Adventures around Sloughwith PlusBus
Slough is Berkshire’s second-largest town and people sometimes think of it as a place of grey, corporate offices. That’s why BBC comedy series The Office was set in Slough. But all you need to do is jump on a bus to find green spaces and wide waters. You can stroll beside the River Thames with views of Windsor Castle. You can walk past world-famous Eton College, see where Thomas Gray wrote his Elegy in a Country Churchyard or marvel at the colours and designs of the Stoke Poges memorial garden. Here are just a few of the things that are easy to reach by bus from Slough station. Just ask to add PlusBus when you get your train ticket for unlimited bus travel in the area all day. And watch red kites circling overhead while you’re waiting at the bus stop!
1. Stoke Poges Memorial Garden
One of Slough’s best-kept secrets, these Grade 1 listed gardens, a short bus ride and walk from the railway station, are free to visit. A memorial garden may sound an odd place for a walk, but the trees and flowers are beautiful year-round and there are views of some fine old buildings. Buy a PlusBus ticket and catch bus 12 from outside the station.
- The Quaker Penn family, who gave their name to Pennsylvania, settled in the old Tudor Manor House at Stoke Poges. In the eighteenth century, John Penn built a new house, now Stoke Park. There are views of this grand mansion, across an ornamental lake with fountains and a bridge, designed by Humphry Repton, from the memorial gardens.
- The gardens, laid out in the 1930s, include a wisteria-wreathed colonnade, a circular stone pool, 600-year-old oak tree surrounded by spring daffs, and all kinds of other trees, from monkey puzzles to magnolia. You can pick up a tree trail leaflet from Church Cottage, near the entrance gates. Inside the cottage, there’s a tiny museum with a trove of objects relating to the Penn family and the poet Thomas Gray. In 1751 Gray penned his most famous poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” in the field and peaceful graveyard by Stoke Poges parish church nearby.
- St Giles’ Church, with its Norman pillars and colourful stained glass, is well worth visiting and stands just beside the gardens. Don’t miss the panel in the west window that seems to show an angel riding a bicycle! Walk past Gray’s family tomb in the churchyard and turn left into Gray’s Field beyond, with its ancient oaks and grand monument, now owned by the National Trust.
- How to get to Stoke Poges memorial gardens car-free: Catch bus 12 from near Starbucks, opposite Slough Railway station. After about ten minutes, get off at Whiteford Road. Walk a few steps back to Stoke Poges Lane and turn left along the pavement, past Stoke Park’s Lion Lodge. You’ll soon find a little tree-line path running parallel with the road almost to the garden gates.