2 Michelin-starred restaurants // The Fat Duck // The Waterside Inn // Bray Studios // Monkey Island // Population: 8,500...
Popular with the rich and famous today, Bray has a rich history for
such a small village. Heston Blumenthal owns not only the famous Fat
Duck and the Hinds Head Pub, which dates back to the 15th Century, but
also now The Crown Inn, which he acquired in June 2010.
This pretty little Berkshire village which
you can easily miss in a blink as you drive through has a history of
re-invention. St Michael's Church dates back to Norman times, built in
1294 on the site of an earlier Saxon chapel. The Sheela-Na-Gig rafters
are its most interesting feature.
Apparently Sir Edward Elgar
composed parts of some of his most famous works in Bray. Other famous
visitors included George Bernard Shaw, Siegfried Sassoon and the
painter Walter Sickert. Part of the estate, which was subsequently
broken up, was the home of Stirling Moss, the famous racing driver.
Bray is also home to Bray Studios which shot the famous Gothic Hammer Horrow films, some filmed in the nearby Oakley Court Hotel.
The nearby Monkey Island is literally an island in the middle of The Thames with a hotel on it linked by a bridge with an interesting history which gives it its name.
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