Love Maidenhead - shops, fine eating and a fabulous riverside setting

PUBLISHED: 17:08 11 November 2013 | UPDATED: 17:08 11 November 2013




Maidenhead offers a great mix of shops, some fine places to eat and a fabulous riverside setting beside the Thames. What more could you want, asks Katy Eachus

Situated on the banks of the Thames and with a history that takes in Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Hammer Horror films and the Profumo Affair, Maidenhead has so much to offer. Excellent road and rail links (only 17 minutes to London Paddington by train) have made it a popular commuter town, but there is plenty to see and do in the town.

Originating from a small Medieval village called South Aylington, the town grew up after a wooden was road bridge built in the 13th century, connecting the village with London and Bristol along what is now the A4. A timber wharf built alongside the bridge became known as the New Wharf or Maiden Hythe. The town grew up rapidly around the bridge, providing stabling, blacksmiths and coaching inns for people travelling between the cities.

The town also lies on Brunel’s Great Western Railway, and is home to the famous railway bridge featured in Turner’s painting Rain Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway (1844), in the National Gallery.

For relaxing, there are some fantastic parks and open spaces along the River Thames. Boulter’s Lock and Island is a popular spot for walkers.

The Hammer House of Horror films were made at nearby Bray Studios, while Cliveden (now owned by the National Trust) will always be associated with Christine Keeler.

The main shops, restaurants and leisure facilities in Maidenhead are all within walking distance of the town centre and station. Among the shops are many well known names and some independent gems if you venture a little off the High Street. Local residents are entitled to an Advantage Card which gives them discounts off certain shops, activities and attractions.

A variety of markets throughout the year offers shoppers a great selection of produce from both local and international sources, including farming produce, continental goodies and art. This vibrant town holds plenty of events, including the Maidenhead Carnival, and a variety of cultural events is held at the Norden Farm Centre for the Arts.

Kitchen craft

Anthony Mullan Furniture is giving away 100 vouchers worth £2,500 each towards the cost of a new kitchen which can be redeemed against any orders placed before the end of October 2013.This award-winning, independent family business has over twenty-five years of experience in bespoke furniture design. You can see the furniture being hand crafted, hand painted and finished at the showroom on Hornbuckle Farm in Drift Road. There is a choice of around 3,000 paint colours, and a wide range of materials including oak, walnut and granite. Kitchens cost from around £12000 and come with a ten year guarantee. In addition to classic and contemporary kitchens, the company makes bedrooms, offices and individual pieces.

Tel: 01628 632033

Bathroom beauty

Luxury designer bathrooms can be found at Soak In Style. This family business, located just off the A4 Bath Road, will work closely with you to create beautifully designed rooms that complement your lifestyle, reflect your taste and make the best use of your space. The showroom features inspirational displays of contemporary bathrooms and a fresh take on classic ones. With sixty years of combined experience in the industry, the team can reassuringly guide you through the minefield of the technical aspects of the design. Cat Lock, Creative Director for Soak in Style, has been nominated for the last three years for Bathroom Designer of the Year at the KBBR Design Awards.

Tel: 01628 783686

Under one roof

The Nicholson’s Centre in the heart of the town boasts over 60 national and independent stores, including fashion, jewellery, stationery and shoe shops. There is also a good selection of cafes and a car park with over 700 spaces. Events are held at this bustling centre throughout the year, from seasonal presentations to live entertainment and community activities so check the website for details.

Tel: 01628 783746

That’s entertainment

Norden Farm Centre for the Arts offers a packed programme of theatre, dance, comedy, visual arts, music and film and has a popular café bar. This purpose-built entertainment centre just outside the town centre offers art house and foreign language films as well as mainstream screenings, and boasts some big names in comedy, such as Miranda Hart and Stephen K Amos. Music includes jazz, blues, tributes, acoustic acts and classical concerts. The Christmas show this year (26 November to 29 December) is How To Catch A Star based on the charming book by Oliver Jeffers.

