracknell, to name but a few.

Why we love Berkshire

It also benefits from a wealth of good pubs, golf courses and amenities.

Our Strutt & Parker teams in Pangbourne and Newbury recommend the following:

Pubs & restaurants
Many of the picturesque villages of West Berkshire have a successful traditional pub at their heart and, of these, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, The Pheasant Inn in Shefford Woodlands, The Dundas Arms in Kintbury, The Leatherne Bottel in Goring and The Royal Oak in Yattendon also boast an excellent dining experience.
For something a little different, The Crab at Chieveley offers unforgettable seafood and the Palm, near Froxfield, is well renowned locally for its superb Indian cuisine. The Strutt & Parker Newbury office also recommends the The Vineyard at Stockcross, especially for a hearty breakfast, and The Woodspeen restaurant with its Michelin Star.

Annual events
The Hennesy Festival is hosted each year at the Newbury Racecourse, culminating in the highly popular Hennessy Gold Cup. For the countryside lover, The Royal County of Berkshire Show is a must-see and, of course, the Reading Festival goes without saying!

Secret spots & country walks
Being full to the brim of beautiful countryside, there is no shortage of places to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in West Berkshire. For fabulous and far reaching views, try Coombe Gibbet or the top of Streatley Hill. The towpath between Newbury and Kintbury, and then on to Hungerford, is a lovely gentle, picturesque walk and don’t miss Welford Park, which, every February, becomes a blanket of snowdrops. The Ridgeway also provides great scope for walkers; our Pangbourne office recommends stopping for refreshments at the award-winning Bell public house at Aldworth!

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Properties for sale in Berkshire

Properties for sale in Ascot

Key villages & towns in Berkshire

Schools in the area

Berkshire certainly has its fair share of well-renowned schools.

Near Reading, The Oratory School has great facilities and firmly recognises the importance of extra-curricular activities and nearby Pangbourne College with its naval history is proud to be different and excels in sport. The popular Bradfield College is unique, making up virtually the entire village, and Wellington College takes a different approach to education which seems to be working wonders. There are also competitive grammar schools in Reading itself; Reading Boys & Kendrick Girls.

Near Newbury, Cheam boasts royal alumni and achieves a high number of scholarships to local renowned senior schools, as does Thorngrove. Elstree achieves great results and does particularly well in art and music. Small, individual and traditional prep schools Horris Hill and Brockhurst & Marlston House remain very popular. At senior level, Downe House girls’ school offers great accommodation and teaching as well as producing county and national level sports players.

Elsewhere, Eton College needs no introduction, Wokingham’s Ludgrove prep is well known for its intellectual and sporting achievements, as well as its content pupils; and St John’s Beaumont prep, in Windsor, concentrates on hands-on learning, with excellent results.

Dotted in delightful villages across the county are many great state primary schools. These include Brimpton, Hampstead Norreys, Compton, Englefield, St. Finian’s Catholic, Welford and Wickham and Yattendon.

For a more comprehensive list of schools in Berkshire we recommend the Good Schools Guide.

Transport links

By train

Berkshire has excellent rail connections, with Reading being a huge interchange; there are direct services to, among many other places, Gatwick, Newcastle, South Wales, the West Country, Manchester, Oxford, the Cotswolds and the South Coast. On top of this, there is a fast service (just half an hour) to London Paddington approximately every 10 minutes, with additional stopping services and trains to Waterloo.

From Hungerford, there are hourly services to Paddington (an hour and a quarter) and Reading (40 minutes). From Kintbury, it takes slightly less. From Newbury, there is one direct train hourly to Paddington, taking less than an hour, and 2 or 3 to Reading, which take around 20 minutes.

Both Pangbourne and Goring & Streatley take just under an hour to Paddington with a change at Reading; a direct service takes longer. Twice hourly services to Reading take 10 and 15 minutes respectively.

By train

Berkshire is also blessed with good road links, with the M4 passing east to west through the county, connecting to Bristol, South Wales and London. From there, the M5 and M25 connect to the broader national road network. Similarly the A34 runs north to south, running via Newbury from Oxford to Winchester and, from there, the M3, M40 and M27 are all easily accessible.

Outdoor pursuits, exploration and sport are just a few of the things that visitors and residents can enjoy in Berkshire.