24 Hours in Bray, Berkshire

At this time I wish to carry you my itinerary for spending 24 hours in Bray, Berkshire. This well-known village close to London is understood for its Michelin-starred eating places and picturesque cottages. From The Fats Duck to The Waterside Inn and The Hind’s Head, there’s no scarcity of locations to strive world-class delicacies in a bucolic setting on the Thames. Should you love wonderful meals and fairly villages in equal measure, learn on.

24 Hours in Bray, Berkshire

24 Hours in Bray, Berkshire

I’ve traveled to Bray with my boyfriend for a foodie getaway from London. We wished to go someplace far sufficient from the UK capital that we felt like we had been escaping town, however close to sufficient that we didn’t should spend ages in transit.

Having had an incredible dinner at Heston Blumenthal’s flagship restaurant The Fats Duck some time again (to not point out an awesome one at his London restaurant, Dinner by Heston), I recommended Bray.

It ticked all our containers for what we take pleasure in on our travels (specifically nice meals and delightful environment), and it’s shut sufficient to London to fulfill our transport necessities.

Bray Cottages

We took the Elizabeth Line practice to Maidenhead, from the place it was a 10-minute taxi experience to the village. Now we’re right here and we are able to’t wait to spend 24 hours in Bray.

The place to Keep in Bray

Just a few weeks previous to our arrival, we booked ourselves a Friday night time keep at The Waterside Inn, a 3-Michelin starred restaurant in Bray. It has lodge rooms upstairs, and reserving lodging right here ensures visitors a desk for dinner.

We arrive mid-morning to drop off our luggage, and we love the wealthy shade scheme and conventional decor within the foyer. We will’t wait to return later to examine in and see our room (spoiler alert: it’s superb).

Bray Hotel Lobby in Berkshire

Stroll in Bray, Berkshire

The climate forecast requires rain later, so we begin our 24 hours in Bray by heading out to find the village earlier than the sky falls. Bray is small, and it’s simple to stroll across the conservation space within the coronary heart of city in an hour or so.

We begin on the Thames, the place we are saying howdy to the resident geese and get a view of The Waterside Inn’s well-known eating room. There’s a small pier exterior for boating within the hotter months, and scenic views throughout the water.

From the river we stroll previous the inn and down Ferry Street to get to the primary a part of the village.

Geese on the River Thames, Bray

The quick stroll takes us by black-and-white Tudor facades, swoon-worthy cottages, and worn picket doorways with plaques saying “The Outdated Dutch Home” in historic lettering.

Once we attain the middle, we discover ourselves on the excessive avenue. It incorporates a Grade II listed warfare memorial, a picture-perfect cottage with vines climbing the facade, and historic homes galore. I can’t put my digicam down.

An indication subsequent to the memorial explains that the guts of Bray village dates again to medieval occasions and is residence to many listed buildings.

Bray War Memorial

It additionally mentions that the green-thumbed locals take part within the Royal Horticultural Society’s “Britain in Bloom” regional and nationwide competitions. The awards on the encompassing honors boards and the flowers all through the village show it.

The excessive avenue can also be residence to extra Michelin-starred eating places in Bray. To our proper is Heston Blumenthal’s 3-starred The Fats Duck. Just a few doorways down is Heston’s 1-Michelin starred pub, The Hind’s Head.

To our left is The Crown, Heston’s different pub in Bray (he appears to run many of the culinary institutions on this village).

The Fat Duck

However we’re not able to eat but. We stroll previous The Fats Duck and discover ourselves on Church Lane. Lined with historic cottages sporting colourful doorways and seasonal blooms, it’s some of the idyllic streets I’ve seen in Britain.

On the finish of it we come to a tower with an indication saying “Lich Gate A.D. 1448”. I’m a sucker for all issues previous, and I’m awed by the sense of historical past right here.

We stroll by the gate and discover ourselves within the village churchyard. St Michael’s Church in Bray is a Grade II* listed parish church. It’s surrounded by swathes of grass punctuated by weathered gravestones.

St Michaels Church, Bray, UK

Like a lot of Bray, it has a protracted historical past. St Michael’s dates again to 1293, and the unique Saxon church within the space was talked about in The Domesday E book in 1086. Goosebumps.

We peer contained in the church earlier than making our means again to the excessive avenue. Passing The Hind’s Head and The Fats Duck, we stroll by Fifteenth-century foresters’ cottages, The Crown pub, and the Jesus Hospital almshouses.

The final of those opened in 1628 to accommodate 40 individuals. Its brick facade and attention-grabbing painted sculptures and reliefs cease us in our tracks. We love the signal over the doorway that reads “Vagrants Hawkers & Canine Are Not Admitted”.

Church Lane, Bray

Lunch at The Hind’s Head in Bray

From Jesus Hospital we retrace our steps again to The Hind’s Head. Just a few weeks previous to our arrival, we booked a reservation for lunch right here. We will’t wait to see what this section of our Bray itinerary has in retailer for us.

As quickly as we enter by a low door with an indication saying “Duck or Grouse”, I do know I’m going to love the place. The inside is steeped in historical past, full with timber beams and low ceilings.

Stained-glass home windows and pink leather-based banquettes vie for our consideration as fireplaces and stable wooden furnishings spherical out the scene.

The Hinds Head, Bray

Sitting down, we decide up a pamphlet on the desk with details about The Hind’s Head’s historical past. The constructing dates again to the Fifteenth century, when the world round it was a royal forest.

It began life as a manor home, then turned an inn within the early nineteenth century. From there The Hind’s Head turned a revered lodge in Bray.

