With our newest centre due to open its doors in Camberley next Spring, we have been busy getting to know the local area. Here are a few of our favourite things about Camberley:
The origins of the local area extend as far as Neolithic times and Bronze Age artefacts have been found in and around the Surrey Heath area. Excavations in nearby Lightwater uncovered evidence of a Romano-British settlement which continued to be occupied into the Saxon period.
By the middle ages, the area had become part of Windsor Forest: a royal hunting ground which was created by Henry III and enjoyed by successive monarchs until the royal forests were perambulated some years later.
The area was also a busy thoroughfare in years gone by as the main turnpike road from London to Exeter once ran through the region. The road was then known as the ‘Great Road to Land’s End’ (…now known by the far less grandiose title of the ‘A30’…!) was a popular haunt for highwaymen with numerous coaches raided in the area at the hands of the notorious William Davies (The Golden Farmer) and Claude Duval (The Gallant Highwayman).
In the late 18th Century, the Royal Military College (now known as RMA Sandhurst) was opened in the area and a community began to develop around the gates, eventually becoming known as Yorktown. Some years later, local landowner Captain Charles Raleigh Knight saw an opportunity for a development to the east of the college and built The Cambridge Hotel along with a network of streets for an accompanying settlement. The new community was initially known as Cambridge Town – however, it was renamed Camberley in 1877 to avoid confusion with the University town further to the north. The name derives from the ‘Cam’ stream (which runs through the centre of the town – mainly underground) and the nearby ‘Amber’ Hill, with the traditional suffix of ‘ley’ meaning a pasture or clearing (perhaps in reference to the hunting ground heritage of the area).
The SQ shopping centre offers a premier shopping experience in the heart of Camberley. High street retailers and independent shops alike are represented within the precinct, which is currently undergoing an extensive programme of refurbishment. The town centre also provides a plethora of eateries from chain favourites to independent restaurants – including El Pic tapas bar, which was named one of the top five Spanish restaurants in the country by Gordon Ramsay.
For those seeking a little luxury, the nearby Pennyhill Park Hotel offers indulgent spa experiences and sumptuous afternoon teas. Meanwhile, the surrounding golf courses provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and partake in some healthy competition. For culture vultures, Camberley Theatre offers a lively programme of productions including traditional ballets, musicals and comedy nights.
Surrey has a reputation for being an exceptionally leafy county – and the Camberley area is no exception. There are numerous country parks and green spaces in the region, with Frimley Lodge Park providing the largest recreational space in the area. The park boasts 24 hectares of green space and offers a miniature railway, pretty walking routes along the canal, a pitch and putt green and BBQs for hire. It has also been awarded a Green Flag for public accessibility.
As well as providing yet more green space in the area, Camberley Park is also the setting for an unusual brick structure known as The Obelisk. Once standing over 100 feet tall, the remaining ruins stand just 30 feet tall on the hilltop and locals continue to wonder about the original purpose of the tower. One theory is that it was used as a signalling tower – however the structure predates the semaphore system, so any signals would have to have been transferred by flames or reflected sunlight. Others believe that The Obelisk could have been a watchtower to help guard against highwaymen, a viewing platform for spectators to watch the local hunt, or a beacon to guide travellers and huntsman home across the heathland. Alternatively, it may have had no useful purpose and could simply have been a rich man’s folly for ornamental purpose only. The mystery of the curious tower on the hill lives on…
From humble beginnings, the military town of Camberley has grown to be an area of economic significance. The town is well situated for easy access to London, making it an attractive location for large corporations.
The sizeable industrial estate at Watchmoor Park is home to a number of high profile companies including Telent, Jaegermeister, Unisys and Novartis. The UK headquarters of Siemens can be found in Camberley, as can the UK head offices of Oracle (formerly known as Sun Microsystems) and Krispy Kreme.
The opening of Arena Camberley in Watchmoor Park provides the perfect opportunity to find your ideal office space in this popular location. Call the team today to find out more about our forthcoming centre!