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BERKSHIRE, UK - 06.30.2008: Jesus Hospital Almshouses in the High Street of the village of Bray

Top places to live in Berkshire Bray

A postcard-perfect riverside village, Bray boasts a constellation of Michelin stars, beautiful period properties and superb schools. *Drops mic*. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

WHY? 

Seven Michelin stars for starters! Bray is a totally unique culinary village boasting two of the five three-star restaurants in the UK. It’s home to Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck and his one star gastropub The Hind’s Head plus Alain Roux’s The Waterside Inn. But it’s more than its gastronomic constellation – we love the pretty chocolate box cottages, traditional pub and half-timbered shops set against the backdrop of River Thames. If you want to sample the goods, book in at Bray Cottages – a Muddy Award winning pet friendly, boutique stay with concierge service.

EAT

We love the Michelin star treatment, but for more low key, delicious dining The Crown at Bray is a lovely local, serving quality gastropub food. It’s got a stunning garden with theatrical outdoor kitchen and inside it’s all open fires and low beams. Elsewhere, Muddy Award-winning restaurant Caldesi In Campagna serves exceptional Italian food, the warmest of welcomes and they run a brilliant cookery school. It’s like having your very own slice of Italy on your doorstep. We’re also fans of recently opened The Old Post Office Café, and Monkey Island Estate is a swish riverside location with a brasserie and bar.

SHOP

It’s not a shop til you drop kinda place, but Story at Bray is a lovely independent gifts and homewares shop we like. The Old Post Office also sells a small selection of artisan food produce. For beauty, the Bray Hair Studio is slap bang in the middle of the village. Head into nearby Maidenhead for bigger high street names, plus the on-trend eco shop called Filling Good.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

If you’re not about the food, then you’ll be seduced by the water. For those with deep pockets you can park your boat at Bray Marina or charter one for the day – all of the Champagne popping fun without the maintenance. For a down to earth vibe, Bray Lake Watersports offers paddle boarding, windsurfing, sailing and wild swimming on a willow-lined lake. Have lessons or get social with other like-minded splash happy folk. Visit nearby Dorney Court and relive the Bridgerton honeymoon with the Duke. This Tudor showstopper doubled as the inn. In your head only, people… you’ll get arrested. Norden Farm attracts top flight comedy, and Windsor Racecourse is just a few minutes down the road, or for added drama, you can arrive by boat.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

Pass the smelling salts, it’s pricey. The average house price is £1,184,738. Detached properties, sell for an average price of £1,714,225 but riverside properties go for £3-£6m+. Terraced properties go for about £752,000, with semi-detached properties fetching £501,000.

HOT PROPERTY

Strutt and Parker Dorney Reach £2.85m
Splash the cash! It’s pricey at £2.85m but this 5-bed riverside family house is in a beautiful location near Bray Marina and Monkey Island.

SCHOOLS

Outstanding state schools in abundance. To name a few, Boyne Hill CofE Infant school, Braywick Court School, Furze Platt Junior School and Holyport College. Heading down the private route? You’re spoilt for choice: Highfield Prep in Maidenhead and St George’s Windsor Castle, Upton House, and St John’s Beaumont in Windsor. For seniors, traditional boys’ school Eton College and the more modern Claire’s Court are nearby. If you don’t mind travelling, LVS Ascot, Heathfield School, St George’s Ascot, The Marist and Reading Blue Coat are worth considering.

BEST KEPT SECRET

There’s no business like show business. While we love the fact Michael Parkinson is a local, we’re more excited about the film studio. Bray Studios is best known for being the home of Hammer Horror, but in recent times Tom Hanks has been spotted filming some scenes for Steven Spielberg’s WW2 Netflix drama Masters of the Air.

COMMUTE

Bray is a 10-minute drive from Maidenhead station. From there, commuters can catch a speedy service and fly into Paddington in just 20 mins. There are 118 trains a day, average journey time is 35 mins and an annual season tickets costs from £3,360. It’s on the new Crossrail route too, so 2022 (fingers crossed) will be a game changer. If you’re hopping in your car, the village is five minutes from J8/9 of the M4, and you can get to Heathrow in about 25 mins. So, excellent.

View the full Top 200 Places to Live

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BERKSHIRE, UK - 06.30.2008: Jesus Hospital Almshouses in the High Street of the village of Bray

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