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Pangbourne village river trees houses and church spire

Top places to live in Berkshire Pangbourne

A Berkshire box ticker, Pangbourne has it all – river location, great schools, cosy pubs and you can whizz into London in less than an hour. What's not to love? It ain't cheap. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

Pangbourne village river trees houses and church spire

WHY? 

One of the loveliest river villages in Berkshire that’s a speedy 45-minute commute to Paddington – but you’ll pay for it. It’s long been a sought-after hub for families and urban exiles attracted to its many pubs, indie shops and the easy travel to London, Reading, Oxford and Heathrow.

EAT

Nothing too fancy, the emphasis is on relaxed dining at The Swan – a historic pub that’s as close to the river as you can get without getting wet. The pub also features in Jerome K Jerome’s literary classic Three Men In A Boat. Elsewhere, steak restaurant The Herd in The Elephant Hotel has a good rep. But if you’re looking for Michelin stars, L’Ortolan, The Blackbird, The Woodspeen are all less than 15 miles away.

SHOP

Pangbourne is all about the independents – Kiki and Bow for chic homeware and under the radar French fashion brands, Ruby & Grace is a blooming fabulous florist, Lycra enthusiasts will love Pankhurst Cycles and there’s award-winning foodie shops – Birch Bread and Cheese Etc. If you’ve got serious cash to splash, there are Lamborghini, Bentley and Aston Martin car showrooms too.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

One of my favourite National Trusts, the stunning Basildon Park (particularly beautiful in spring and summer) is just outside Pangbourne. Head to the meadow to mess about on the river. Water activity centre Adventure Dolphin is great for kids who want to learn to paddleboard, canoe or kayak. And a few miles outside the village you’ll find The Royal Berkshire Shooting School – the Duchess of Cambridge, Holly Willoughby and Ant & Dec have all gone lock, stock and two smoking barrels here.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

£641,825. Pretty steep, I know. In 2019, detached properties sold for an average price of £1,164,529. Semi-detached properties cost an average of £533,532, and terraced homes were £361,454. ­Good local estate agents in the area are Warmingham, and Dudley Singleton & Daughter.

We love…

SCHOOLS

Plenty of excellent options in this well-heeled area. Outstanding all-rounder Pangbourne College is an incredibly popular senior school. For preps, the Duchess of Cambridge’s old stomping ground St Andrew’s is a cracking option, and the pastorally strong Moulsford prep is just down the road. Head into nearby Reading for The Abbey School (ages 3-18), Queen Anne’s Caversham and Leighton Park.

BEST KEPT SECRET

Love a literary connection? DH Lawrence and Kenneth Grahame both lived here and EH Shepherd’s famous illustrations for The Wind in the Willows were inspired by Pangbourne. Former Radio 1 DJ Bruno Brooks is also local.

COMMUTE

39 miles and a fast train to Paddington takes 46 minutes. A season train ticket starts at £4,736. Driving to London takes 1 hour. Reading is 10 minutes during peak times.

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