Thatcham, on the River Kennet, is between Newbury and Reading.
An ancient settlement, Thatcham is recorded in the Guiness Book of Records as the oldest continuously occupied place in Britain.
The surrounding area has been inhabited since pre-historic times and the remains of a Mesolithic village dating from 7700 BC lie nearby. There is also evidence of Bronze and Iron Age settlements.
The first settlement of any size was a Roman village, which grew up where Ermine Street bridged the River Kennet. Thatcham was later a Saxon settlement and the Norman parish church of St Mary, largely rebuilt in the 19th century, stands on the site of an earlier Saxon Minster.
The growth of Thatcham was linked with the foundation of Reading Abbey by Henry I in 1121. Thatcham was given permission to hold a weekly market but the town was overshadowed by nearby Newbury.
In the 18th and 19th centuries Thatcham, standing on the Old Bath Road (A4), was a prosperous coaching town. This trade disappeared after 1892 when a railway station was opened in the town, but Thatcham's location on the Main Line from Paddington to the West Country has been vital factor in its growth, along with its position on the A4.
Thatcham's population had grown dramatically since 1945 and today it is a dormitory town for Reading, Newbury and London.
The town is an ideal base for visitors discovering the nearby countryside. Thatcham stands on the Kennet & Avon Canal and the long-distance Kennet and Avon Cycle Route, makes a diversion through the town.
Newbury Racecourse 2.2 miles Off to the races ? The course offers some of the finest horse racing on both the flat and over jumps.
Living Rainforest 5.6 miles One of the first centres of its kind in Europe, the Living Rainforest gives visitors the chance to wander through a growing rainforest under glass.
Donnington Castle 3.7 miles A Ruined Gatehouse to explore.
Sandham Memorial Chapel 5.3 miles The chapel was designed by Stanley Spencer, the war-time artist.
Desmoulin Gallery 2.8 miles Set beside the Kennet and Avon Canal, the gallery is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Newbury.
Highclere Castle 7.0 miles A grand medieval-designed castle to visit, as seen in BBC's 'Downton Abbey'.
West Berkshire Museum 2.8 miles Currently CLOSED for redevelopment. Expected to re-open 2014.
Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre Explore the largest continual reedbed and fen in Berkshire.
New Greenham Arts 2.4 miles Events in a 120-seat studio space, put on by the Corn Exchange. Gallery.
Corn Exchange 2.8 miles A multi-art venue with theatre and dance, housed in an historic building in the market place.
The Watermill Theatre 4.2 miles Beside the River Lambourn at Bagnor in a converted mill, this friendly venue, seating 200, presents a number of new productions a year.
Towns Near Thatcham To Visit - straight line distance:Newbury (2.76 miles) Pangbourne (9.17 miles) Goring-on-Thames (9.94 miles) Hungerford (11.17 miles)