Slough is ‘London’s best commuter town’, but it’s actually a nice place for visitors, too

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'Equidistant tween London and Reading' - as David Brent once sang - this Berkshire town is beginning to see the benefits of a big urban renewal project

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‘Equidistant tween London and Reading’ – as David Brent once sang – this Berkshire town is beginning to see the benefits of a big urban renewal project

The town has long been the butt of jokes for its dreary associations, most of which stem from one notable poem – referred to by some locally as “that poem” (or sometimes “that poisonous ode”), not even wanting to mention the name of its author. Yet there are plenty of reasons to visit, even if the idea of Europe’s largest privately-owned industrial estate – which emerged in the 1920s from an old First World War vehicle dump and now houses the Mars and DHL UK headquarters (Mars bars have been made on the estate since 1932), IT firms and pharmaceutical companies – may not exactly entice.

You have to be committed to give Slough a chance, mind you: I should know, having spent a long weekend there researching my book on holidaying in unsung Britain., housed in The Curve, where you will sadly have just missed an exhibition of “100 Objects Over The Years Of The Slough Trading Estate” (exhibits included a 1920s jar of Mentholatum vapour rub, a display of Ragus sugars and syrups, a reconstructed Thunderbirds studio and a Ford GT40 car).

Other connections of note: Queen Victoria made her first train journey from Slough to Paddington in 1842 (the now-fast 19-minute connection was a contributing factor to its commuter town ranking); Cox’s Orange Pippin apples were first grown in Slough; Charles Dickens regularly visited (to meet his mistress Nelly Ternan), and the popular Slough Ice Arena (recently refurbished) has been used by ice-skating stars including Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

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