The historic market town of Wokingham sits in the heart of Berkshire, only 33 miles from central London and a short distance south-east of Reading. It’s an area full of character, where historic architecture is met with scenic woodlands and picturesque villages. Coupled with the excellent transport links and local attractions, Wokingham is highly sought-after amongst families and those commuting to the capital.
For such an impressive town, the community atmosphere is more akin to a small village. This is partly thanks to the several general markets which take place throughout the week, as well as the independent businesses which showcase local produce on the High Street. The town is still home to all the major retailers, while entertainment and sports complexes could rival those of a large city.
St Crispin’s Leisure Centre is a haven for active individuals, not to mention the nearby golf courses and cricket clubs. Other local favourites include an indoor ski slope, bowling alley and the Nirvana Spa, which promises a blissful day of pampering.
Despite the proximity to London, there is no shortage of wide open spaces for lovers of the outdoors. This includes a selection of country parks, offering the chance to admire wildlife or enjoy a summer picnic. Villages are dotted amidst this countryside, which gives a quintessential British experience, complete with thatched cottages and quaint pubs.
Wokingham is popular as a commuting destination for those travelling to both London and the many large industries located on the ‘silicon corridor’ of the M4. This motorway is easily reached, while the M3 is only a short distance south of the town. Thanks to these major transport links, Wokingham is only 55 minutes away from London via car, and 26 minutes to Heathrow International Airport.
The local train station is just as convenient for a speedy commute. Trains depart along the Waterloo to Reading line, reaching the capital in 50 minutes and Reading in 21 minutes. Frequent services also travel direct to Gatwick Airport, which is reached in approximately 79 minutes.
Parents have an exceptional choice of schools in Wokingham. Many of the local primaries have been judged ‘outstanding’ by government watchdog Ofsted. These include The Hawthorns Primary School, Evendons and St Paul’s, but there are at least six others to choose from.
Emmbrook and St Crispin’s are the town’s secondary schools, catering to both girls and boys aged 11 to 18. Both have been judged ‘good’ and boast impressive achievements at GCSE and A level. Alternatively, The Holt School for girls has been rated ‘outstanding’, while many opt for the Forest School for boys in neighbouring Winnersh.
Finally, the private establishments are considered among the best in the country. These include Ludgrove School, an independent preparatory home to former pupils such as princes William and Harry.
Much of Wokingham’s appeal lies in the historical architecture and period properties. While many of these date back to Victorian and Georgian times, the town actually boasts a history stretching back to the Anglo-Saxon era. Little is known of this period, and Wokingham – or ‘Wocca’ as it was then known – would remain a humble settlement until a market charter was awarded in 1219. Around this time, the Bishop of Salisbury commissioned several housing developments and set out the first roads.
Growth was to continue after the onset of the Tudor period, when the town became a well-known producer of silk. It would later decline following the Civil War, after which Wokingham gained an unsavoury reputation. Cock-fighting was popular in the town, as well as female wrestling and the cruel practice of bull baiting.
Thankfully, those distasteful traditions have since been abolished and the town is better-known for its family friendly amenities. After the arrival of the railway in 1849, Wokingham has grown into one of the most desirable towns in Berkshire.
Places of Interest
Few towns in the south boast such a wide array of local amenities. As such, it’s no surprise that Wokingham has been voted among the best places in the UK to raise a family. From sports clubs and country parks to luxury spas and an indoor ski slope, here are some of the highlights:
Dinton Pastures Country Park
Skiplex Indoor Ski Slopes
Big Apple Wokingham
Oakwood Youth Challenge
Billingbear Park Golf Course
St Crispin’s Leisure Centre
California Country Park
How to get here
By road: Wokingham can be reached by taking Junction 10 of the M4, exiting onto the A329 and following signs for Wokingham/Binfield.
By rail: Wokingham station operates frequent services to London Waterloo and Reading, as well as Gatwick Airport.
An Extremely well presented Five bedroom House located in easy access to Winnersh Station and motorways. The property benefits from extensive living areas, large amounts of parking and a great sized rear garden