Caversham - all you need to know about this riverside destination
PUBLISHED: 00:00 22 July 2020
Family friendly with gorgeous green spaces, the Thames-side village of Caversham is said to be one of the best places to live in the UK. We explore why...
Appearing in The Sunday Times Best Places to live in the UK 2020, the wealthy riverside village of Caversham hosts an eclectic mix of boutique shops and cafés. Other than a Waitrose and the ubiquitous Tesco, major trade names are mainly absent, no doubt because they can be found not far away just over the bridge in Reading.
And you don’t have to walk far from the crossroads in the centre of Caversham before you are climbing fairly steep roads – a reminder that Caversham is the gateway to the Chiltern Hills in this part of the world.
Tucked away in lanes that run adjacent to the Thames and up on the hill in Caversham Heights sit the big, opulent houses. The house prices here are amongst the highest in the area.
Caversham has also been in the news in recent years, as Yasmina Siadatan won the popular BBC television programme The Apprentice. Yasmina helped her brother run the Mya Lacarte restaurant in central Caversham before leaving to work for the ‘no-nonsense’ businessman Alan Sugar.
She took maternity leave and never returned to Sugar’s company. I also heard that Terry Lee Miall, drummer and fellow Ant for Eighties pop sensation Adam and the Ants is to be found living somewhere in Caversham.
So what else can you expect to find when you visit this lovely Berkshire village?
The Christchurch Bridge was commissioned by Reading Borough Council a few years back and it allows pedestrians and cyclists access from Christchurch Meadows in Caversham into Reading. At 123 metres long and with colour-changing lights, it’s a striking landmark.
Caversham Bridge carries the A4155 road across the River Thames between Caversham and the town centre of Reading but it also provides pedestrian access to Pipers Island in the middle of the river.
Sitting atop the hill at Caversham near the villages of Emmer Green and Caversham Park Village lies Caversham Park House, which was once home to William Cadogan, 1st Earl of Cadogan. The current house, which was built in 1850, was most recently home to BBC Monitoring, a section of the BBC World Service that analyses news stories and information from around the world. It was also home to the BBC Written Archives Centre and BBC Radio Berkshire.
To the side of the estate you’ll find Clayfield Copse, a beautiful nature reserve that’s worth exploring. The children will love finding the wood carvings on the sculpture trail.
Caversham Court Gardens and the Gazebo on the banks of the Thames are also worth a visit.
The Thames Lido on Napier Road is the place to be seen these days. It has an outdoor pool, spa restaurant, bar and event space.
If you like architecture and history, take in the pretty pilgrimage sites of St Ann’s Church, the shrine of Our Lady, St Ann’s Holy Well and St Peter’s Church.
Caversham has some great watering holes, and one is The Last Crumb by the Dodo Pub Co. You can’t miss it – it’s all lit up with twinkling lights on Prospect Street. It features an open kitchen with a wood-fired pizza oven and a welcoming bar with counter dining, plus space for 200 diners. The menu includes everyone’s favourites, including Dodo burgers, Dodo pizzas, salad bowls, wings ’n’ things, and they also serve brekkie and brunch. The burgers are amazing, by the way.
Find out more about the fascinating towns and villages in Berkshire in Binoclarity by Thomas Newport. £2.99 ebook; £9.99 paperback at amazon.co.uk