On land once owned by William the Conqueror, Inglewood House is home to elegant retirement apartments, together with the impressive facilities of the Audley Club. These include a luxury health club, swimming pool, library, restaurant and bar/bistro.
Inglewood is one mile from the village of Kintbury; two miles from Hungerford in West Berkshire. It is both a breath of fresh, rural air and a place that connects you to all the services and amenities you will need to live the life you want to.
At the time of the Domesday Survey, Kintbury included lands on both sides of the River Kennet. The southern side was held by William the Conqueror and Inglewood was one of its manors. Passing through the hands of the Blandy, Walmesley, Shaw and Bevan families – and turbulent times in English history – the estate was sold in 1828 to a Thomas Dunn for £26,000 and greatly extended. In 1928 it became a training centre for young men entering the Catholic Order. And in 1972 it became a luxury spa called Inglewood Health Hydro.
Most well-known today as Downton Abbey from the popular TV series, the earliest record of Highclere Castle can be dated back to an early Anglo-Saxon charter dated 749AD which recorded the existence of buildings around the present site of the castle. Further records reveal a medieval palace built during the twelfth and thirteenth century; major rebuilding works were carried out in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; and in 1838 the third Earl of Carnarvon brought in Sir Charles Barry to transform him home into a grand mansion.
During the First World War, Highclere Castle was converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers and during the Second World War, the house was home to evacuee children from north London.
Between the first and second World Wars, Highclere Castle returned to a private home and in 1922 the 5th Earl of Carnarvon famously discovered the Tomb of the Egyptian Boy Pharaoh, Tutankhamun. To celebrate this achievement, an Egyptian Exhibition has been opened in the cellars of the castle.
The castle continues to be lived in by the Carnarvon family.
Kintbury was named by the Sunday Times in 2007 as in the top ten of England's most sought after villages. And one can see why. This pretty village boasts some of the best countryside in West Berkshire and yet is conveniently close to the A4 and main line station from London, with junction 14 of the M4 nearby.
However, when you want to travel at a more leisurely pace, The Kennet and Avon Canal quietly connects the famous antique shops and independent boutiques of Hungerford with Newbury's colourful markets and contemporary retail shops.
A walk around these parts is good for body and soul, and if you take a leisurely stroll up and around Walbury Hill, you will be rewarded with views over Kennet Valley and south over the Hampshire Downs.
An opportunity to appreciate the scenery at a slower pace, the Kennet and Avon canal horsedrawn cruises are a hidden gem. The traditional 1800s style canal barge operates in the daytime and early evening, and is equipped with a licensed bar and toilet facilities. Available for group bookings and private charters, this is a outing to be enjoyed by all ages.
We all know that getting outside in the fresh air is good for both mental and physical health, but why not combine it with stocking up on delicious fresh produce too? Open Monday to Saturday between May and October, Grays Farm in Wokingham has plenty on offer for you to stock up your fruit and vegetable larder, from strawberries and raspberries to runner beans, carrots, beetroot and courgettes. There is a playground and a farm trail, as well as a picnic area to enjoy your pickings.