The idyllic market town in Berkshire with a big heart is calling you this summer
Old meets new in the historic market town of Newbury, which is rapidly becoming one of the most vibrant and must-visit areas in Berkshire. With specialty markets, an impressive summer programme, and over 100 independent shops, cafés, pubs, and restaurants, Newbury is undoubtedly one of the best market towns in the country.
The bustling but quintessentially British market town marries the west, east and south, making it easily accessible by train, car, bike, foot – and even boat. Steeped in nature, you are always only a short walk away from the very heart of the Kennet and Avon Canal, nestled in the town centre. With this in mind, visitors are spoilt for choice for things to do only a stone’s throw away from the waterside.
Newbury is bursting with history, surrounded by some of West Berkshire’s most historic buildings and outstandingly beautiful countryside. There’s a museum, housed in a 17th century Cloth Hall and Corn Store, which explores its eponymous heritage, a Gothic 9th century church, and a famous Beynon building, which has stood out for all the right reasons with its quirky architectural features since 1827.
And it’s not just its history Newbury has to boast about; with its world-class theatre, independent shopping and indulgent dining experiences for all to enjoy, this market town is a true showstopper.
Over half of Newbury’s eateries, bars and cafés are independently owned, meaning you can feel good about supporting small while eating exceptionally well on your next visit for brunch, lunch, or an evening family feast. And the town must be thriving, as Newbury has recently welcomed several new businesses to its already eclectic mix.
British tapas restaurant and wine bar, Goat on the Roof, recently opened its doors on Newbury’s iconic bridge overlooking the canal. This ethically-focused restaurant puts a Spanish twist on the best of organic and sustainable produce from around the British Isles to create a truly tantalising experience for the senses. Furthermore, new family-run The Goan Caff brings a bit of Goa to Newbury in this new speciality coffee shop, and local owners of Lumber Distillers, behind 137 Gin (available to purchase locally in Newbury and in Harrods), have opened a new gin experience bar and eatery.
While the town isn’t short on places to indulge, scoff and sip, there is always room for one more street-food specialty, or bottle of good wine to place in the drinks cabinet. If you’re somewhat inclined to agree, head to one of Newbury’s many specialty markets. The monthly Artisan Market takes place on the last Sunday of each month and showcases the best of homemade with unique gifts, and artisan food produce to sink your teeth into. Newbury’s Vegan Fair is not to be missed and takes place once a quarter, for all your eco-friendly and cruelty-free goodies – certainly not just for vegans.
Continue retail therapy at Newbury’s very own 100-year-old, three-storey department store, Camp Hopson, Grazia Magazine’s ‘Best Local Shops, Boutiques and Independent Business in the UK’ winner, B the Lifestyle Store, and award-winning ‘Best Retailer of British Beer in the South’ and ‘Best Craft Alcoholic Beverage Retail Enterprise 2022’, Inn at Home, who stock over 500 local, national, and internationally brewed beers, and over 500 different wines, gins, and whiskies. Explore one of the south east’s most successful open-air retail ventures, Parkway Shopping (read more in box out), who will be bringing the town centre to life with the return of their annual Big Summer Screen event. Enjoy this outdoor cinema experience with an ice cream in hand from one of the comfy deckchairs in the dedicated seating area.
Heading back toward the canal you will find the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, operating public trips on the Jubilee, a 29-passenger traditional narrow boat with a fully licensed bar onboard. These trips provide the perfect break for tired legs, and for those wishing to sit back with a refreshment while taking in the wildlife along the scenic route of the waterway. The K&A Trust is nestled in The Wharf, by the Newbury bus station, and is open on weekends only from midday. In this same spot, you will find the award-winning Teashop by the Canal, an Insta-worthy café offering beautifully decorated homemade treats and hosting the canal information centre upstairs.
If the ambience of the town centre isn’t enough to keep you there all weekend, take the short walk to Newbury Racecourse for an action-packed day before returning to the town centre to unwind. Or, take a 10-minute drive to visit the grand country home of Downton Abbey: Highclere Castle. Arguably Newbury’s most famous landmarks, both venues are well worth a visit in their own right.
Visit Newbury, part of Newbury Business Improvement District (BID), remind us that this is only the beginning of all that’s on offer in Newbury this summer. Updates and new events are rolling in weekly, and Visit Newbury are confident tourists will not be disappointed when they choose to visit the area this summer.
Visit Newbury is the not-for-profit organisation behind Newbury Business Improvement District. Stay up to date via Visit Newbury’s social media pages, @VisitNewbury, for any upcoming events in the and visit visitnewbury.org.uk for more information on things to do in Newbury this summer and beyond, and to sign-up to their Visit Newbury Loves Local newsletter