Newbury is one of the main towns in the county of Bershire in England, with a population of approximately 33,000 (technically a civil parish). Serving as the major economic center of the western half of the county, several surrounding towns push the population of the immediate region much closer to 60,000. Less than an hour away from major hubs such as London and Oxford, Newbury continues to serves as a bridge across southern England. Though once home to a major UK airforce base, established during the second world war and reaching its peak during the cold war, more peaceful times has seen its dissolution, with much of the land being returned to its natural beauty. However, Newbury serves as the corporate headquarters of a major UK based mobile phone provider, which employs several thousand in the area. Modern, corporate life is set agains the backdrop of the beautiful English countryside.
As an example of Newbury's reach and importance into the past, consider Donnignton Castle; built in the 14th century, this Castle was bought by a member of the Chaucer family (a la Canterbury tales), and was later valued by both King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. During the English Civil war, the castle would figure prominently in guarding the major southern throughway from Lond for the Royalists. Though demolished in the 17th century, the remaining castle is nonetheless impressive, and is respected by a local culture well aware of its importance in English history.
Along with rugby, cricket, and football, Newbury is proud to house one of England's major racecourses, which has been in existence now for over a century. For those attracted more to the history than to the racing, the West Berkshire Museum has two ground floor galleries open for viewing, and contains various artwork germain to the area.
England is know for its quality Ales and Lagers, and Newbury makes its presence known on libations scene with the Newbury Real Ale festival. The 2009 festival featured over 80 varieties of Ale, which could prove to offer refreshment to even the most discriminating lover of Ale. Plentiful local food and music accompany the sampling of Ales, making this event truly a community event worthy of recognition.
Of course, Newbury is typical in that one can find excellent local English fare, along with a more eclectic cuisine. Transportation is ample via bus and rail, though walking is certainly enjoyable amidst so much tradition.
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