What you need to know about Bracknell
This ancient Iron Age town was designated a ‘new town’ after WW2, but alas very little of the old Bracknell remains. Whilst the post-war concrete may lack traditional English charm, you can’t beat Bracknell’s location in the beautiful Thames Valley.
If you’re an outdoorsy type, you can take to the water at the Horseshoe Lake Watersports Centre, have a day at the races at Royal Ascot or explore nearby Swinley Forest, whilst lovers of all things awesome may prefer to spend a day at nearby Legoland.
Or if you fancy a bit more culture and history, it’s just 36 miles from Bracknell to London or ten miles to Royal Windsor, which has more ancient heritage than you can shake a royal stick at. So, with a little imagination and willingness to explore, it’s easy to boost Bracknell’s charms and enjoy your stay in this green and gorgeous corner of England.
Food and drink
There are plenty of dining options in the Bracknell area, particularly if you’re prepared to travel a little outside the town centre. However even here you’ll find a selection of well-loved restaurants, gastropubs, bars and cafes, with the best of the bunch being Bracknell’s great selection of Balti houses.
If you fancy something a little more traditional and cosy, it’s well worth travelling the short distance to Windsor, Eton or the picturesque Swinley Forest, where country pubs like The Golden Retriever offer great food, local ales and a roaring log fire.
Bracknell’s shopping is much as you would expect for a town this size, mostly centred around a pedestrianised shopping area near the railway station and featuring all the usual high street names. There’s a good market in the town centre on Fridays and Saturdays, which is worth a rummage for fruit, veg and meat which you can prepare in your serviced apartment, and sweets, DVDs and bric-a-brac to take home.
If your shopping tastes are a little more sophisticated, it’s just a 20 minute train ride to Reading or a short taxi ride to Windsor (don’t take the train, you have to change in both Reading and Slough). Both locations have fantastic shopping and, in Windsor in particular, enough boutiques, antiques and quirky gift shops to satisfy even the most dedicated shopper.
Whilst Bracknell is a popular town for commuters heading for London, it’s also an important town for hi-tech industry and retail. You’ll find IT companies like Hewlett-Packard, Siemens, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Honeywell and Cable & Wireless based here, as well as the Waitrose head office and central distribution centre.
For more artistic types, the HQ for George Rowney & Co. Ltd, manufacturers of artists' materials, has been based in Bracknell since 1969.
Bracknell is nestled in the elbow of the M3 and M4, so it’s easy to get to by road, and also has two railway stations, Bracknell and Martins Heron, both of which are on the main line between Reading and London Waterloo with a frequent service in both directions. There’s a good service to all the local Thames Valley towns and main attractions, and they’re good value too.
If you’re flying in or out, it’s just half an hour’s drive to Heathrow airport or an hour to Gatwick.
Things to watch out for
This green and leafy area of Berkshire and Surrey is a golfer’s paradise, with at least seven courses within a short drive of Bracknell. So if golf is your thing, don’t forget to bring your clubs!