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Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > England > South East England > Berkshire > Newbury and Thatcham

Newbury and Thatcham

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River Kennet at Newbury
Thatcham High Street

Newbury and Thatcham are adjoining towns in the county of Berkshire, in the South East of England.

Newbury is the principal town in the west of the county, and is a historic market town. Thatcham is a dormitory town some three miles to the east, with little obvious boundary between the two towns.

Understand[edit]

Newbury has a population of about 35,000 and has become something of a booming company town recently as it houses the world headquarters of Vodafone, a major mobile phone operator with operations in many countries.

Newbury also attracted a lot of national and international coverage in the 1980s when it was the scene of the Greenham Common Peace camp in protest at the stationing of nuclear armed cruise missiles at a nearby air base, and in the 1990s when it hosted perhaps the most famous road protest against the Newbury bypass. The vast majority of the population probably did not appreciate either campaign.

Thatcham is best known as England's fastest growing town, with large housing areas being built to house a population which largely commutes to work in Newbury, Reading or London.

Visitors may hear both the terms 'Newbury District' and 'West Berkshire' in use; these are effectively synonymous and refer to the town of Newbury and its surrounding rural area. They are also the old and new names for the local government which runs the area that includes Newbury and Thatcham.

Get in[edit]

Kennet and Avon Canal

By train[edit]

Newbury and Thatcham have rail stations on the main line from London to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance. Some through trains between those cities stop at Newbury Station, but these are relatively infrequent. Local trains stop at both stations and run from Reading approximately every half hour taking some 20 to 30 minutes for the journey; some local trains start their journeys in London. From London, travel from London Paddington Station and, if necessary, change at Reading. Train times (from any station) can be found on the National Rail Planner or by calling 0845-748-4950 from anywhere in the UK.

By car[edit]

Newbury is 17 miles west of Reading on the A4, 18 miles north-west of Basingstoke on the A339, 26 miles south of Oxford on the A34, 27 miles east of Swindon on the M4 and 25 miles north of Winchester on the A34. Thatcham is 3 miles east of Newbury on the A4.

The M4 motorway also runs just to the north of Newbury, for which the junction is number 13.

By plane[edit]

If arriving by plane, see the 'Get In By Plane' section of the Reading article, and then travel on from Reading as described above.

By bicycle[edit]

By boat[edit]

The towns are on the Kennet & Avon Canal (running 87 miles from Bristol & Bath to Reading).

Get around[edit]

Map of Newbury and Thatcham

By foot[edit]

The central area of Newbury is easily walkable.

By bus[edit]

There are several town routes within Newbury and Thatcham, with hourly (or better) services during the day, and infrequent service in the evenings and on Sundays. Beyond that distance, bus routes are much less frequent, with often only a handful of buses per day and no evening or Sunday service.

  • Traveline, telephone 087-608-2-608 from within the UK, provide an impartial online travel planner and telephone query service for local bus services.
  • 1 Newbury Bus Station, Market St, Newbury RG14 5DP. Newbury Buses run services throughout the Newbury, Thatcham and surrounding rural areas. A regular service to Reading is also operated. There is one National Express bus a day from here to London. All buses leave or terminate from the Market Street Bus Station which can be found on the south side of the canal, adjacent to the Kennet Shopping Centre.

By car[edit]

Newbury's roads can be congested at peak periods, but in general are less congested than London or even Reading. A car is one (possibly along with cycling) of the only really practical ways of seeing a lot of the local countryside and villages.

By map[edit]

If you are planning to do any visiting or exploring beyond central Newbury, you will probably want to obtain a decent map of the area. You should ensure that any map you buy clearly shows the national grid reference lines, and explains how to use them, as grid references are frequently used to indicate out of town locations. The best maps for this purpose are those published by the Ordnance Survey (Britain's national mapping agency) and both the following maps cover all the locations mentioned below:

  • Ordnance Survey Explorer 158. This map covers the area around Newbury and Thatcham at a scale of 1:25000 and is best for walking or local touring by car or cycle.
  • Ordnance Survey Landranger 174. This map covers the area around and between Newbury and Thatcham at a scale of 1:50000 and is best for longer range exploration by car or cycle.

These maps can be found in any good bookshop, or can be bought online from the Ordnance Survey's web site.

