In 2017 Bracknell became the first post-war New Town to be redeveloped into a cutting edge, vibrant 21st century centre for shopping and leisure – The Lexicon is the stunning destination at the heart of a project which has made Bracknell one of the most interesting and modern places to visit in the Thames Valley. And with the perfect pines of Swinley Forest to the south and the excitement of Ascot racecourse just 10 minutes away, it’s a thriving base to explore this fascinating part of Berkshire.
Bracknell Travel links
A transformed Bracknell station is right at the heart of the town, the railway being the reason for the New Town’s location in the first place.
Trains run from London Waterloo to Bracknell, and the journey typically takes around 1 hour. There are also direct train services from other major cities, including Reading, Wokingham, and Windsor.
You can easily buy rail tickets from the late-opening ticket office.
If you want to go further afield, there’s a handy taxi rank right outside, and the bus station is just a minute’s walk away – book a convenient PlusBus pass for onward travel. On top of that, there are 50 spaces for bikes and 200 car parking spaces.
Attractions in Bracknell
The Lexicon is all set to become Bracknell’s biggest pull, with a host of new restaurants, shops and a 12-screen cinema in jaw-dropping surroundings giving the town a real sense of renewal. Outside the centre, though, there’s plenty to keep the kids happy. Like the rest of Bracknell, Coral Reef Water World is also undergoing a multimillion-pound transformation, with state-of-the-art water flume rides – “from the serene to the extreme” – as well as refurbished pool and sauna areas.
Slightly drier but no less thrilling is Go Ape Bracknell, the tree-top adventure centre with zip-wires, Tarzan swings and rope ladders to excite the whole family, plus a Forest Segway ride. Kids’ grey matter can also get a workout at the Look Out Discovery Centre next door, a hands-on science park packed with fun activities.
Both Go Ape and Look Out are in Swinley Forest, Bracknell’s beautiful green lung owned by the Crown Estate. Take a leisurely stroll through the pines that were famously a location for Harry Potter, or ride a mountain bike – the trails here are among the best in the south of England.
Bracknell locals, meanwhile, are rightly proud of South Hill Park, an 18th century mansion house in Bracknell boasting 2 theatres, a dance studio, creative spaces and a cinema. Check their website regularly for their amazing programme of events and festivals.
Shopping in Bracknell
Bracknell offers a variety of shopping opportunities, with a major shopping and leisure complex known as "The Lexicon" being the central hub for retail therapy in the town. Here are some of the key shopping options and areas in Bracknell:
The Lexicon: This modern shopping center is the heart of Bracknell's retail scene. It boasts a wide range of shops, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment options. You can find high street brands, fashion boutiques, electronics stores, beauty shops, and more. The Lexicon is a great place for both shopping and dining, and it often hosts events and activities throughout the year.
Princess Square: Located within The Lexicon, Princess Square is a stylish indoor shopping area with a variety of stores, including clothing, footwear, accessories, and home goods. It's an ideal place for a shopping spree, especially on rainy or colder days.
High Street: Bracknell's High Street runs through the town center and offers additional shopping options, including independent stores, local boutiques, and chain retailers. You can explore this area for unique finds and local shops.
Bracknell Market: Bracknell hosts a market on various days of the week, featuring stalls selling fresh produce, clothing, accessories, homeware, and more. It's a great place to pick up fresh ingredients, gifts, or unique items.
Restaurants in Bracknell
Bracknell is just 15 minutes away from Sir Michael Parkinson’s famous Michelin-starred gastropub in Paley Street, The Royal Oak. Championing simple British produce and dishes, it’s a must – and must-book – if you’re in the area.
The Cricketers is slightly closer, a country pub just north of Bracknell with wonderfully rustic dining rooms and accomplished food.
And in Bracknell itself, The Lexicon will undoubtedly improve the town’s food offer, with the new Eagle Lane offering al fresco dining from the likes of Carluccio’s, Bill’s and Zizzi.
Hotels in Bracknell
Want to be right at the heart of the new Bracknell? The Grange is a welcoming 4-star hotel just a short walk from the station and also offers Legoland deals – the theme park is less than 20 minutes away.
The Village Hotel Bracknell is located 7 minute drive to Bracknell train stations. This modern looking hotel boosts stylish bedrooms, a huge Health and Wellbeing Club with indoor pool, a restaurant, coworking space and a Starbucks coffee shop.
The Hilton group runs St Anne’s Manor, a relaxing country house retreat in 25 acres of grounds and yet still only 7 minutes from the station.