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Wellington Country Park treelined 35 acre lake

Top places to live in Berkshire Riseley

With a new A-list hotspot on the doorstep and a Duke as your next door neighbour, is it any wonder we're all desperately seeking a home in Riseley. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

Riseley georgian mansion house in background behind lake and trees
Heckfield Place

WHY? 

Forget Mayfair or Chelsea, the village of Riseley on the Berkshire-Hampshire border should be on the to-do list of celeb stalkers and anyone wanting to photobomb the Tatler party pages. If it’s all about location, location, location, then having the Duke of Wellington as your neighbour and celeb crash pad Heckfield Place on your doorstep, under-the-radar Riseley is the one.

EAT

You’re spoilt for choice. For plates with pizazz, Heckfield Place has three restaurants under the stewardship of culinary director Skye Gyngell (ex-Petersham Nurseries). In the opposite direction, you’ll find L’Ortolan, Reading’s only Michelin star restaurant. Pub? The village has The Bull in Riseley and The Wellington Arms is nearby. Sold! You lot are so easily pleased. Not to be missed is the Wellington Farm Shop & Cafe, founded by Lady Honor Montagu, granddaughter of the eighth Duke of Wellington, with a commitment to sustainability and quality.

SHOP

For high street staples, take your pick between The Oracle in Reading and Festival Place in Basingstoke. But for a plethora of independents, then make a beeline for Wokingham. Rococo Jewellery and Strange The Jewellers are the places for blingy baubles. Antique Rose and Maison Rustic are a must-visit for gifts and homewares. Whether you’re tending to a patio or your acreage, channel your inner Monty Don at The Plant Centre Hortus Loci in Hook – a nursery with a stellar reputation.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

Have kids (or plan to have them)? Wellington Country Park is the perfect place for them to let off steam – awesome adventure playground, miniature railway, splash park and alfresco film nights in the summer. Wellington Riding is a seriously smart riding centre for tuition, hacks and plenty of first-class horsey competitions. When the sun shines, Lagoona Park‘s inflatable obstacle course is a must for slip and slide fun (or – more likely – humiliation).

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

Eek! £653,704. In the last year, the majority of sales in Riseley were detached houses, costing on average £672,065. Semi-detached homes sold fetched £415,000. David Cliff and Haslams are good local agents.

HOT PROPERTY

SCHOOLS

If you’re going down the independent route, Daneshill Prep School is your closest – it’s a family-orientated school where ambition and manners are celebrated. But 20 minutes down the road, you’ll find the brilliant Waverley Prep School, ranked 22nd in The Times ‘Top 100 Prep Schools’ and Ludgrove one of the last few single-sex full boarding prep schools in the UK, where Princes William, Harry and Edward and Bear Grylls all attended. Seniors? Leighton Park and Reddam House for a short school run, but Eton, Bradfield College and Wellington are within the county lines. The local state schools Farley Hill and Lambs Lane Primary Schools are both rated ‘Good’ and you’re in catchment for Wokingham’s ‘Outstanding’ Bohunt Secondary.

BEST KEPT SECRET

The place is crawling with famous people – worshipping at the eco-luxe altar that is Heckfield Place. Harry and Meghan, Cara Delevingne, the Beckhams – it’s a who’s who of A-list. Jemima Kidd (aka the Countess of Mornington) lives on the Duke of Wellington’s Stratfield Saye Estate, which incidentally was where Steven Spielberg filmed the cavalry scenes for War Horse.

COMMUTE

Mortimer train station is four miles away, whizzing you down the 38 miles of track into London Paddington (season ticket from £4,736). When Crossrail comes to Reading, it might be a speedier option. Or the fast trains from Basingstoke (10 miles away) will bring you in at London Waterloo, with an annual cost of £4,692. You’re also only a few miles away from the M4 and M3 if you’re hitting the road.

View the full Top 200 Places to Live

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