See[edit]

Central Newbury[edit]

Newbury Town Centre
Rear of Wharf Street
  • 1 West Berkshire Museum, The Wharf, Newbury RG14 5AS, +44 1635 519562, . W-Sa 10AM-4PM. Housed in historic half timbered buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, the museum houses exhibits on local history and archeology Free. West Berkshire Museum (Q7984470) on Wikidata West Berkshire Museum on Wikipedia

Surrounding area[edit]

  • 2 Donnington Castle, Donnington, RG14 2LE (1 mile north of Newbury off B4494; grid reference SU461691). Daily daylight hours. This ruined castle was reduced (i.e. torn down) after the second battle of Newbury in 1644 during the English Civil War. Much of the striking, twin-towered gatehouse of this castle survives amid impressive earthworks, but access is only to the exterior. Free. Donnington Castle (Q849861) on Wikidata Donnington Castle on Wikipedia
  • 3 Highclere Castle (5 miles south of Newbury on the A34; follow the brown sign for Highclere Castle; grid reference SU445587), Highclere Park, Highclere RG20 9RN, +44 1635 253210, . Jul-Aug: Tu-F Su 11AM-4PM. Highclere Castle is more a stately home than a castle, and is the ancestral, and current, home of Lord and Lady Carnarvon. Tours of the castle are available. The castle also hosts exhibitions on Egyptian archeology (the fifth earl funded the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun) and horseracing (the seventh earl was the Queen's Racing Manager). 21st-century visitors are likely to recognised Highclere as Downton Abbey. £7 adults; £5.50 students and seniors; £3.50 children. Highclere Castle (Q1508450) on Wikidata Highclere Castle on Wikipedia
  • 4 Sandham Memorial Chapel, Harts Lane, Burghclere, near Newbury, RG20 9JT (5 miles south of Newbury on the A34; grid reference SU463608), +44 1635 278394, . Apr-Oct: W-Su 11AM-5PM; Mar Nov: Sa Su 10AM-4PM. It was built in the 1920s to house wall paintings by the artist Stanley Spencer, inspired by his experiences in the First World War, and regarded by many as his finest achievement. As there is no lighting in the chapel, it is best to view the paintings on a bright day. The chapel is set amidst lawns and orchards with views across Watership Down. £3 adult; £1.50 child; free to National Trust members. Sandham Memorial Chapel (Q7416244) on Wikidata Sandham Memorial Chapel on Wikipedia
  • 5 Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre, Muddy Lane, Lower Way, Thatcham, RG19 3FU, +44 1635 874381, . Mar-Oct Term Time: Tu-F noon-3PM; school holidays & weekends Tu-Su 11AM-5PM; Nov-Feb: Tu-Su noon-3pm. The Lower Way, Thatcham. The centre provides an exciting base from which to explore the nearby lake and reed bed habitats. A variety of events including exhibitions, workshops, walks and talks are provided throughout the year. The surrounding area is of outstanding importance for nature conservation, with the reed beds representing one of the largest stands of inland reeds remaining in the country. Free. The Nature Discovery Centre (Q7753272) on Wikidata The Nature Discovery Centre on Wikipedia
  • 6 The Living Rainforest (Trust for Sustainable Living), Hampstead Norreys, RG18 0TN, +44 1635 202444, . Daily 10AM-5PM. Adult £10.45, child (2-14) £8.45. The Living Rainforest (Q7747862) on Wikidata The Living Rainforest on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

  • Go to the races at 1 Newbury Racecourse, Racecourse Rd, Newbury RG14 7NZ (A mile east of town). This has frequent flat races April-Oct and occasional jumps races Nov-March.
  • 2 Newbury & Crookham Golf Club, Bury's Bank Rd, Newbury RG19 8BZ (2½ miles SE of Newbury), +44 1635 40035.

Theatre[edit]

Corn Exchange
  • 3 Corn Exchange, Market Place, Newbury RG14 5BD, +44 845 5218 218 (premium). This venue situated in central Newbury presents drama, comedy, music, dance, exhibitions, films and the resident orchestra Southern Sinfonia. For performance information, times and prices see their website or telephone the number above. Corn Exchange (Q5171021) on Wikidata Corn Exchange, Newbury on Wikipedia
  • 4 Watermill (Theatre), Bagnor, RG20 8AE (2 miles north west of Newbury; grid reference SU452694), +44 1635 46044. The Watermill is the home of a repertory company and has earned a reputation nationally and internationally for presenting quality work. Every year the company mounts eight or nine new productions each showing for an average of seven weeks, and is considered to be in "the premier league of British regional theatres" (Daily Telegraph). Normally open M-Sa with performances at 7:30PM, and matinee performances at 2:30PM on Th and Sa. For performance information and prices see their website or telephone the number above. Watermill Theatre (Q7974372) on Wikidata Watermill Theatre on Wikipedia

Buy[edit]

Newbury has a number of shops and a number of leading high street chain-stores. See NewburyTownCentre.co.uk for more information.

