On the banks of the river Thames sits the idyllic village of Bray-on-Thames in Berkshire, the only county that could rightly call itself 'royal' in England, primarily due to its proximity to Windsor, the British Royal Family's principle residence outside of London. Considered as one of Britain's most desirable villages with picturesque settings straight out of a Thomas Hardy novel, this tranquil beauty was once home to the vast Windsor forest with early buildings dating back to the 14th century.

The name of Bray is irretrievably linked with that of Simon Aleyn, its turncoat vicar during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth I. The famous song based on the Vicar of Bray satirises his position and his determination to maintain his office.

"And this is law I will maintain
Until my dying day, sir,
That whatsoever King shall reign,
I'll be Vicar of Bray, sir."

The pretty streets feature rows of Tudor-beamed cottages with low ceilings, many with narrow windows and steeply pitched tiled roofs. Swathes of green lawn and clusters of weeping willows, their elegantly curving fronds sweeping across fast-flowing waters line the river; swans, Canadian geese and ducks bob up and down; and hedgerows and verges are full of wild flowers in spring.

Bridleways and walks are plentiful with horse riding being a popular pastime to explore the charming countryside. A trip up or down the river is a delightful way to while away a summer's day.

The quintessentially English country idyll is home to some notable inhabitants in the past that included King Charles II, Nell Gywnn and Thomas Hughes. Today's celebrity residents, Sir Michael Parkinson and Heston Blumenthal amongst them, keep its allure alive.

Charming villages and places of interests just a short distance away, coupled by its renowned gastronomic excellence and innovation, Bray maintains its genteel charm to provide a unique experience of traditional English village life at its very best.
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     The Attractions Bray House The Culinary Art
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