Bracknell Forest is considered one of the top 20 places to live in the UK, offering a fantastic quality of life to all its residents. Ranking at number 16 in a 2014 Halifax survey, the borough got top marks for its excellent healthcare, low unemployment rate, outstanding broadband connectivity and low crime rates - all of which add up to make Bracknell town itself a fantastic place to live.
Property in Bracknell
A desirable place to buy, Bracknell has seen a 12 per cent increase in sold prices over the past 12 months. Homes here go, on average, for £311,763, yet Bracknell remains more affordable than the nearby areas of Crowthorne and Finchampstead.
Comfortably close to Reading and historic Windsor, and just 34 miles from central London, Bracknell is an ideal location for those commuting to the capital, or to the business hubs of Reading or Slough. Direct trains run regularly from Bracknell station to London Waterloo, with a journey time of just over an hour. The town also offers easy access to the M3, M4 and Heathrow Airport.
The new development of Jennett's Park to the west of Bracknell provides a mix of around 1,400 modern homes, ranging from apartments to larger five-bedroom properties. Delightfully close to Swinley Country Park, the development also has plenty of its own amenities on hand.
Schools in Bracknell
Bracknell has some fantastic schools covering primary, secondary and post-16 education.
For children aged 4-11, the options include St Joseph's Catholic Primary School – which was rated outstanding by Ofsted - Whitegrove Primary School, Sandy Lane and Birch Hill. In Jennett's Park you'll find Jennett's Park CE Primary, which opened in 2011.
Bracknell is served by several fantastic state secondary schools in the town itself, and some additional 11-18 establishments in the surrounding areas.
Ranelagh School is an exemplary secondary school with specialisms in visual arts, business enterprise, mathematics and computing. Certified an Outstanding school by Ofsted in 2015, Ranelagh is also classed as a 'world school', offering the Baccalaureate. It caters for pupils aged 11-18.
The Brakenhale School also provides for 11-18 year olds and offers a supportive and caring environment. In addition, Easthampstead Park Community School is rated Good by Ofsted, having been commended on its above-average results and high expectations for behaviour.
Bracknell and Wokingham College provides 16+ education, including A-Level and university-level courses.
Things to do
Bracknell is packed full of great family-friendly activities to keep you occupied all year round. With plenty of beautiful forest surrounding the town, there are walks and adventures to be had come rain or shine.
Situated in Swinley Forest, Go Ape offers zip-wires, swings and obstacle courses, along with a host of other outdoor activities. Go Ape Forest Segways can be hired, allowing you to explore the area on two wheels.
The Coral Reef leisure centre offers a magical swimming experience for children, with a pirate ship, rapids and water flumes. Set to close for refurbishment at the end of 2015, the centre will re-open with even more facilities in January 2016.
Just opposite the Coral Reef, the Look Out Discovery Centre provides a whole host of activities for children of all ages, including an indoor stream, mini supermarket, hands-on science exhibits and puzzles.
With all of these plus bowling, an indoor ice ring and dry ski slope, you certainly won't be short of things to do with the kids in Bracknell. For big kids there are several immaculate golf courses in the area, as well as a rugby football club.
Eating and drinking in Bracknell
You'll find a wonderful range of great restaurants, bars and pubs in Bracknell. The selection of quality Indian restaurants is particularly impressive; the Taj Mahal and Shahi, for example, come highly recommended. The high street also provides popular coffee shop chains and fast food outlets.
For those looking to stay out late, tipples and plenty of fun can be had at some of Bracknell's night clubs and bars, which include Coppid Beech's Après and Club 8.
Princess Square shopping centre in the heart of Bracknell offers a delightful array of stores, including high street chains and independent shops. You'll also discover more great brands at The Peel Centre close to the High Street.
An outdoor market can be found in the town centre every Friday and Saturday, with independent traders offering fresh flowers, fruit and continental meats.
You'll have plenty of choice when it comes to your grocery shopping; Bracknell is served by all of the big name stores you'd expect, such as Waitrose, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.
Culture and community
There's plenty going on to nurture your creative soul in and around Bracknell; one such place is South Hill Park Arts Centre. The centre provides an excellent creative space, with theatre productions, shows and events taking place throughout the year. It also offers workshops on everything from Bollywood dance to quilt making and silversmithing.
Just down the road from Bracknell is Ascot Racecourse; in addition to the famous race days you'll find food festivals, fireworks and much more in the calendar of events.
As a town, Bracknell has a lot to offer. With wonderful homes to suit every budget, good health care, plenty to see and do, and great transport connections, what more could you want?