The historic market town of Wokingham is often cited in the national press as being one of the most popular places to live in the UK.
For 2016, Halifax’s annual survey of the best places to live in the UK once again found Wokingham in the top ten, coming in 9th position. The report used a wide range of data to calculate its findings including the cost and quality of living index, education provision, life expectancy and employment rates.
In 2017, Wokingham was found to be the second safest place to live in the UK in a report conducted by Family Investments. The Family Friendly Hotspots report used statistics on exam results, quality of local amenities and crime levels to produce their list. Neighbouring Lower Earley was in first place, Twyford in 8th and Woodley in 15th.
So, what makes Wokingham such a great place to live?
Wokingham: A Snapshot
Receiving its market charter in 1219, Wokingham has plenty of traditional features and characterful charm. Whilst the town centre is currently undergoing a major renovation along Peach Street, there are parts of Wokingham which have stood for more than six centuries. Rose Street, The Terrace/Broad Street, Shute End and Denmark Street are the cornerstones of this historic 14th century town.
You can find traces of the towns history within its architecture today including the 17th century Lucas Hospital alms house on Luckley Road, a Grade 1 listed building. The 19th century town hall in Market Place replaced in 1858 is the centre of the town and is still the site for regular weekly and monthly farmer’s markets.
Rose Street is lined with historic buildings including a medieval hall house dating to the 1400s, Tudor houses and Edwardian properties.
Yet Wokingham is a modern town with excellent facilities, ideal commuter links and is surrounded by idyllic rural countryside.
In and around the town there are over 100 restaurants, more than 26 pubs in Wokingham itself and a good selection of retail outlets including several independent shops.
The Wokingham Town Centre Regeneration Project is underway to bring new shops to the Peach Street/Rose Street end of town as well as a mixed-use development planned for Elms Field. The latter being earmarked for a cinema and hotel. Further development of leisure facilities and additional parking are underway at the Carnival Pool.
Wokingham: The Detail
Wokingham has a strong position in the Thames Valley as being a close and convenient town for commuters across the South East. The station is served by regular trains to London Waterloo, Guildford, Reading and Gatwick. The proximity of both the M4 and the M3 also provide great transport links.
Its location in the heart of Berkshire’s Wokingham Borough means that the town sits close to the borders of Surrey, Hampshire as well as Oxfordshire. Local towns include Henley, Windsor and Bracknell. The surrounding villages of Finchampstead, Sonning and Twyford are all popular residential areas.
The county town of Reading is just 10 miles away taking around 9 minutes by train. From Reading, the national rail network services mainline stations such as Birmingham, Cardiff and London Paddington.
Demographics of Wokingham
The wider area of Wokingham Borough has a population of around 155,000 people with almost 31,000 of these living in Wokingham itself. The high level of employment in the area is predominantly professional, with its occupants mainly falling into the ABC1 category. Occupations taken from the 2011 census are:
- Professional: 25.7%
- Associate Professional and Technical:16.3%
- Managers, Directors and Senior Officials: 14.2%
- Administrative and Secretarial: 11.7%
- Science, Research and Engineering Professionals: 10.8%
The largest job sectors in the town are in accounting and finance, retail, property and manufacturing.
The current average salary for jobs in Wokingham is £32,189; however, the average household income is around £45,000.
The average median age is 40 with a good ratio of age groups; this balance is reflected in the excellent amenities available for both young and old across the borough.
There are 52 state primary schools in Wokingham, ten state secondary schools and 14 other schools including the independent institutes, Ludgrove (famously attended by Prince William), Bearwood College and Addington Special School.
Education in the area is considered good (standards and availability) with primary provision being higher than the national average, secondary schools being fairly average and private schools offering excellent provision. There are several schools in the Wokingham area that have been classified as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted including The Holt School.
Wokingham Towns and Villages
The unitary authority of Wokingham Borough Council covers an area of almost 70 sq. miles and incorporates many towns and villages including Wokingham itself. Within the borough are:
- Spencers Wood
- Three Mile Cross
Our best picks for…
Wokingham is spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out with restaurants, good pubs and hotels all offering an excellent range of food. The town has a couple of new restaurants worth a mention including The Giggling Squid, the latest opening for the Thai chain eatery. For a special meal, you can’t beat Ruchetta on Rose Street; an Italian restaurant that provides fine dining in a bijou setting. The Michelin starred L’Ortolan in Shinfield offers modern French cuisine in a luxury setting. But our favourite has to be Rossini’s; a family run, independent Italian restaurant on Denmark Street.
…getting a pint.
There are some lovely character pubs around Wokingham, many of which are part of the CAMRA group supporting local breweries and promoting real ales. Our favourite places for a drink are the Hope and Anchor, a 17th century pub run by locals Hattie and Ian, the Broad Street Tavern for their live music and excellent garden bar or, if you fancy a cocktail, The Redan.
…a bit of retail therapy.
Situated in Bush Walk is the lovely independent gift shop, Antique Rose. Alongside its sister shop, Maison Rustic, Antique Rose has a beautiful selection of unusual and eclectic treats. For some other unusual shops, you can try Holm Grange Craft Village or the Ashridge Manor Garden Centre.
…a bit of the countryside on your doorstep.
Dinton Pastures on the way to Hurst Village is a lovely picturesque spot with plenty of outdoor activities for families as well as the sporty. There are also plenty of walks around the town that take in some great spots and things to do with the kids. There is a walk around Ludgrove which takes in a great place to feed the ducks, see lambs and calves as well as take a nice back route in to the Pick Your Own fruit and vegetable farm, Greys.
Housing in Wokingham
The average price of a house in Wokingham (as of February 2017) is £415,792 which compares to the national average of £217,502. The building stock around the town offers a wide mix with plenty of new houses and existing homes to choose from. As an old town, you can find character and period homes from Victorian terraced homes such as the railway cottages on Havelock Road to the impressive mansion homes on The Terrace.
The average price of a detached home in Wokingham is £620,562; a semi-detached is £391,898, terraced home £309,314 and a flat is £232,032.
If you are considering buying, renting or relocating to Wokingham then engaging an estate agent who understands the area is key to finding the perfect home at the perfect price. At Property Assistant, we specialise in giving our clients a personal, professional and efficient service. To find out more about how we can help you find the right property in Wokingham, call us on 0118 912 2370