  • 1 Camp Hopson (Department Store), 7-11 Northbrook St, Newbury RG14 1DN, +44 1635 523523, . M 9AM-6PM, Tu 9:30AM-6PM, W 9AM-6PM, Th 9AM-7PM, F Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 10AM (browsing) 10:30AM-4:30PM.
  • 2 Kennet Centre (Small Shopping Mall), RG14 5EN, +44 1635 40748.
  • 3 Tesco (Superstore/Supermarket), London Rd, Newbury, RG14 2BP, +44 345 671 9522. M-Sa 7AM-11PM, Su 10AM-4PM.
  • 4 Waitrose (Supermarket), Oxford Rd, Newbury RG14 1NB, +44 1635 552061. M-F 8AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-8PM, Su 10AM-4PM.

Cyclists[edit]

  • 5 Banjo Cycles (Sales, Parts, Accessories & Workshop), Unit 4 & 5, Norman House, Hambridge Rd, Newbury, RG14 5XA, +44 1635 43186, . M-F 8:30AM-6PM, Sa 8:30AM-5:30PM, Su 10AM-4PM.
  • 6 BikeLux (Sales, Accessories, Parts & Workshop), Ampere Rd, London Road Ind Estate, Newbury RG14 2AE, +44 1635 48113, . Tu-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa 9AM-5PM.

Eat[edit]

A reasonable range of choices includung Pubs, the usual chain restaurants (Pizza/Pasta or French), Indian and most recently a New Thai. Local restaurants of note include

  • 1 Crab & Boar (BAr, Food & Lodging), Wantage Road, Chieveley RG20 8UE (5½ miles N of Newbury), +44 1635 247550, . Pub daily noon-11PM; food: M-F 7:30-9:30AM & 12:-00-2PM & 6:30-9:30PM; Sa 8-10AM & noon-2PM & 6:30-9:30PM; Su 8-10AM & noon-3PM & 6:30-8:30PM.
  • 2 Yew Tree (Pub & Restaurant), Hollington Cross, Andover Rd, Highclere RG20 9SE (6½ miles S of Newbury), +44 1635 253360, . Bar: M-Sa noon-11PM, Su noon-10:30PM; food: M-Sa noon-2:30PM & 6:30-9:30PM, Su noon-2:30PM & 7-8:30PM.
  • 3 The Pot Kiln (Pub & Game Restaurant), Frilsham, RG18 0XX (10½ miles NE of Newbury), +44 1635 201366, .
  • 4 The Vineyard (5* Restaurant), Stockcross, RG20 8JU (3 miles W of Newbury), +44 1635 528770, .
  • 5 Gurkha Chef (Nepalese Restaurant), 24 The Broadway, Newbury RG141AU, +44 1635 37333, . M-Th noon-2:30PM & 6-11PM, F Sa noon-2:30PM & 6-11:30PM, Su noon-2:30PM & 6-11PM.
  • 6 Toby Cavery, 110 London Rd, Newbury RG14 2AJ, +44 1635 45719. Pub: M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-7:30PM; carvery: M-Sa noon-10PM, Su 11AM-10PM; breakfast: M-Sa 8-11AM, Su 8-10:30AM.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

There are a number of hotels in and around Newbury

Connect[edit]

  • 2 Post Office, 87-89 Northbrook St, Newbury RG14 1AE. M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa 9AM-12:30PM.

Phone[edit]

The area code for Newbury and Thatcham is 01635 when dialed from within the UK or +44 1635 from outside the UK.

Go next[edit]

  • Swindon - Known for its history as the heart of the Great Western Railway, a 35-minute journey by car on the M4 motorway
  • Reading
  • Oxford
Routes through Newbury and Thatcham
BristolHungerford  W UK-Motorway-M4.svg E  ReadingLondon
MarlboroughHungerford  W UK road A4.svg E  Reading
OxfordDidcot  N UK road A34.svg S  WinchesterSouthampton


This city travel guide to Newbury and Thatcham is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.