Spend, spend, spend in...Ascot
PUBLISHED: 10:22 16 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:15 20 February 2013
Best known for its racecourse, this small town is now at the heart of East Berkshire's cafÃ© society
The low down
Ascot may be relatively small, but it's certainly one of the most vibrant places in Berkshire with three cafs, several pubs and restaurants and quite a few independent shops, including an award-winning butcher, C.E. Lewis and an acclaimed sports shop, Cliff Roe.
Drop into Starbucks or Fego's in Ascot High Street on a weekday morning and you'll find lots of 'ladies who latte'. And after they've lingered over their skinny cappuccinos they sometimes like to browse in the surrounding shops.
If you're lucky you'll find a parking spot in Ascot High Street itself, or in the Hermitage car park, a small parade off the High Street. Otherwise, there's a large free car park at the lower end of the High Street.
They don't have an outlet on the high street, but Vanilla Parties is a great place to splash your cash if you're planning a party, a cocktail soire or an extravagant wedding. The Ascot and Sunningdale socialites will soon be beating a path to their door in time for Christmas and New Year. You've only got to see how popular their new deli - Vanilla - is in Sunningdale to see that they're quite rightly in demand to produce stylish gatherings for special occasions.
Hyperion Tiles has a studio in Ascot and in Marlow. One of their latest projects was a fabulous statement staircase in the hallway of one of the most expensive mansions (10 + million) on the Wentworth estate. They're at the cutting edge of design and are finding their new latest range of wood mosaics is proving very popular in the bathroom to create a Far Eastern look. (Don't worry, they're fully waterproofed.) Engineered wood, either exotic or traditional, is also popular when installing under floor heating. The firm supplies bespoke high quality tiles, ceramics, mosaics, stone, wood flooring, work surfaces and terracotta for interior and exterior design projects, for the home or office. They source their materials from specialist European and worldwide manufacturers and suppliers and offer a complete design and installation service.
Once you've taken care of your tiled areas, it's time to look at carpets, vinyls and woods, and the Ascot Carpet Company is one of the longest-established in the county. It carries a huge stock of carpets from Brinton's Platinum for the swankiest of drawing rooms to economical flooring for utility rooms. (Pay a visit to their Hermitage Parade showroom and you can also pop into the Longboard Lounge, where owner Victor Irvine indulges in his passion for long boarding.
Visit www.longboardlounge.com to find out more.
Wentworth Kitchens, in nearby South Ascot, specialises in designer kitchens ranging from traditional woods to contemporary finishes. The brand has been associated with the kitchen industry for more than 25 years and has built up a good reputation for quality (all of their kitchens carry a 10-year guarantee) and service.
Shopped till you've dropped?
Fego's is the place to head for in Ascot for eggs Benedict or great wraps and Starbucks is always popular. Ciao 90 is a chic brasserie that's branched out in the last few months. With a new, more relaxed image, and a new chef to match, they're offering light lunches to attract shoppers at prices that don't call for a credit card. A popular spot for night owls and music lovers is Club One which regularly hosts both tribute bands and the real thing like - well The Real thing (remember them?) and the legendary Candy Staten.
Keeping up appearances
Aura Spa, just off the high street in Course Road, was opened last year by sisters Katie and Suzie Coxon, who is a former make-up artist in the film industry. The spa takes a holistic approach to beauty and offers a full range of treatments from make-up and aromatherapy to waxing and spray tanning.
New on their beauty menu is Chroma Oxy, a multi functional treatment system that claims to have a dramatic anti-aging effect, as well as improve a variety of common skin conditions such as acne, sun damage and stretch marks.
If you've decided to go for more radical anti aging options, you may prefer to put yourself in the hands of a GP. Dr Kate Bentley-Thomas, of Ascot Faces, still practices general medicine but she also offers botox, dermal fillers and chemical peels in the comfort of her own home. There's no receptionist and no waiting room, just total discretion and the knowledge that you're in qualified hands.
For the fashion conscious...
For lovers of designer labels and all things couture, do what hundreds of women do twice a year and go to the Really Good Deal Fashion Sale, held at Ascot Racecourse. The next one is on October 2 & 3. For a 7 ticket on the door you'll gain access to around 75 stalls all selling designer fashion at discount prices.
Call 01634 226203 for more details.
A South Ascot-based company that has a stand is an exciting new designer label, Twin Cheeks (above). They make an exciting range of sophisticated corsets which are worn as outer wear as elegant evening outfits or stunningly intricate bridal wear. They also carry a range of accessories, such as petticoats, tiaras and waistcoats.
Isabella is another haunt of ladies in the know when it comes to designer fashion. Former image consultant Annie Cottman and her staff can help and advise on outfits for any occasion, from buying the best-cut jeans to suit your figure to splashing out on your Royal Ascot hat. Her Marc Cain and Dom & Ruby (above) collections for this winter are particularly exciting. Annie also carries a wide range of handbags, shoes and accessories.
Not just jewellery
Tom French is the exclusive jewellers in Ascot, in Hermitage Parade, where one-off pieces are regularly commissioned by savvy locals. As well as working with traditional gem stones, Tom also crafts more unusual stones such as tourmalines and tanzanite. His gem stone dress rings are extremely popular, especially around Christmas, as are his Windrose jewellery boxes.