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Virginia Water
For the lake, see Virginia Water Lakemarker.
Virginia Water is an affluent village, a lake and, originally, a stream, the village being in the Runnymede Borough Council are in Surreymarker and the bodies of water stretching over the borders of Runnymede, Old Windsormarker and Sunninghill and Ascotmarker, Englandmarker.

The village takes its name from the lake which is in the nearby Windsor Great Parkmarker. The lake's name was transferred from a previous stream which was probably named after the 'Virgin Queen', Elizabeth I.

The lake

Virginia Water Lakemarker lies within Windsor Great Parkmarker. It was created from a body of water of the same name: originally little more than a stream, which existed from at least the 17th century and may well be named after Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen.
The lake is mostly in Surreymarker, though the western extremities are in the civil parishes of Old Windsormarker and Sunninghill and Ascotmarker in Berkshire.

Recently the shores of the lake have been used for lakeside scenes in the Harry Potter films. The lake is also the site of the British record Pike capture of 58lb 5oz.

During World War II, the lake was drained, as its obvious shape provided enemy guidance at night to Windsormarker and other important military targets in the area.

The village

Virginia Water village has an adult population of 4,814. The 2001 census population of Virginia Water was 6,113. Many of the village's houses are large detached homes situated on the private Wentworth Estatemarker home of the famous Wentworth Clubmarker which has four golf courses. The Ryder Cup was first played there. It is also home to the headquarters of the PGA European Tour, the world's second-richest professional golf tour (after the PGA Tourin the USmarker). The estate reached the headlines in 1998 when General Augusto Pinochet was kept under house arrest in one of its houses prior to his extradition. Sarah Ferguson is former royal resident. Many well-known entertainment personalities also have or had homes on the estate including Russ Abbott, Cliff Richard and Bruce Forsyth. World-class golfers with homes on the estate include Ernie Els and Thomas Bjørn. The author and traveller Bill Bryson spent his early married life in the village.

Edward VIII was a resident of nearby Fort Belvederemarker.

Virginia Water is also home to many London commuters. It is close to the M25marker, M4 and M3 motorway. The village has a four track railway stationmarker in the middle of the village on the line between London Waterloomarker, Weybridgemarker and Readingmarker. Heathrow Airportmarker is located eight miles to the north-east. The village has two rows of shops, although many inhabitants travel to the nearby towns of Stainesmarker, Ascotmarker and Windsormarker for shopping. The towns of Eghammarker, Englefield Greenmarker and Old Windsormarker are nearby. Holloway Sanatoriummarker, an asylum for the mentally ill, where the writer Bill Bryson worked upon first settling in England was located near to the village but closed in the 1980s and was converted to private accommodation.


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