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Pangbourne Hill Church Cottage

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.

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 and 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 Beale Wildlife Park and 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

£631,949. Pretty steep, I know. In 2021, detached properties have been selling for an average of £1,038,315. Semis cost an average of £448,413, and terraced homes were £410,428.

HOT PROPERTY

No work needed on this superbly presented, 5-bed family house that borders open farmland (hello views!), on the market with Strutt & Parker for £945k.

SCHOOLS

Plenty of excellent options in this well-heeled area. Good state schools include Whitchurch Primary School and Pangbourne Primary School, as well as Denefield and Little Heath. Heading down the private route, take a look at outstanding all-rounder Pangbourne College – It’s 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 all-through St Joseph’s College, 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. It’s also the birthplace of Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page moved to the village in the 1960s, met Robert Plant there and the rest his rock ‘n’ roll history.

COMMUTE

Just 39 miles to cover and a fast train to Paddington takes 46 minutes. A season train ticket starts at £4,860. Driving to London takes about 90 mins. Reading is 15 minutes away.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live

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