David Brent is back! Twelve years on from BBC mockumentary The Office, Ricky Gervais’ new film David Brent: Life on the Road, in cinemas from 19 August, follows the hapless ex-manager on his quest for rock stardom. Berkshire is full of visitor gems, including its own musical heritage, and we’ve rounded up our seven favourite reasons for following in David Brent’s footsteps.
It may be famous for being home to a certain royal resident, but Windsor also has a rich musical heritage. The town was once home to the famous Ricky Tick club, where the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and The Who started their careers back in the 1960s, and Windsor can also lay claim to hosting the first ever rock festival in Britain, held at the Royal Windsor Racecourse in July 1966. The club maybe long gone, but the Racecourse is still the place to go for live music, such as The Human League who will take to the stage at Ladies Day on 27 August.
Cliveden House is one of England’s most beautiful stately homes, which is probably why The Beatles chose this location to film part of their 1965 film Help!. Explore its sumptuous interiors which doubled up as the inside of Buckingham Palace; wonder around the French Dining Room where the Fab Four played cards, and get lost in the vibrant Parterre where the band famously held races with the crew between scenes.
Berkshire is one of England’s top foodie destinations, and it’s here you’ll find some of the world’s most famous Michelin-starred restaurants. Enjoy a unique culinary experience at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, or fill your belly with quality pub grub at his Michelin starred pub, The Hinds Head. Tuck into mouth-watering French cuisine at the Roux family owned Waterside Inn - the first restaurant outside of France to maintain 3 Michelin stars for 25 years in a row, or book yourself a table at TV chef Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers pub just down the road in Marlow, the first pub to earn 2 Michelin stars.
Reading Festival is one of the world’s oldest running festivals, and has had the biggest names in rock grace its stages, including the Rolling Stones, The Jam, and Nirvana playing one of their most famous sets and last UK concerts. Each year boasts an impressive lineup of acts and this year is no different with headliners including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte and Mastodon taking to the stage from 26 - 28 August.
Embark on a tour through Reading’s musical heritage with Readipop and Reading Museum’s music map of the town. Pick up a map from Reading Museum and it will take you on a guided tour around the town’s music shops and venues, each with their own music connections and hidden stories, including the Sound Machine which is Reading’s longest running independent record shop and the popular Retreat pub, which has become a hotspot for Reading’s jazz scene.
Berkshire’s riverside village of Pangbourne is a charming place filled with character and rich literary connections; Kenneth Grahame, author of ‘Wind in the Willows’ lived there and the Swan Public House makes an appearance in Jerome K. Jerome’s ‘Three Men in a Boat’. Visitors can enjoy an afternoon browsing through its independent shops, including its exceptional cheese shop, and enjoy a relaxing pint in its local pubs. Its setting on the National Thames Pathway makes it the ideal stop for a picnic overlooking the waterside wildlife.
Your thoughts of Berkshire may drift towards scenes of the industrial estate of David Brent’s office, but Berkshire is home to some majestic historic houses. Ashdown House built in the early 1660s is an extraordinary doll’s house style building with a tranquil woodland, perfect for roaming nestled in a valley on the Berkshire Downs. Georgian mansion Basildon Park is surrounded by parkland which was lovingly rescued by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the mid-1950s, and played a starring role in Downton Abbey as the Crawley family’s London residence, Grantham House.
David Brent: Life on the Road is in cinemas from 19 August.
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