Principally known for being the home of the Royal Ascot Racecourse, Ascot is a small town in East Berkshire. It also has a reputation for being one of the most expensive places in the UK, both to rent or buy a property.
In this guide, we take a close look at what Ascot has to offer its residents as well as focus on the demographics, facilities and our top picks for things to do in the town.
Ascot: A Snapshot
Life, and the facilities, in Ascot tends to be focused around the racecourse with the main high street running parallel to the course itself. You can find all of the essential services including a supermarket (Tesco Express), banks, library, police station, cafes and small independent shops.
The town is also the site of the local NHS hospital, Heatherwood. Though it has no emergency facilities, it is the closest facility for minor injuries to the surrounding area of Bracknell, Sunninghill and Bagshot.
Notable residents of Ascot include Chris Evans and Marti Pellow as well as being the home of both Ringo Starr and John Lennon for a time.
Of course, the face of this small commuter town changes entirely during Royal Ascot Week when the racecourse plays host to the world’s most famous horse race meeting. Dating back to 1711, the event (and the build-up) has a huge impact on local services including trains, traffic and businesses.
Ascot: The Detail
Part of the civil parish of Sunninghill and Ascot, administration of the town itself is split between Bracknell Forest Borough Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead unitary authority.
It has long been a part of the Crown Estate and the racecourse is still technically owned by the Queen. The history of Ascot and its racecourse can be dated to the early 18th century when Queen Anne noted the open heathland was an ideal place to gallop. Not five miles from Windsor Castle, she founded the racecourse and the first meeting was held in 1711 to contest for Her Majesty’s Plate.
Ascot is situated 10 miles to the east of Bracknell and south of Windsor. Like Bracknell, Ascot is well located for the M3, M25 and M4, being just a ten-minute drive from the former.
Ascot is also on the main Reading-Waterloo line being under an hour from London Waterloo. You can also change at Ascot for services to Aldershot, Guildford and Bagshot.
Demographics of Ascot
Categorised by the Office for National Statistics as being a commuter suburb, Ascot is part of Bracknell Forest Borough Council.
At the last census report, a total of 5,753 residents were recorded in a total of 2,228 households, being split as follows:
- Detached house or bungalow: 718
- Semi-detached house or bungalow: 1011
- Terraced house or bungalow: 185
- Flat, maisonette or apartment: 297
- Caravan or other mobile or temporary structure: 17
The occupations of residents in Ascot is varied but the majority are employed in professional or senior roles:
- Managers, directors and senior officials: 16.6197%
- Professional occupations: 22.2183%
- Associate professional and technical occupations: 17.0775%
- Administrative and secretarial occupations: 11.5845%
- Skilled trades occupations: 8.9789%
- Caring, leisure and other service occupations: 8.9437%
- Sales and customer service occupations: 5.1761%
- Process, plant and machine operatives: 2.7465%
- Elementary occupations : 6.6549%
The vast majority of resident are either in very good or good health (87.6%) with just 0.49% being in very bad health.
27% of the population are under the age of 18 with 16% over the age of 65, the median age is 40 years old.
Ascot itself has a couple of primary schools with South Ascot Village Primary School and St Francis Catholic Primary School, classed as being ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ respectively in their latest Ofsted reports.
There are also several independent schools including Heathfield School, the LVS and Papplewick as well as St George’s School, The Marist Preparatory School, and St Mary’s in neighbouring Sunninghill and Cheapside. St George’s has the prestige of being attended by Princess Beatrice of York; St Mary’s was the school of choice for Caroline, Princess of Hanover.
Secondary education is provided by the Charters School in Sunninghill which is an ‘Outstanding’ school.
Our best picks for…
La Sorrentina on Sunninghill High Street has a great reputation for its Italian food including seafood, steaks and classic pasta dishes. It’s a modern restaurant but is far from pretentious and doesn’t have a price tag to suit the local property prices.
Jagz is situated right outside the train station and has a reputation for incorporating several entertainment venues in one. It offers a nightclub, bar and live music platform. During the summer, the place can get exceptionally busy and during Royal Ascot Week there is always a big queue to get in.
However, off-season, there are plenty of events being run including Northern Soul, tribute acts and even cabaret nights. It’s a popular but intimate venue and offers membership if you want to be guaranteed entrance.
…picking up a gift.
Little Wishes on Ascot High Street is a cute little boutique gift shop offering an intriguing selection of toys and inspirational knick-knacks.
It’s quite small but stock changes all the time so it’s worth dropping in to see what’s new. Little ones can play with the train set play table whilst you enjoy a browse.
They are open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 5.30pm.
…a sweet treat.
On the high street you can find a small bakery, Anne-Marie Patisseries that serves some wonderful cakes and bakes. It’s best to hit the shop as early as you can as most of the best treats are sold well before lunch. It’s a small shop but they often have a few tables outside on sunny days where you can get a coffee.
Of course, no experience of Ascot would be complete without spending some time at the racecourse. Whilst the main event of Royal Ascot Week is certainly worth attending, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the facilities on offer at this landmark location. As well as other racing events, you can also experience open air cinema, fine-dining plus some great events.
They regularly hold the festival of Food and Wine, Beer Festival and fireworks spectaculars. See their website for details.
Housing in Ascot
The overall average house price in Ascot is a whopping £871,508 which is 45.49% more than nearby Sunningdale and 83% more than Winkfield Row.
The majority of houses that have been sold over the last few decades have been detached where the average house price is £1,449,697. A semi-detached property is priced at around £530,936 with flats being £595,703.
House prices over the last 12 months have increased by 8% and by 22% since 2014.
If you are considering a move to Ascot or looking to sell your home then we would love to hear from you. We think it’s important that you know all you can about an area before you buy property and, as trusted local estate agents, we think we are well placed to give you all the information you need.
Property Assistant is an independent, family-run estate agent serving clients across the Thames Valley specialising in property sales and lettings. Contact us today on 0118 912 2370 to discuss your plans for your next move.
Featured image via Geograph.