The Place Where I Live – West Berkshire

Berks Oxfordshire Collage

Photos copyright April Harris The 21st Century Housewife

This post is the fifth in a new series of posts called The Place Where I Live. Learning a bit about the place people call home is a great way to get to know them better, and also makes a wonderful resource of insider knowledge for places you might like to visit one day. (If you love the place where you live, and would like to write a guest post in this series, please email me at

I live in Purley on Thames, which used to be very remote, but is now more of a suburb of Reading (pronounced Redding). Interesting fact – Purley on Thames one of the only villages in Britain without a pub! We only have a couple of shops and a post office. Luckily we are far from isolated. In one direction we have Reading, a large city with plenty of shops, parks and a huge multiplex cinema. Reading as a town dates back to the 8th century, and by Tudor times it was the largest in Berkshire.

Pangbourne Reading signs

In the other direction we have the village of Pangbourne, the first recorded mention of which is in AD844 when the Bishop of Leicester gave a grant of land to Bertwulf, King of Mercia. (Mercia was the area that is now the Midlands of England, and is also where we lived before we came to live Berkshire.) Pangbourne is one of my favourite villages.

There are lots of little restaurants, a couple of pubs and some great shops.

The Elephant

The Elephant Hotel (above) is so named because their decor harks back to the days of the British Empire in India. It’s a boutique hotel with a pub and restaurant. Just around the corner from The Elephant is the house where Kenneth Grahame, who wrote the Wind in the Willows, lived for many years.

One of my favourite shops in Pangbourne is Green Parlour. I’m a regular customer, and they have done event flowers for us as well as day to day flowers and gifts. Emma, who owns the shop, was asked by Catherine Middleton to help with the flowers for her wedding at Westminster Abbey!

Green Parlour Collage

Bucklebury, where the Duchess of Cambridge grew up, is only a few miles from Pangbourne, and her family are regular customers of Emma’s. In fact, the Duchess’ Grandmother used to live in one of these little houses beside the shop.

Catherine's Grandma's House

I do a lot of my shopping in Pangbourne. Green’s the butcher is pretty much the only place I buy meat. It’s locally sourced and totally traceable. In 2011, they were named Britain’s Best Butcher. They also make wonderful meat pies, quiches, salads and all kinds of bespoke ‘ready meals’ from Boeuf Bourguignon to Beef Wellington.

Pangbourne Shops Collage

Just around the corner from the high street is beautiful Pangbourne Meadow. If I’m feeling energetic I can even walk home via the Thames Path, which leads to Mapledurham Lock, only a few minutes walk from my house.

Mapledurham Lock Collage

I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful part of the world!

You may also enjoy the other posts in this series:
Lisa of Happy in Dole Valley’s Yacolt, Washington
Anne of The Saturday Evening Pot’s South Carolina
Alea Milham’s Nevada
Kristy of Gastronomical Sovereignty’s Victoria


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Article by April Harris

April has written 1291 great articles for us.
April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.
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  1. Thanks for the tour. I’ll be sharing it fwd on my FB page on Friday. 🙂

  2. I’m not familiar with Berkshire but I’ve definitely heard of Pangbourne.
    How funny that your village doesn’t have a pub: I wonder if it ever did?

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