Hungerford is a charming historic town located in the county of Berkshire, right in the heart of the North Wessex Downs. Sat on the banks of the River Dun, this picturesque town is well-known for its stunning countryside, rich history, and independent shops. We wanted to highlight this town for anyone planning to visit in 2023. We'll be looking at the best things to see and do here, let's get into it:
Where is Hungerford?
The town is located in West Berkshire, England. It is situated on the River Dun, which is a tributary of the River Kennet, and is surrounded by beautiful countryside. It's around 8 miles west of Newbury, 9 miles east of Marlborough, and 60 miles west of London, making it well placed for a weekend break for people living in the capital.
What is there to see and do during your time in Hungerford?
You'll find quite a bit to see and do during your visit to Hungerford, and even more so if you're willing to travel a little outwith the town. Here are our top recommendations:
For a site with such a dark backstory, there is no denying that the views from Combe Gibbet are absolutely stunning. This was the site where two convicted murderers were hanged in the 17th century. The story is that the men, called Broomham and Newman, were homosexual and were having an affair. They were hanged for murdering Broomham's wife Martha, and their son Robert, after the 2 of them discovered the men canoodling on the downs. This not the original gibbet which was erected in the 17th century as that has rotted, but is a replica which was put up in the early 90s. It's a great site to visit not just for the grisly story, but also for the amazing views, and it's just 15 minutes away from Hungerford by car.
Visit Freeman's Marsh
This 90 acre area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is wonderful to visit for wildlife and walking. If you're a birdwatcher then you'll have the chance to spot plenty of rare species which you won't see in many other parts of the UK, such as green sandpipers, water rails, snipes, and even the occasional metallic flash of blue of a kingfisher. You can walk here from Hungerford centre and we highly recommend you visit if you have the time, learn more here - townandmanor.co.uk
Head to Hungerford Common
Similar to Freeman's Marsh, Hungerford Common is a wonderful place to visit for walking and wildlife. It's also a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the diverse range of habitats you'll find here, including woodland, heathland, and wetland areas. Visitors can follow a number of trails here, either on foot or by bike. You'll also find events held here throughout the year. Learn more here - townandmanor.co.uk
Just 20 minutes away from Hungerford by car you'll find Highclere Castle, a stunning building which is well worth a look if you're happy to travel the short distance from the town. Built in the late 17th century, this is a Grade I listed building which is a remarkable example of Jacobethan style architecture. The castle has between 250 and 300 rooms (too many to count, literally), and if you book a tour around the castle you'll get to visit many of the impressive bedrooms and the cellars where there is an Egyptian Exhibition (the castle is the country seat of the Earls of Carnarvon, and the 5th Earl of Carnarvon's discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun).
The building is perhaps best known for being a filming location for Downton Abbey, and super fans of the show will get a huge kick out of exploring the rooms and trying to recognise backdrops from the show.
Learn more and plan your visit here - highclerecastle.co.uk
Explore Hungerford Arcade
This award-winning antiques centre is considered to be one of the best places in the UK to find antiques, and we'd say it's an absolute must-visit if you're . The centre attracts visitors from across the country who flock here to try and snap up a bargain. You'll find more than 100 antique dealers here, which means the collection of antiques here is eclectic and spans a variety of eras. Learn more here - hungerfordarcade.com
How to get to Hungerford?
Hungerford is well placed and fairly straightforward to reach from most parts of England:
By Car: Hungerford can be easily accessed via the M4 motorway. If you are coming from London, take the M4 westbound and exit at Junction 14, then follow signs for Hungerford. If you are coming from the west, take the M4 eastbound and exit at Junction 15, then follow signs for Hungerford.
By Train: Hungerford has its own railway station, which is situated on the Great Western Main Line between London Paddington and the West Country. Regular train services operate between Hungerford and London Paddington, Reading, Newbury, and other nearby towns. Learn more about the train services here - thetrainline.com
By Bus: There are several bus services that operate to and from Hungerford, connecting it with nearby towns and villages. The main operator is Newbury and District, which runs services from Newbury, Marlborough, and Andover. Learn more about the bus services here - bustimes.org