A pleasant but busy market town near the great Windsor Forest, just east of Reading. Once known for its bell foundry and silk industry, it now provides a popular commuter town for Reading, Bracknell and London.

Wokingham Parish Church

Parish Church of St. Paul © Chris (CC2)

Built on the proceeds of the Elizabethan silk industry, the busy town centre is a mix of old and new, with many half-timbered cottages and several fine Georgian houses. In particular, Rose Street has many interesting timbered buildings with overhanging gables. The 17th-c the Olde Rose Inn, in the Market Place (now demolished), was a place where writers Alexander Pope, Dean Swift and John Gay each wrote verses to "Sweet Molly Mog", the landlord's daughter.

A Mulberry tree stands in the centre of the town as a reminder of the silk trade, which once flourished here. Introduced during the Tudor period by French Protestant refugees, a range of fine silk products were produced here up until the late 18th-c, including stockings, hat bands and cravats.

Several almshouses can be found around the town, including the Lucas Hospital (1663) in Chapel Green, with its fine stained glass windows. The restored 18th-c parish church of St Paul contains an octagonal font.

A May Fayre is held annually on May Bank Holiday Monday, organized by the Wokingham Lions Club. There are street stalls, music, shows and entertainment events provided throughout the town and on Elms Field, where a large funfair is hosted.

Bearwood Lakes, to the west of the town, boasts a spectacular rhododendron drive and a large artificial lake.

The nearby village of Hurst has some fine 17th-c red-brick almshouses. Near the old Norman church of St Nicholas stands the 16th-c Castle Inn, one of many fine timber-framed properties dotted around the village. The inn was originally a 'church-house' where the clergy sold beer to supplement their income.

Map of Wokingham

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