Berkshire homes fit for a Duke and Duchess
Psst! Kate and Willliam have been searching for schools in Berkshire – and *gasp* could be eyeing a move to the royal county too. To help their house hunt, here are five homes fit for a future king.
Are William and Kate on the verge of quitting London or Norfolk to settle in Berkshire? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been scoping out schools for Prince George and tongues are wagging that it could see the whole family settle in the royal county. It makes sense.
A Berkshire pad would be close to the Queen at Windsor Castle, Prince Charles at Highgrove and Ma and Pa Middleton in Bucklebury. The cherry on top? It’s less than an hour into the Big Smoke for shopping trips and fancy dinners. But with property in high demand, we thought we’d do the hard work for them and run through the country estates fit for a family of princes and princesses.
A grand ol’ house fit for a future king. Grade I listed Ockwells Manor is one of the finest English houses on the market – and has a rich history of entertaining kings and queens. This timber-framed house was made using local materials back in the 15th century for Sir John Norreys, High Sheriff of Berkshire, and a courtier of Henry VI. The gardens are knockout. The location, on the edge of Bray, twinkles under a constellation of Michelin stars, plus it boasts its own polo field and 20 stables. Inside you’ll find eight bedrooms, eight reception room and six bathrooms, with lots of outbuildings for staff. Schools? Well you’re spoilt for choice. St George’s Windsor and Upton House have educated young princes and princess in the past and Eton College, Lambrook, Reddam House, Heathfield’s School, St George’s Ascot and The Marist are all nearby.
It’s a whopper with the wow factor. Teetering on the Berkshire-Hampshire border is Bramshill. It’s a Grade I listed Jacobean belter, set in 92 acres of formal garden, parkland with its own herd of fallow deer. There’s also a lake if William wants to give Kate her very own Mr Darcey moment, and 15 bedrooms. It’s so grand, it would give Windsor Castle a run for its money. It’s a bit of a fixer upper and let’s be honest, the running costs could be eye-watering. But it’s near celeb favourite Heckfield House and it’s surrounded by good schools – Sherfield School, Eagle House School, Ludgrove, Reddam House, Wellington College and Leighton Park. It’s worth noting, people claim Bramshill is haunted with no less than 14 spooks wandering the halls. Perhaps not a place you’d want visit during Halloween when you’re out trick or treating.
Stop the search, I’ve found the one. Shefford House in the pretty village of Great Shefford, West Berkshire, is close enough to Ma and Pa Middleton without feeling too claustrophobic. If Kate and William are not seduced by the Grade II listed Georgian architecture and tree-lined sweeping drive. They’ll swoon over the 120 acres overlooking the River Lambourn, period features, tennis court and there’s an annexe and staff cottage for the nanny and Royal Protection officers. Shefford House has six bedrooms, so a bit smaller than Anmer Hall which has 10, but it’s close to Kate’s old academic stomping grounds – St Andrew’s Pangbourne, Downe House, Marlborough College and it’s about 40 minutes from William’s schools Ludgrove and Eton College. But we wouldn’t rule out Horris Hill and Elstree.
Woodside House is right on the edge of Windsor Great Park, so close to Granny. It’s got 11 bedrooms, six reception rooms and an Orangery – plus a coach house and outbuildings. So plenty of space for the Cambridge family and their entourage. It’s only 10 acres, which is tiddly compared to the 2,000 acres they’re used to at Anmer Hall, but there are paddocks for ponies. Polo is the name of the game in this area. Plenty of clubs for William to swing is mallet, Coworth Park is good for R&R and it’s handy for Royal Ascot. They would be spoilt for choice when it comes to schools – Eton College, St George’s Ascot, Heathfield School, St George’s Windsor, Upton House, Papplewick, Wellington College and Lambrook School are all on the doorstep
Could be a tight squeeze at Midgham House. The current five-bed house replaced a substantial Palladian manor house which was destroyed by fire. But the Middleton’s own manor house just three miles down the road, perhaps they won’t need to have guest room. Plus, as an unlisted building, set in 86 acres, there’s always the option to extend. The focus of the gardens is the historic pleasure lake with its distinctive Chippendale style gazebo. No, not a platform for chiselled beefcakes – we’re talking carpentry, naughty. David Milinaric, the famous interior designer beloved by the National Trust for helping to restore the interiors of many show-stopping buildings, was employed to design much of the architectural detailing of Midgham House by the current owners. So it expect to be impressed. As for schools, well you’re spoilt for choice for Prep schools. Elstree is nearby, Horris Hill and St Andrew’s are doable and Cheam could be an option too. Seniors: Bradfield College, Downe House, Marlborough and Pangbourne College are options. But Eton, Wellington College and Radley College are less than an hour away.
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