Tel: 01628 788997

Note perfect

Sheargold Pianos in King Street sells an extensive range of new and second-hand pianos, with upright, grand and digital models for all levels of ability. Services include piano tuning and servicing, piano hire, removals and storage. Guitars are also stocked.

Tel: 01628 771400

Keep fit

Within an easy walk of the town centre, the Magnet Leisure Centre offers swimming pools, fitness classes, Bodyzone gym, sports courts and the Cheeky Charlie’s children’s play zone. Children’s parties can be held here, including one hour at Cheekie Charlie’s and forty-five minutes for tea in the party room. There is a café serving healthy snacks and refreshments, and a surface pay and display car park.

Tel: 01628 685333 or 01628 685335 www.

Fly a spitfire

Maidenhead Heritage Centre is well worth a visit to discover the town’s fascinating history and to purchase Maidenhead souvenirs. The Grandma Flew Spitfires exhibition dedicated to Air Transport Auxiliary includes a flight simulator that has proved very popular with visitors, including Theresa May, pictured here with the Heritage Centre’s Chairman Richard Poad. Flights are available Tuesday to Saturday. They include instruction and cost £5 for 15 minutes.

Tel: 01628 780555

Sitting pretty

High quality, classic furniture and soft furnishings can be found at RH Sands of Maidenhead in Queen Street. Established for nearly 100 years, this independent company prides itself on its customer service and stocks well-known brands such as Duresta, Iain James, Vale, Derwent, Sanderson, Monkwell and Romo. If you can’t find what you are looking for, they can often help you locate it.

Tel: 01628 624706

Designer jewellery

Anthony Paul in Queen Street sells exquisite jewellery. This family-run business specialises in designer and bespoke items, including rings, bracelets, pendants and necklaces. With over 30 years of experience in the jewellery business, they offer friendly advice and a professional jewellery making and repair service.

Tel: 01628 620353

Your health!

The Active Health Clinic in St Mark’s Road aims to help you reach your optimum health and maintain it. Experienced in treating a wide range of conditions, varying from muscular to skeletal, the team of experienced practitioners can provide you with advice and treatment while helping you to enjoy your route to optimum health via a range of services such as education evenings and clubs. Treatments available include chiropractic, sports and remedial massage, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, personal training, hypno birthing, reflexology and performance coaching.

01628 626 565

Take a peek in Peakes

Peakes has become more fashion focused over the years, embracing the trend for a more casual look. So for the new Autumn/Winter season they have introduced a wider variety of casual wear featuring warm cosy knits, modern stretch coloured jeans and chinos and warm padded jackets.

Browse the fabulous range of Baileys Giordano shirts with its quirky

detailing and real wow factor. There is free customer parking at the rear of the store.

01628 622655

Crafty community

The Craft Coop celebrates the talents of local craftspeople by offering them a pop-up shop base to make, sell and exhibit their products in Maidenhead.

They use empty shops so members can sell unique handcrafted items from local small businesses. Items include everything from jewellery and accessories to children’s clothing, homeware, glassware and mosaics.

The Craft Coop will operate from the former Waterstones store in the Nicholsons Centre shopping precinct until the end of December, so do pop in to see those treasures you won’t find elsewhere.

Where To Eat

The Riverside Brasserie at Boulters is the perfect place to enjoy an intimate evening for two or to celebrate larger occasions, watching the world cruise by. The restaurant, which appears in the Good Food Guide and The Michelin Guide, offers exceptional cooking with outstanding value for money. Using the best seasonal ingredients from the Home Counties and British Isles, Executive Chef Daniel Woodhouse, has created a diverse and regularly changing menu. The Terrace Bar on the first floor has a wonderful view over the lock and offers snacks and rustic pub dishes. The venue can be hired for private celebrations

Tel: 01628 621291

Jenner’s Café situated in the beautiful Riverside Gardens park serves a selection of foods including all-day breakfasts, mixed grills, fish and chips, scampi, panini and sandwiches. There is a large well equipped play area for children with an 18 hole crazy golf course. At the rear of the park is a large grassy recreation area.

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