Not removed from Windsor Citadel, it naturally attracted royalty. Prince Philip had his stag do right here in 1947, and Queen Elizabeth II and her household lunched right here with three different monarchs in 1963.

The Hinds Head Pub

Heston Blumenthal purchased The Hind’s Head in 2004 after the recipes in a Fifteenth-century culinary manuscript imbued him with an curiosity in historic British delicacies.

He developed his personal recipes based mostly on them and others, and the tip result’s the lunch menu in entrance of us.

The Hind’s Head menu has pub classics and ingenious dishes alike. From Devils on Horseback to Shepherd’s Pie and Heston’s well-known Scotch egg, we spot all of the favorites.

The Hinds Head Menu

However we’re additionally intrigued by gadgets just like the hash of snails with caperberries and the quaking pudding with compressed apple and fennel.

Finally I choose a pickled beetroot salad to start out and fish and chips (the each day particular) for a principal. My boyfriend goes with the roasted rump of lamb and a pint of Sheppy’s Oakwood Aged cider.

All of it goes down a deal with within the historic eating room. A dessert of quaking pudding completes the meal properly.

The Hinds Head quaking pudding

Afternoon within the Village

After lunch, we plan to proceed our 24 hours in Bray by taking an enormous nation stroll alongside the Thames. We have to burn off some (er, loads) of energy earlier than our dinner at The Waterside Inn, in spite of everything.

However the British climate has different plans. We barely get a half mile exterior the village earlier than our waterproof garments are soaked by.

We flip round, trudge by the downpour, and examine into our lodge room at The Waterside Inn. It’s a welcome respite from the inclement climate, and we take an indulgent nap because the rain thunders exterior.

Bray Hotel Room

Drinks at The Crown in Bray

We get up in time to make one fast cease within the village earlier than dinner at The Waterside Inn: The Crown. This nation pub in Bray dates again to the sixteenth century. A former inn, it has traditional low-beamed ceilings and open fireplaces in its warren of rooms.

Now owned by Heston Blumenthal, The Crown serves conventional pub meals, actual ales, and a spread of different fare in its atmospheric interiors.

The bar space is buzzing after we arrive, and we handle to snag a small desk to take pleasure in our pre-dinner drinks. It’s an effective way to expertise a extra native a part of Bray, and to absorb the low-lit ambiance.

Table at The Crown, Bray, Berkshire

Dinner at The Waterside Inn in Bray

After drinks, we stroll again to The Waterside Inn, costume for dinner, and head downstairs to the eating room. We’re seated at a desk on the perimeter that enables us to sit down subsequent to one another and luxuriate in a view of the proceedings.

It’s the right desk for a 3-Michelin starred restaurant, the place the service is as a lot part of the expertise because the delicacies.

In reality, the service is famend. The Waterside Inn was based in 1972 by brothers Michel and Albert Roux after the success of their London restaurant, Le Gavroche.

The Waterside Inn

They purchased the constructing (which was a shabby previous pub again then), and turned it right into a restaurant. By 1985, its delicacies and repair had earned The Waterside Inn 3 Michelin stars. It’s stored them ever since.

In 2010 this place turned the primary restaurant exterior France to retain 3 stars for twenty-five years. Its document continues to be going robust below the helm of Michel’s son, Chef Patron Alain Roux.

The eating room is finished in contemporary greens with mirrors and floral artwork alongside the partitions. The entrance is all home windows looking onto the Thames.

The Waterside Inn restaurant

We remorse not being right here in excessive summer time, after we would be capable of take pleasure in pre-dinner drinks on the terrace and views of the river as we dine.

However we’re not right here to look out the window. We’re right here to take pleasure in our meal. We go for the 7-course Le Menu Exceptionnel. It’s billed as a “mouth-watering gastronomic expertise” that includes balanced dishes of Alain Roux’s “artistic, gentle, trendy French delicacies”.

Out from the kitchen comes a parade of amuse bouches adopted by the whole lot from marinated scallop slices to the restaurant’s traditional lobster medallions and grilled squab.

The Waterside Inn, Bray

I notably just like the courgette flower crammed with wild mushrooms, and my boyfriend can’t get sufficient of the foie gras. The dessert souffles are divine, too.

All through the meal we benefit from the top-notch service The Waterside Inn is understood for. The staff of 60 is spectacular in its precision, timing, and talent to navigate the room.

Our servers are pleasant, educated, {and professional}, and so they take excellent care of us. By the tip of the meal we’re full of fine meals and wine, and grateful our commute house is nothing greater than a flight of stairs.

The Waterside Inn food

Breakfast at The Waterside Inn

However our 24 hours in Bray aren’t over but. The Waterside Inn is known for its breakfast, and we get up the subsequent morning to take pleasure in an enormous tray of deliciousness within the consolation of our room.

Every little thing from a viennoiserie basket to yogurt, juice, fruit, and occasional graces the desk. They’ve even gone as far as to make a separate batch of baked items for my boyfriend, who can’t have gluten.

The breakfast is the right fruits of our journey to Bray, and an awesome send-off. We take a look at of our room afterwards and the receptionist calls a taxi to drive us from the village to Maidenhead for our practice again to London.

The Waterside Inn breakfast

24 Hours in Bray, UK

We’ve had an incredible 24 hours in Bray. We’ve eaten three memorable meals, had drinks in a historic pub, and explored one of many prettiest villages in England. The truth that we’re so near London is the cherry on high.

We get again to the UK capital in an hour and begin planning our subsequent journey to Bray. If the British climate smiles upon us, we’ll lastly get to do a rustic stroll. However even when it doesn’t, I do know loads of locations the place we are able to take shelter from the rain.

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24 Hours in Bray, Berkshire

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