This ancient wool town is best known for its racecourse, where major steeplechase and hurdling events are held throughout the season.
The settlement developed during 16th century as a cloth-weaving centre. It has retained much of its period charm, with a 19th-c Italianate Corn Exchange, Town hall and good variety of charming 16th, 17th and 18th-c buildings, including several fine almshouses and a 17th-c timbered Cloth Hall.
Cloth making was established during the 16th-c by John Winchcombe (A.K.A. Jack 0' Newbury). Part of his house still survives, as does his memorial in St Nicholas's Church (which he also built). The church is a buttressed and pinnacled perpendicular construction, containing a grand interior with fine stained glass windows.
The busy shopping thoroughfare has many fine 17th and 18th century frontages. It has a good theatre, plus a wide range of shops and facilities. The narrow balustraded stone bridge over the Kennet and Avon navigation was built in 1769.
The handsome Jacobean Cloth Hall (in The Wharf) houses a fine museum packed with artifacts from Civil War relics to vintage cameras. The timber framed Granary, next to the Cloth Hall, was built in the early 18th-c when Newbury was an important grain-trading centre.
Memorial stones to the victims of the 1st Battle of Newbury (sep 1643) can be found in Round Barrow Cemetery, Wash Farm (off A343). Here the Royalists were defeated by the Parliamentarians in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The 2nd Battle of Newbury (Oct 1644) was at Donnington Castle. Details of both battles can be found in the town museum.
West Berkshire Museum & Tourist Information Centre © TAB
The district museum is situated in the beautiful Jacobean Cloth Hall and Granary. The museum traces Newbury's history from prehistoric times. Its varied exhibits cover the history of the local cloth industry, fossils and archaeological, costumes, pewter, pottery and jewellery. Displays also cover the story of the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Opening times: Sat,
Sun, Wed & Thurs from 10am - Free Entry
Location: The Wharf, Newbury RG14 5AS
Tel: 01635 519562
To north of Newbury is the 14th-c gatehouse of Donnington Castle, defended by Royalists during the Civil War. Read more about Donnington Castle
A pleasant common and country park near to the Berkshire village of Winterbourne. It comprises a range of habitats from heathland to wetland and woodland. It is home to many nationally rare bird species and other wildlife.
The racecourse is beautifully sited, just east of the town and holds race meetings throughout the season.
Location: The Racecourse,
Racecourse Rd, Newbury RG14 7NZ
Tel: 01635 40015
Image Credit: leefenn-tripp (CC0)