5 things to see and do in…Sundridge Park

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Sunny Sundridge Park is not huge but there’s plenty going on and it’s all pretty damn refined – where should you go and what should you see?

Swanky Sports

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Sundridge Park is home to both a golf club and a Lawn Tennis and Squash Rackets Club. The former has two immaculate 18-hole courses while the latter is set in six acres of grounds with 19 tennis courts – including eight grass and four clay – and four squash courts.

Curry that’s a cut above

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Cinnamon Culture is the country’s only Indian restaurant in the 2014 Michelin guide and it’s not the sort you wander in for a boozy korma after a night in the pub. There’s no dodgy 70s decor, instead it’s formal dining and gorgeous food. Read our review here.

Grab a coffee

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Lavender House Cafe is an award-winner and kid friendly, with an outdoor play area and games for kids. Perfect for takeaways, snacks or afternoon teas.

Picking up something for the house

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It seems that about half the shops in Sundridge Park are for picking up nic-nacs for your home. There are a couple of interiors shops with some beautiful pieces and the excellent Sundridge Park Antiques is full of excellent finds.

Thanks a bunch

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Elliza Wade Florist has some lovely plants, flowers and ornaments to brighten your home, garden and day.

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Binfield – The homebuyer’s honeypot

On the surface of it, Binfield may appear an unassuming sleepy Berkshire village on the outskirts of Wokingham so why has it become such a honeypot for homebuyers?

One award-winning developer which has realised the vast potential and growing buyer demand for homes in this charming village is Millgate who are shortly to open the doors to their latest show home at Meadows Reach in Binfield.

The show house is one of 18 properties about to enter the market and according to Peter Kavanagh of appointed selling agent, Romans, the launch could not be better timed:

“We absolutely cannot wait to be able to show our clients around this wonderful development; Millgate have pitched the build quality and size of homes perfectly. We already have a queue of people who are anxious to visit and the October launch cannot come soon enough!”

Kavanagh goes on to comment on the current market in Binfield,

“We have seen a very buoyant market so far in 2014. Wokingham, the closest town to Meadows Reach is becoming a very desirable place to live. And for those that cannot afford the uplift in prices that has occurred in Wokingham itself, Binfield offers a fabulous alternative.”

Back in October 2012 Wokingham was hailed as the most desirable place in England and Wales to bring up a family according to a national study by Family Investments, which examined factors such as quality of schools, childcare provision, cost of living, crime levels and property affordability. The study also considered the availability of parks and green spaces, leisure centres, museums and theatres.

Little has changed over the past 2 years except more recently some quite large mid-range developments are under construction on the edge of the town. Kavanagh says:

“Another reason that Millgate’s Meadows Reach development will do so well is the sheer quality of work which is outstanding and will surely stand out from the rest of the crowd.”

Opening the doors to the show home on Saturday 18th October, Millgate are looking forward to welcoming a diverse range of people across the threshold. The homes are so well designed that they will perfectly suit downsizers, upsizers, side steppers or first time buyers alike – depending on their particular situation. And with prices starting at just £450,000 it is easy to see why these high quality homes are sure to sell fast.

A choice of house sizes is available at Meadows Reach with an innovative development of eighteen 3 & 4 bedroom homes. The development has been beautifully thought out with 2 acres of recreational land for owners to share and enjoy.


Sales and Marketing Director for Millgate, Jonathan Cranley, comments on the new collection,

“We are currently in the most extraordinary position of having sold all of our stock, a first since I joined Millgate in 2007. It goes to prove the confidence buyers have in the South East of England and our homes.

“We have had many calls over the past couple of years to build some more affordable homes in Berkshire and this is exactly what we have done, responded to our client’s needs. I believe that Binfield, just 6 miles from Wokingham is exactly what the UK needs to overcome the current housing crisis. Smaller bespoke developments in semi-rural areas which are very easy to commute to and from.”

