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Life in Berkshire

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust employs over 6,000 staff across six sites which serve a population of around 1,000,000 people. The majority of staff live in areas surrounding our sites which include Reading, West Berkshire, Wokingham, Bracknell and South Oxfordshire. 

Bracknell

Bracknell is just over 10 miles away from Reading and is home to Bracknell Healthspace. 

Transport

Bracknell has direct links to London, Reading and other local stations via direct train services run by South Western Railway. There are also regular buses to the surrounding areas such as Wokingham, Binfield and Reading. 

Leisure

In 2017, the Lexicon shopping centre was opened in 2017 and houses many well-known shops such as Fenwicks, Marks & Spencer and Next. There are also many restaurants and cafes to enjoy. 

Bracknell Leisure Centre has a gym, swimming pools, athletics track and sports hall. All of which are open to the public. Coral Reef Waterworld is an alternative pool with waterslides, rapids, saunas and a pirate ship. 

The Look Out is in Swinley Forest and has a number of walking routes, mountain bike trails and a playground. It also has the Look Out Discovery Centre which has hands-on science and nature exhibits aimed at primary school aged children. Go Ape is also at the Look Out, which has treetop challenges, forest segways and axe throwing. 

Schools

  • Independent schools - Bracknell have a number of independent schools across the area for all ages: Holme Grange, Luckley House School, Ludgrove School and Reddam House. The surrounding areas also have Heathfield School, LVS Ascot, Our Lady's Preparatory School and Eagle House School. 
  • Primary schools - There is a broad range of primary schools in Bracknell, whilst there are some academy schools most are run by the local authorities.
  • Secondary schools - Parents can choose from a number of schools including Ranelagh School, The Brakenhale School, King's Academy Easthampstead Park and Garth Hill College. 
  • Bracknell and Wokingham College offers vocational, further and higher educations courses for school leavers, adults and employers training their staff.
Reading

Royal Berkshire Hospital, which also includes Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust Headquarters, is located in Reading.

Reading is a large town located about 40 miles outside of London. The area has a thriving economy and there are many global companies located in Thames Valley Business Park, Green Park and Reading International Business Park.

Transport

It has brilliant transport links via its train station where there are regular services into London, some of which take only 25 minutes, as well as national lines to locations around the UK including Oxford and the South coast. Reading Station is served by Great Western Railway, CrossCountry, South Western Railway and the Elizabeth Line. 

Leisure

In Reading there is a great shopping area including Broad Street which is home to Marks & Spencer, Primark and John Lewis and the Oracle Shopping Centre. These areas are also home to many different restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs. 

There are many leisure and sport facilities around Reading including Rivermead Leisure Centre and Palmer Park. Both of these have swimming pools and gyms. Palmer Park Leisure Centre has an athletics and velodrome whilst Rivermead Leisure Centre has a 6-court sports hall.

To find out more about Reading, activities to do and what's on, visit here.

Schools

  • Independent schools - Reading has a strong independent sector with a number of schools in the heart of the town: St Josephs, the Abbey School, Leighton Park and Crosfields School. Slightly further outside the town center is Hemdean House and Queen Anne’s School in Caversham and Reading Blue Coats in Sonning. On the outskirts of Reading there are many more independent schools.
  • Primary schools - There is a broad range of primary schools in Reading, the majority run by the local authorities but with some academy schools.
  • Secondary schools - Parents can choose from selective single sex grammar schools, academies, local authority secondary and a University Technical College.
  • Grammar Schools - Both grammar schools are in the heart of Reading with a catchment stretching across much of Berkshire. They use entry examinations to select and are rated among the top 20 schools in the country. Reading School is the boys’ selective grammar school and Kendrick School is the girls’ selective grammar, with both producing very good exam results.
  • Reading College offers a wide range of more vocational courses post 16, as well as apprenticeships, adult courses, degree courses and international student studies.
South Oxfordshire

South Oxfordshire is a district in Oxfordshire that includes Henley-on-Thames, Nettlebed, Wallingford, Stadhampton, Thame, Chinnor and Didcot amongst other towns.  

Leisure

South Oxfordshire has a number of towns with leisure facilities. Henley-on-Thames has a bustling cafe culture with many restaurants, bars, eateries and shops. There are also a number of walks to enjoy in the local area and the popular Henley Regatta happens every year in July. 

