8 things to love about Ascot

PUBLISHED: 00:00 01 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:20 01 June 2020

The mythical Side-hill Winder

The mythical Side-hill Winder

Archant

It’s been a difficult time for all, but when we come out the other side, there will be plenty of reasons to be cheerful, particularly in Ascot town, says Claire Pitcher

Breath of fresh air

We often don’t take the time to explore what is local to us, but it’s great to be outdoors so go and discover what is literally just down London Road. The lake at Virginia Water was created by the Duke of Cumberland in the 18th century. Today it is always popular with those wanting to stroll the circumference or just sit and watch the world and wildlife go by. Not far from the entrance on London Road is the stunning Cascade waterfall and the Leptis Magna ruins, a folly built to resemble a Roman relic. Don’t forget to take the kids to the towering 100ft totem pole too.

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Shop local

Now more than ever it’s important to try to support the county’s independent shops, and there are plenty in Ascot. Grace Boutique opened its first store 15 years ago and owner, Vivienne King, named the shop after her daughter, Grace. Vivienne specialises in bringing a wide variety of brands to Ascot, including Pinko, Missoni, Joseph and Patrizia Pepe. Visit graceboutique.co.uk

On Old London Road is Natiliya Couture, a high-quality, bold and unique fashion brand, ‘inspired by global influences’. If you’re looking for occasion-wear, this is your one-stop shop. Visit nataliyacouture.com

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What lies ahead

Just a 10-minute drive from the centre of Ascot is Coworth Park Hotel, here to guide you back to serenity when we’re allowed back to normality. The spa day menu offers you their Signature Spa Day (£215), which includes a 110-minute Mindful Moments treatment as well as lunch in The Spatisserie. If you’ve only got limited time to spare, book in for their Sundown Spa Day (from £125); four hours of relaxation that includes a 50-minute treatment and dinner.

Visit www.dorchestercollection.com/en/ascot/coworth-park

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Golf days

Did you know that golf used to be played on Ascot Heath, which was within the racecourse itself? Ascot Golf Club first opened in 1887 and is the second oldest and the only Royal Golf Club in Berkshire. It was designed by J.H.Taylor, who went on to design many courses in Europe. These days, both members and visitors alike enjoy the course’s peaceful surroundings with red kites hovering overhead and muntjac and roe deer hiding in the woodland.

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Best for brunch

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to finding some great restaurants in Ascot. Bluebell’s Restaurant on London Road serves a delicious Sunday lunch. You can book online at bluebells-restaurant.co.uk. On the High Street is Fego. Breakfast and brunch here can either be traditional English, Mediterranean, or a pancake plate. If that doesn’t make you feel hungry, then browsing their cake selection will.

Find out more at hellofego.com

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Yes, Sir

The racecourse isn’t Ascot’s only Royal connection. St George’s School is a private senior school for girls. Among its most notable attendees was Princess Beatrice of York. And it’s not just the girls’ school that’s classed as one of the best in Berkshire, Ascot’s Papplewick happens to be one of the top preparatory boys schools in Britain.

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Beasts and barrows

Back in the Bronze Age, Ascot was in the middle of an important cemetery, which had a few round barrows inside entitled Bowledge Hill Barrows. There’s nothing left of most of them now, but one does still remain in the middle of Heatherwood Hospital. It was rumoured there used be a mythical ‘Side-hill Winder’ creature living among the barrows.

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Here comes Santa Claus

It might only be June, but you’ll soon be able to book a Lapland UK experience for December. Yes, £59 per person is expensive but it’s a four-hour interactive theatre production that takes the audience through the Elven Toy Factory, Mother Christmas’ Kitchen and the Elven Village. If it’s good enough for Idris Elba, the Beckhams and Sir Elton, then it’s good enough for us. We all need something to look forward to at the moment! laplanduk.co.uk

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