For more details on this exciting new development in Binfield contact Millgate on 01189 343 344 or visit http://www.millgatehomes.co.uk.

Ascot Racecourse buckles up for Red Bull Air Race World Championship

The opening day of the Red Bull Air Race Weekend is being held at Ascot Racecourse.

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Qualifying Day includes 24 exciting races, showcasing the skills of elite pilots looking to secure the Challengers’ Cup and qualify for a starting position at Sunday’s Finale.

With planes taking off and landing in front of the iconic Grandstand, you are certain to enjoy fantastic views of the action. Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of this fantastic high-octane event.

Raceday Programme

12:00 Doors Open
1:50 Training Session I – Master Class
2:45 Training Session II – Master Class
3:50 Race – Challenger Cup
4:50 Winner’s Ceremony – Challenger Cup
5:00 Qualifying Session – Master Class
7:15 Doors Close

Times may be subject to change

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High Octane Action

It’s thrilling, it’s supercharged and only the best pilots qualify to compete in the world’s fastest motorsport series.

Since it was officially launched, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship has become globally renowned as the fastest and most exhilarating motorsport on the planet.

It is a visual spectacle unlike any other. A combination of high speed, low altitude and extreme manoeuvrability make it only accessible to the world’s most exceptional pilots.

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Defending the Title

Featuring the world’s best race pilots including Britain’s current World Champion Paul Bonhomme, in a pure motorsport competition that combines speed, precision and skill.

Speaking of his opportunity to race at such a prestigious venue, Bonhomme said: “For 300 years there has been racing at Ascot; what a stunning place to race aeroplanes. The history of Ascot will probably never be beaten in the history of the air race. Awesome; no pressure!”

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Great Views

Witness the world’s best racing pilots battling it out against the dramatic backdrop of the iconic Ascot Grandstand.

Enjoy incredible views of the planes taking off and landing as the world’s best pilots look to navigate an aerial racetrack featuring air-filled pylons in the fastest possible time.

Ascot’s Raceday for all the family

This Saturday the world’s premier international jockey’s competition The Shergar Cup welcomes riding talent from around the World.

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It is a day to savour as we see how these top jockeys handle the unfamiliar pressure of riding within a team during this unique six-race, points based competition.

For many visitors, the off-track entertainment is every bit as appealing with Vernon Kay hosting a line-up which includes Scouting for Girls, the Stars of the Commitments, Bjorn Again, B*witched and, the one and only, Chesney Hawkes.  A free fairground throughout the day and evening rounds off the fun.

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Team Spirit

The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup is a unique event where four teams of top jockeys battle against each other in a thrilling six-race showdown, the four teams are: Great Britain and Ireland; Europe; the Rest of the World; and The Girls team.

The first year of Dubai Duty Free sponsoring the whole of this unique event – previously they have been Event Sponsors and they have extended their involvement with Ascot to now also sponsor all six races.

The Format

Three world class jockeys ride for each team – Europe, the Girls, Great Britain & Ireland and the rest of the World.

The team with the highest points total after the sixth race will lift the coveted Shergar Cup and the jockey with the highest points will be presented with the Silver Saddle.

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Live Acts

With top-quality racing, a free fairground and after-racing live music from Scouting for Girls, The Stars of the Commitments, Chesney Hawkes, B*Witched and Bjorn Again, hosted by Vernon Kay.

This is one of Ascot’s most-loved days with truly something for everyone.

With Chesney Hawkes set to perform at the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and Concert on Saturday 9 August, we have recreated his hit number one single “The One and Only” with the help of staff and racegoers.

Crossrail project moves West

Wherever Crossrail goes a flurry of interest in property follows, with Maidenhead, Twyford and Reading proving no exception.

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Originally the project was going to terminate services at Maidenhead, but the Government has announced that the service will now extend to Reading.

Crossrail is Europe’s biggest infrastructure project and over 100km of track will link Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east to Reading and Heathrow in the west, via Canary Wharf, the City, the West End and Paddington. The project will cut journey times and aims to ease congestion and offer better connections in and around London.