Wallingford is a historic market town and has a number of cultural sites including castle ruins and a steam train. The River Thames runs through the town providing opportunities to see rowing activities and enjoy riverside walks. The Chilterns are nearby which provide a great backdrop to some beautiful walks. 

Schools

  • Independent schools - South Oxfordshire has a number of independent schools including, but not limited to, Cranford Schools, Moulsford Prep School, Shiplake College and Rupert House School.
  • Primary schools - There is a broad range of primary schools in South Oxfordshire, the majority run by the local authorities but with some academy schools.
  • Secondary schools - Parents can choose from a host of schools in the area including Gillotts School, The Swan School, Wallingford School, Cheney School as well as many others.
  • Henley College offers a wide range of more vocational courses post 16, as well as apprenticeships, adult courses, degree courses and international student studies.
West Berkshire

West Berkshire includes Thatcham, Hungerford, Pangbourne, Burghfield, Mortimer, Tilehurst and Lambourn amongst other parishes. 

Transport

Pangbourne, Theale, Mortimer, Aldermaston, Thatcham, Kintbury and Hungerford are some of the train stations in West Berkshire with links to local stations provided by Great Western Railway. Newbury is the biggest train station within West Berkshire and provides links to Reading, London, Devon, Cornwall and more.

There are a network of buses that service West Berkshire and provide frequent transport between the parishes.  

Leisure

Some of the highlights in West Berkshire include Beale Wildlife Park, Newbury Racecourse, Bucklebury Farm and Deer Safari Park and Basildon Park.

The West Berkshire area has the Kennet and Avon canal as well many rivers including the Thames, Lambourn, Kennet, Pang and Bourne. These provide a great backdrop to walking and cycling routes. 

There are a number of sports and swimming facilities across West Berkshire including Northcroft Lido, Northcroft Leisure Centre, Kennet Leisure Centre, Willink Leisure Centre, Hungerford Leisure Centre, Cotswold Sports Centre, Lambourn Centre and Downland Sports Centre.

Schools

  • Independent schools - West Berkshire have a number of independent schools, largely centred in and around Newbury. These are Brockhurst & Marlston House Schools, Cheam School, St. Michael's School, St Gabriel's and Horris Hill. There is also Downe House School in Thatcham.
  • Primary schools - There is a broad range of primary schools in West Berkshire, many are run by the local authorities but with some academy schools.
  • Secondary schools - There is a choice of secondary schools for children in West Berkshire. These include Denefield School, John O'Gaunt School, Kennet School, Little Heath School, Park House School, St. Bartholomew's School and Theale Green School amongst others. 
  • Newbury College caters to school leavers and adult learners. They also offer apprenticeships and work with local business to provide training and skills bootcamps.

 

To find out more about what you can do in Newbury and the surrounding areas, visit here.

Wokingham

Wokingham is a market town located down the A320M from Reading. It was voted as the fourth happiest town to live in the UK in 2023. 

Transport

Wokingham has direct links via train with London Waterloo, Reading, Guildford and Gatwick Airport. Both South Western Railway and Great Western Railway go through Wokingham station. There are also buses to the surrounding areas such as Finchampstead, Barkham, Woodley, Binfield and Aborfield.

Leisure

Wokingham has weekly markets on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. The town centre also boasts many different shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars. It has a cinema, bowling alley and leisure centre in which there is a library, swimming pool, sports hall and gym. 

In the surrounding areas of Finchampstead, Twyford, Winnersh, Woodley and Lower Earley, there are more restaurants, sports facilities, a cinema, golf courses, mini golf courses and cafes to enjoy.

Schools

  • Independent schools - Wokingham has a number of independent schools across the area for all ages: Holme Grange, Luckley House School, Ludgrove School and Reddam House.  
  • Primary schools - There is a broad range of primary schools in Wokingham, whilst there are some academy schools most are run by the local authorities.
  • Secondary schools - Parents can choose from a number of schools including Bohunt Wokingham, The Emmbrook School, St Crispin's School and The Holt School. 
  • Bracknell and Wokingham College offers vocational, further and higher educations courses for school leavers, adults and employers training their staff.