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THE ATTRACTIONS

The village of Bray and its surrounding areas are home to several noteworthy buildings and famous attractions that are a must to discover. Explore at your own pace to experience the treasure trove of historic gems and activities with a few suggestions to pique your interest.

St Michael's Church
Dating back to 1293, this ancient church was commissioned by Queen Margaret, the wife of Edward I. The church is adorned with beautiful stained glass windows, a lovely pipe organ and woodwork, while a stone carving of an animal near the entrance is believed to have come from an original Saxon church.

The Hinds Head
Built in the 15th century at the dawn of the Tudor age, the building's original function is still the subject of speculation - some say it was a royal hunting lodge, others that it was a guesthouse for an Abbot. It was converted to a hostelry around 400 years ago.

In more recent history, it has attracted both the famous and notorious! It has also provided hospitality to the British Royal Family, entertaining Queen Elizabeth II and other European Royal Heads of State in 1963. It is said that Prince Philip held his stag night at The Hinds Head before his marriage to the Queen in 1947, and the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, also celebrated here on her engagement to Anthony Armstrong-Jones, later Lord Snowdon.

The Crown
Life at The Crown started as two cottages and dates from the 14th century. The inn was a hostelry for a while and was known to supply beer to cottages within the area. Rumour has it that Charles II would often call to The Crown for a drink when visiting his mistress Nell Gwynn at Holyport.

Maidenhead & Bray Cricket Club
Situated on the banks of the Thames overlooked by the St Michael's Church, the main ground is widely acknowledged as one of the most picturesque in the country. Records of cricket at Bray go back over 260 years.

Windsor Castle and The Savill Garden
Notable for its long association with the British royal family and for its architecture, the Windsor Castle was originally built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by a succession of monarchs and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. A popular attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the Queen's preferred weekend home, one should combine their visit to Windsor Castle with The Savill Garden, England's finest woodland garden and part of the royal landscape of Windsor Great Park.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show is an annual fixture and is a feast of all things equestrian. Held annually for five days in May or June in Windsor Home Park, the Royal Windsor Horse Show has always enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the Royal Family.

Eton College
Founded in 1440 by King Henry VI to provide free education for 70 poor scholars, the school has now become one of the most famous and prestigious schools in the world. Its history is inextricably linked to the country's political, social and religious changes ranging from the War of the Roses to the Reformation era. Eton's alumni roll rattles off a string of celebrated names and has retained most of its numerous anachronistic traditions including schoolboys clad in the iconic uniform that is instantly recognisable the world over.

Cliveden House
The 2nd Duke of Buckingham, George Villiers, built the first house in 1666. A notorious rake, schemer and wit, he created Cliveden as a hunting lodge where he could entertain his friends and mistress. Since then it has twice been destroyed by fire, only to emerge, phoenix-like, more stunning than before. The house has played host to virtually every British monarch since George I and has been home to three Dukes, an Earl and Frederick Prince of Wales, who created a happy family home here until his death in 1751.

Queen Victoria, a frequent guest, was not amused when William Waldorf Astor, America's richest citizen, purchased the house. In 1906, when he gave it to his son and daughter-in-law Nancy Astor, Cliveden became the hub of a hectic social whirl, where notable guests included everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Winston Churchill, and President Roosevelt to George Bernard Shaw. Those who enjoy tales with a whiff of scandal would be intrigued to know that Cliveden was the setting for the Profumo affair in the 1960s.

Dorney Court
Built in 1440 and occupied by the present family for over 400 years, Dorney Court rooms are full of history with 15th and 16th century oak and beautiful 17th century lacquer furniture. The adjacent 13th century church of St James, with its Norman front and Tudor tower, is worth a visit. Dorney is the ancient word for "island of bees" due to its famous honey that is still produced today. The very first pineapple to be raised in England was grown at Dorney Court and presented to Charles II in 1661.

Royal Ascot
The centrepiece of Ascot Racecourse's year, Royal Ascot is one of Europe's most famous race meetings and was founded by Queen Anne in 1711. Every year, Royal Ascot is attended by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and various members of the British Royal Family, arriving each day in a horse-drawn carriage with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day and the raising of the Queen's Royal Standard. It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and their attire often exceeds coverage of the actual thoroughbred horse racing.

Henley-on-Thames
Henley is a market town in Oxfordshire, located along one of the most scenic stretches of the River Thames. Home to a number of small curio and antique shops, an award-winning River and Rowing Museum and key landmarks that include Saint Mary's Church, these attractions are bound to spark your interest.

Henley Bridge joins the town to the village of Remenham where the famous Henley Royal Regatta is held, lasting for four days in the mid-year and brings the town to life. The Henley Festival, a celebration of music, arts and cuisine as well as spectacular nightly fireworks displays, is also an event not-to-be-missed.
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