The announcement is only ‘Stage 1′ of delivering Crossrail for Reading and Reading East’s MP Rob Wilson hopes that benefits will start to a later stage will have real benefits.

‘This first phase will not reap the full benefits that Crossrail can – and should – bring to benefit people and businesses in Reading and the wider region.’

The next ‘investment review’ will analyse the Reading Crossrail service a, potentially meaning fast and semi-fast services could be in place by 2020/21. It may be some time off, but Reading estate agents are already getting excited.

Andy Malone, Sales Director of Atlantis Property, says: ‘This can only be seen as positive news for Reading and the wider area, not only in terms of the eventual improvement in journey times between Reading and London, but more so as a clear indication of the level of confidence the Government has in the town by deciding that Reading will provide the West terminus for Crossrail.’

Recent research by agency Hamptons International showed that the proposed Crossrail route has boosted house buying activity and one in ten London sales are now within one mile of a Crossrail station.

Head of Research Johnny Morris, says the announcement will be ‘a boon for the local housing market’.

‘It will focus the attention of investors and optimistic owners on homes in the centre, driving demand into the city,’ says Morris.

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Crossrail has rejuvenated interest in larger more complex new development projects such as Southall Gasworks and the town centre redevelopment in Maidenhead, Morris says and he believes that Reading developers will benefit from the news but sounds a note of caution to potential investors.

‘Those thinking of piling into the Reading market would do well to bear in mind that Crossrail is unlikely to change journey times to Central London much though, and that it has had little impact on prices around stations outside of London so far. Buying well, as ever, will remain key to the success of any purchase.‘
West Streatley house in the village of StreatleyWest Streatley House is 10 miles from Reading and is being sold through Strutt & Parker

Developer Jonathan Cranley of Twyford-based Millgate  says the announcement is ‘fabulous news for Twyford and Reading’.

‘Leading agents were predicting 43% price rises for property on the original Crossrail line and I can see no reason why we will not see a significant pricing impact for us as we approach 2019. We are fortunate to be the only large developer in Twyford and news like this is very exciting for our business. ‘

Last year Millgate launched sales at a luxury development in Gerrards Cross, seven miles from the Burnham Crossrail station, which they say influenced buyers who invested knowing that their commute to London was going to be improved and the value of their properties would rise.

‘Twyford is already a highly desirable village with a good commute into London, great schools, good eateries and its own Waitrose. The arrival of Crossrail can only spell more good news for our village,’ adds Cranley.

James Finnis, head of South East office agency at JLL also welcomes the news which he says will boost commercial and residential development in the area: ‘Reading is a substantial office market, and take-up grew strongly in 2013.

Around a quarter of the space under construction speculatively in the Western Corridor is in Reading, reflecting the confidence developers rightly have in the occupier market. The extension of Crossrail will improve the prospects for these schemes and will encourage further development.’

‘Commuters are beginning to calculate the appeal of improved travel from 2017. Reading station has a huge catchment of commuters from some of Berkshires and South Oxfordshire’s villages and smaller towns. We expect this to be a bigger topic in the next few years. Next year’s biggest topic will be an election year and what impact this will have on the property spring and summer markets in 2015,’ says Barton.

The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey

The annual cycling race inspired by the 2012 Olympic Games, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey returns on Sunday August 10.

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On the day, 150 of the world’s top cyclists will compete in the extended Classic race while, taking its cue from the London Marathon, 24,000 amateur cyclists will participate for charity in a 100-mile challenge on the same closed roads.

Starting from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, cyclists will continue through Richmond Park and the heart of Kingston-upon-Thames, before crossing Hampton Court Bridge and into the Surrey countryside.

Heading south past Newlands Corner, Abinger Hammer and Holmbury St Mary they will tackle the biggest ascent on the route at Leith Hill before descending towards Dorking and reaching the next challenge: the world-famous zig-zags of Box Hill.

