16 January, 2014
The town of Wokingham is one steeped in history. The name means 'Wocca's people's home'. According to the history books, Wocca was a Saxon chieftain who owned the land. In the Victorian era, the name was somewhat cannibalised and became Oakingham, or 'town of the forest', which is why the coat of arms bares an acorns and oak leaves.
It is perhaps no surprise then, that there are many beautiful walks to be had in and around Wokingham. Amongst the most enjoyable are the California Country Park as well as Charvil Country Park, which is home to two very rare species of plant - the Loddon Lily and Loddon Pondweed.
If you are looking for a bit more action on your day out, Dinton Pastures Country Park has an activity centre and offers golf, orienteering, boat hire and other various water sport activities.
The town was famed for its brick-making in Victorian times and it shows. While the town centre is small, it is lovely to amble around; especially on Farmers Market day, which takes place the first Thursday of each month.
If the great outdoors is simply not your scene, there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy in Wokingham. If you are looking for quality time with the family, Pottery Pals comes highly recommended. This well established studio has 60 painting places available and over 180 items to choose from. It can be a great way to spend time with the family and many adults end up enjoying it more than the younger ones.
Continuing with the arts theme, there is always plenty going on in and around Wokingham. Head over to morearts.org.uk to find out about upcoming local exhibitions, festivals and more. Upcoming events include the Chiltern Brass Quintet and a stage rendition of the Coen brothers' cult film 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'
For the foodies, there is no shortage of dining opportunities. Ruchetta on Rose Street comes highly recommended. The head chef and owner, Angelo, takes pride in his Italian restaurant and is known to inspect every element of his cuisine to ensure that each meal is perfect.
There are also a number of Michelin star restaurants nearby Wokingham such as L'Ortolan, where diners can enjoy contemporary French cuisine at its finest.
If you are looking for nice food without the hefty price tag, there are a number of restaurants such as Café Rouge, Zizis and Pizza Express dotted around the town centre.
Once upon a time, Wokingham had more pubs per head of population than any other town or city in the country. While the town can no longer claim this accolade, there are still a mind boggling number of public houses, each with their own unique character.
Music lovers should check out the Hope and Anchor; those looking for nice family pubs should visit the Three Frogs; for real ale drinkers, it has to be the Broad Street Tavern and for sports lovers - the Victoria.
For those who want to venture a little further away, Reading is only a 15 minute drive away and London is easily accessible for a shopping trip or night out at the theatre. It is good to know that you have these options so close, in addition to the entertainment available on your doorstep.