Spend, spend, spend in...Wokingham
PUBLISHED: 15:45 15 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:18 20 February 2013
It's an historic market town that, as well as several chain stores, has managed to keep its independents
It's a thriving market town with an imposing grade II* listed Victorian Gothic town hall at its centre. Markets are held four times a week and a monthly farmers' market (on the last Thursday of each month) is said to be one of the finest in the area. All the chains are here: Argos,WH Smith, Boots, M&S, Cargo and Principles, along with several independents.
There's a large public car park that's handy for the main shopping areas of Denmark Street, Broad Street and Rose Street. Charges are just £1 for up to two hours.
The Dolls House Boutique, in Rose Street, is the place to head if you're looking for a fascinator. This delightful little shop is crammed full of bags, jewellery, accessories and gifts for him, but owner Linden Reader also stocks a large selection of fascinators for formal occasions. Not only that, but you can also have one made especially for you by a bespoke milliner who will dye your fascinator to match the colour of your outfit. Tel: 0118 989 2457.
Pavilion Interiors opened a new showroom on Finchampstead Road last year and stocks a wide range of oak, walnut, pine, ash and leather furniture from tables to tallboys. The company also has a bigger showroom at Moss End Garden Village at Warfield, near Bracknell. Tel: 01189 894999.
More interiors inspiration can be found at the delightful Antique Rose in Rose Street where you'll find a unique range of gifts and home accessories inspired by French country chic. Their ranges of cake stands, memo boards, candles and picture frames are perfect for Christmas and they also stock a wide range of painted furniture. Tel: 0118 979 8414.
Faded memories restored
Tony Holmes at Wokingham Photographic, in Denmark Street, is offering a unique service, restoring and enhancing faded and old photographs and making digital copies. Just bring him your old originals which he'll then scan and email them to a company in California. They'll send an estimate - normally around £20 per photo - and within a few days you'll be sent a CD of your restored images.
Tel: 0118 979 0713.
TG Art Gallery is a dynamic gallery in Peach Street with some exciting and popular artists on its books. On November 6 two equally popular artists will be at the gallery in person for the launch of their latest exhibition. Michael Wood's Venetian views are a firm favourite with collectors, while his wife, Veronica Charlesworth, is well-known for her romantic Mediterranean scenes.
Tel: 0118 979 2707.
Holme Grange Craft Village
Just outside the town on Heathlands Road you'll find 20 outlets selling everything from candles to kitchens and from herbs to hoodies. If you're after things for the home KA International sells gorgeous fabrics and you'll find plenty of accessories shops, too, such as The Little Craft Barn and The Gallery. The tea room, housed in a renovated 19th century barn, is a big draw in itself. Parking is free.
Do the Bush Walk
A beamed passageway just off the town centre leads you to Barbara Easton for shoes and women's fashions, DKUK for ski gear and Rococo for contemporary jewellery. Lovelinks and Pandora are two of their most popular lines, but you'll also find gorgeous silver pieces and some snazzy costume jewellery in the reasonably-priced Carrie Elspeth range that go well with this winter's fashion colours. Tel: 0118 977 3141.
The Courtyard underneath the Town Hall is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike with tables alfresco on the pedestrianised town square in good weather. Lovely for lattes and a pastry but also good for more substantial Mediterranean-influenced dishes with wine.
If you're going more upmarket, Ruchetta in Rose Street is an award-winning Italian restaurant offering authentic high-class cuisine. Owner Angelo has also opened up another restaurant and country pub in Peppard Common aptly called Ruchetta at Peppard. Tel: 0118 978 8025 (Wokingham).
Just on the outskirts of the town, on London Road, you'll find Loch Fyne, the seafood restaurant with a good reputation for its fresh food. Check out their weekend breakfast on Saturday and Sundays or their £10 for two courses menu served from noon until 7pm daily. Tel: 0118 912 3260.