After heading north through Leatherhead, Oxshott and Esher the route takes riders back into London through Kingston and over Putney Bridge to cross the River Thames for a final time before a spectacular finish on The Mall.

Last year, cyclists raised £7 million for charity through their efforts and organisers hope to break the £12 million mark this year.

Ashtead – The perfect commuter village proposition

What makes the perfect commuter village?

  • An easy commute
  • Great outdoor space
  • Good selection of shops and restaurants
  • And most importantly – a real community spirit

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No one is ever looking for a dull, lackluster out-of-town experience offering little to keep the family amused. Instead, crafty commuters are looking for locations with good transport connections, a wide variety of eateries, great outdoor spaces and first class recreation and leisure facilities.

People looking for a place to settle in a new area, perhaps coming from London or overseas, are likely to consider the Home Counties as their base. However with eight Home Counties to choose from they may find it a daunting prospect to select the perfect place for them and their family.

Luckily buyers who have decided to head south of the capital need look no further than the Surrey village of Ashtead, close to the market towns of Epsom and Leatherhead.

Ashtead exhibits the epitome of perfect village life, boasting a plethora of clubs, societies and activities of which many other villages would be extremely jealous. The village is home to a vibrant cricket club where keen mothers have been known to put their child’s name down way before they are old enough to hold a bat – as competition is so high for places, an equally happening football and squash club and a selection of terrific pubs and eateries. 

Many Ashtead residents vie for a membership to the much loved RAC club, situated between Ashtead and Epsom.  Facilities here for members include the use of two 18 hole golf courses, a modern, well-equipped gymanasium, weekly classes, squash and tennis, swimming pool and treatment rooms.  The RAC is also renowned in the local area for fine dining in both the traditional restaurant and the more informal 19th whole or Fountain restaurant.

Ashtead also boasts a much-needed array of superb schools in the area and a strong community spirit.

For property buyers in search of a commuter town, Ashtead offers direct connections to London Waterloo and Victoria in just over 40 minutes in addition to daily trains direct to London Bridge making life easier for those travelling to the Square Mile. An annual season ticket will currently set commuters back just over £2,000, which is considered reasonable by Surrey standards.

Ashtead is brilliantly situated about halfway between London and the south coast, making it wonderful for family days out in Brighton or on the beaches at the Witterings. Equally accessible is a visit to the Natural History Museum or a night at the theatre. The M25 is on the doorstep for easy access to other areas of the country and Gatwick and Heathrow airports are almost equidistant. Close to home is also the Epsom Derby and the beautiful hills of the North Downs for relaxing strolls.

 

Families are spoilt for choice where schooling is concerned in Ashtead. State and private primary schools are in abundance and countless private senior schools are on offer with many boasting top UK results. The local girls only state school is coveted and there are a number of Grammar schools in the area also.

Excitingly for those drawn to the countless charms of Ashtead, groundbreaking has just started on five fabulous new homes being built by luxury developer Millgate. This cluster of beautiful houses is being built on The Warren, considered to be one of Ashtead’s very finest addresses.

The wonderful large detached homes will afford five bedrooms spread over two and three floors ranging from 6,226 to 7,704 sq ft with one of the homes featuring an outdoor swimming pool. Guide prices for these new stunning luxury homes range from £3,800,000 to £4,000,000.

For more details on this exciting project contact Millgate on 0118 934 3344 or visit www.millgatehomes.co.uk

South Downs National Park throws opens its headquarters at Midhurst

GUIDED walks and bike rides, a mobile planetarium, kids’ activities and discounts on food in Midhurst restaurants were among the highlights of an open day from 11am-5pm at the new South Downs Centre on Sunday, July 27.

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Visitors also had the chance to take a tour of the new centre.

Chief executive Trevor Beattie said: “We’re very proud of our new home, which includes an exhibition about the national park, a community hub and a green conference centre.

“We want to celebrate its completion with the community.

