Bracknell is a modern, vibrant town with excellent links to London. Although it has only come to prominence in recent years, its roots can be traced back to the tenth century, when it was known as Braccan Heal and was a deer reserve of William I. However, it was not until the arrival of the railway and Bracknell’s first station in 1856 that it began to develop into a proper county town. Then, after WWII ended, its trainline and close proximity to the capital made it an obvious choice as a ‘New Town’ in the government’s post-war regeneration programme. Construction began during the early ‘50s and the population quickly grew to 25,000. By the ‘60s it had reached 60,000 and is now estimated to be around 85,000 and still growing.
Today, those fast transport links mean it is a much sought after commuter town. Sandwiched between the M3 and M4, it’s just 33 miles west of London. From its two stations, you can be in Waterloo in just over an hour. It’s not just a commuter town, though, it’s rapidly becoming what Tech City UK has described as one of the ‘largest digital clusters outside London’. In its many business parks you’ll find some of the tech world’s best-known names - Microsoft, Dell, Panasonic and HP. Bracknell is also home to Waitrose headquarters.
To add to its appeal, the town centre is in the midst of a major regeneration programme. Work began back in 2011 with a new £6million Waitrose store in Bond Way. Improvements were then made to the roads and transport infrastructure. In 2017, The Lexicon opened its doors - a gleaming new shopping centre of 70 retail units. In 2019 another £30m of investment was pledged by the Bracknell Regeneration Project and included plans for another major development - The Deck. The Deck will be a covered public space, surrounded by a raft of new shops, bars and restaurants and will also provide space for a range of entertainments. Located on the site of the former Bentall’s department store, it will form a link between Princess Square and The Lexicon. It’s expected to be completed in 2022.
Its status as a New Town means the vast majority of Bracknell’s housing stock is modern and, with the town rapidly growing, there are a lot of new developments planned, too. Bracknell is cut in half by the A322. Some of the main residential areas on the north side are Priestwood, Wick Hill, Whitegrove, Bullbrook, The Warren and Harmans Water. They tend to be more expensive than those on the south side. The main southern areas are - Great Hollands, Wildridings, Easthampstead and Birch Hill and include some of the original 60s New Town properties. More recent developments include - Jennett’s Park, The Parks, the stunningly modern No.1 Thames Valley, The Grand Exchange and Winchester House. Planning permission has also been recently granted for the development of the old bus depot – Coldborough House. It means there’s plenty of property to choose from, whatever your budget and whether you want a purpose-built flat, a large townhouse or a rental property. You’ll find Bracknell good value when compared to the surrounding areas and prices are roughly half that of London’s. If you want something a little more countrified but still want to take advantage of everything that Bracknell has to offer, nearby Warfield and Binfield are well worth a look.
Bracknell has a great selection of schools and colleges to choose from. Ofsted lists 15 secondary schools that are either ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’, with St Joseph's Catholic Primary School and Ascot Heath Primary School topping the tables. There are 5 Secondary schools at similar levels. Renowned private school, Ranelagh, gets the highest score, followed by Edgbarrow School and Brakenhale School (both academies). For further education, there’s Bracknell College and Reading University is close by.
There are all the services you would expect to find in a town of Bracknell’s size – doctors, dentists, solicitors, etc. The nearest hospitals are Heatherwood Hospital (2.2m) and Wokingham Hospital (4.7m).