“The event also marks the start of National Parks Week 2014. This year’s theme is ‘Space to Grow’, which celebrates the youngsters across the country and to mark the occasion we will be announcing the winners of our schools’ writing competition ‘My best day in the South Downs’, during the afternoon.”

There will be four guided walks, all finishing at the South Downs Centre open day.

The South Downs Society will be leading walks in from Lodsworth, Stedham and Cocking and the Fernhurst Society will be leading a longer walk from Fernhurst.

There will be two free guided family cycle rides starting from the South Downs Centre at 11.30am and 2pm.

In addition there is a chance to find out more about work to make the South Downs’ night skies darker in a mobile planetarium as well as meet volunteer groups and organisations.

Places on tours, guided walks and cycle rides are limited and booking in advance is advised at the reception desk of the South Downs Centre in North Street, Midhurst.

Petworth Park gives up its ancient secrets

IN scorching summer sunshine for nine days, archaeologists, history experts, volunteers and school groups have been excavating in Petworth Park to search for Henry VIII’s banqueting house.

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The building is alluded to on a map dated 1610, marked only as a mysterious tower and proof of its existence have never been found.

Finds including brick, stone and tile were unearthed but far from solving mysteries, many questions have been left.

Archaeologist Tom Dommett said: “The dig has been a massive success, and we have found much more than a banqueting house. We now have evidence of occupation on Lawn Hill from thousands of years ago, possibly even as far back as the Neolithic period.

“The main outcome has been evidence of a series of buildings that stood on the edge of Lawn Hill overlooking the historic parkland, the last of which was probably Elizabethan and timber-framed.”

But conclusive evidence of an actual banqueting house has proved more difficult to find. Materials unearthed showed definite signs of a ‘high-status building’, with possible service and food preparation areas. Other clues include fragments of fine glass drinking vessels and shoe and belt buckles and cloak pins.

To help date the occupation on site in Petworth Park, experts have researched two hammered coins found last week, one of which was minted during the reign of Henry VIII. The other is Elizabethan and stamped 1565.

“We can now confidently say this is indeed an incredibly important spot,” Tom told the Observer.

“Almost certainly there would have been a single-storey building of stone, with possibly two or more timber stories above.”

Town gears up for festival weekend

Final preparations are underway for this year’s pirate-themed Maidenhead Festival – one of the biggest events in the town’s calendar – which takes place this weekend.fest1_500x709

 

The event promises two-days of mostly free entertainment for the whole family in Kidwells Park and the town centre.

Attractions include a packed programme of music from local bands performing on a main stage and acoustic stage culminating in a Saturday, evening concert headlined by Rat Pack and Abba tribute acts followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

The park will also offer a host of pirate-themed stalls, sideshows and games, many run by community groups, organisations and charities.

There will also be refreshments for every taste, a funfair, and an artificial beach – ideal for hiding buried treasure.

In keeping with the pirate theme there will be a treasure hunt taking participants to shops throughout the town centre in search of clues.

Also taking place in the park on Saturday will be a strongman competition and a display of extreme mountain bike skills.

The Magnet Leisure Centre will be holding a fun zone for younger festival-goers and there will also be story-tellers and face-painters.

The programme of music continues throughout the Sunday with the festival being brought to a close by the Maidenhead Concert Band.

The Advertiser will be at the festival on  both days, so please drop in at our stand for a free balloon and to take a pirate selfie against our special backdrop. We aim to put the pictures on social media and on our website.

While the festival kicks off properly from 10am on Saturday, the funfair will be open from 2-8pm tomorrow in advance of the main event.

Festival chairman Steph James said: “We have a fantastic event planned with something for all the family. And, with most of the entertainment free, it offers a great weekend for everyone.

“So please do take advantage of all the hard work that has gone into preparing this year’s festival.

“Come along and enjoy yourselves, support the festival, the town and the many charities taking part, in particular the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service, which is this year’s chosen charity for the festival.”