15 Best Things To Do In Berkshire, England

15 Best Things To Do In Berkshire, England

By will

Welcome to Berkshire, England, a place full of history, culture, and adventure!
From the majestic Windsor Castle to the ruins of Donnington Castle, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful county.
I’m here to tell you about the 15 best things to do in Berkshire – so grab your walking shoes and let’s explore!

From boat trips on the River Thames to picnics in Ashdown Forest, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained.
Or, if you’re looking for something a bit more cultural, check out the Tate Gallery at Cliveden or the Stone Circle at Avebury.
There’s also plenty to explore in the historic town of Marlow, and the Cotswolds are a great place to take in the countryside.
Whatever your interests, you’re sure to find something to do in Berkshire – so let’s get started!

Visit Windsor Castle

Round Tower, Windsor Castle
Photo by Lauren

Taking a tour of Windsor Castle is a must-do if you’re visiting Berkshire, England; it’s a great way to learn about the region’s rich history!

Located in the borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and has been the home of the British royal family for almost 1,000 years.

The castle is definitely worth a visit; it’s a stunning example of traditional architecture, with a number of fascinating features, including the Round Tower, the Grand Reception Room, and St. George’s Chapel.

You can explore the State Apartments, the Semi-State Rooms, and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House – one of the most impressive miniature houses ever made.

There’s also a beautiful garden, with plenty of opportunities to take some amazing photos.

Plus, you can learn about the rich history of the castle, from its time as a royal residence to its use as a military base.

So, if you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience, a visit to Windsor Castle is the perfect way to experience the rich heritage of Berkshire, England.

Explore the Ruins of Donnington Castle

Donnington Castle gatehouse
Photo by Oscar Taylor

Explore the fascinating ruins of Donnington Castle and unlock its rich history! Built in the late 14th century by Richard Abberbury, Donnington Castle stands as one of Berkshire’s most historic attractions. Located on the outskirts of Newbury, the castle boasts stunning views of the nearby countryside.

Visitors can explore the ruins of the castle, taking in the fascinating history and architecture of the walls, towers, and gatehouse, all of which are still standing today. Inside, visitors can find the remains of a great hall, chapel, and several other buildings, as well as a large, grassy courtyard.

Donnington Castle is also home to some of the most interesting artifacts and artwork from the Middle Ages. The castle’s walls are adorned with stunning tapestries, paintings, and other artworks, including a 15th-century painting of Richard III. Visitors can also explore the nearby dungeons, which feature a number of fascinating artifacts from the time of the castle’s construction.

In addition, visitors can take part in a variety of activities, such as candlelit dinners, guided tours, and re-enactments of historic battles. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a day of exploration, Donnington Castle is sure to provide a memorable experience.

Take a Boat Trip on the River Thames

Boats on the River Thames
Photo by Philip Halling

Experience the serene beauty of the River Thames with a boat trip along its tranquil waters.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon on the river or an adventurous day out, there’s something for everyone.

From small boats to full-size river cruises, there’s a range of options to suit every budget.

Take a leisurely paddleboat ride and take in the stunning scenery of the Thames Valley, or go for an exhilarating speedboat ride and enjoy the thrill of cutting through the waves.

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Whichever option you choose, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience.

You can choose to explore the river on your own or join a guided tour.

There are a variety of tour companies who offer boat trips along the Thames, taking you to historical sites, providing commentary on the area’s rich history, and pointing out wildlife along the way.

From the picturesque village of Bray to the vibrant city of Reading, take in the beauty and tranquility of the river as you cruise along.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gliding through the water, so don’t miss out on this amazing experience.

Check Out the Tate Gallery at Cliveden

Take a break from the river and marvel at the spectacular works of art at Cliveden’s Tate Gallery.

Set in the grounds of Cliveden House, an 18th-century estate surrounded by stunning gardens, the Tate Gallery is a great place to explore the many different artworks on display.

From the works of the Pre-Raphaelites to modern masters, the gallery offers something for everyone.

The exhibits are constantly changing and evolving, so there is always something new to discover.

Visitors can also take part in guided tours, listen to talks, and attend special events, such as workshops and family activities.

With so much to see and do, the Tate Gallery at Cliveden is a must-visit destination for art lovers.

Tour Highclere Castle

Immerse yourself in history at Highclere Castle, an iconic Victorian-era estate located in Berkshire, England. Built in the early 19th century, the castle is the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and has been featured in a number of films and television shows.

As you tour the castle, you can explore the many rooms and gardens filled with stunning artwork and antiques. Stroll through the grand halls and corridors, marveling at the intricate woodwork and ornate decorations.

The grounds are also a sight to behold, with lush gardens and sprawling lawns that provide the perfect backdrop for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. During your visit, you can take a guided tour of the castle and learn about its fascinating history.

You can also visit the on-site café for a bite to eat and a cup of tea, and pick up some souvenirs from the gift shop. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for an interesting day out, Highclere Castle is sure to provide a memorable experience.

Explore the Town of Hungerford

Discover the picturesque town of Hungerford, located in the countryside of Berkshire, England.

Stroll along its cobblestone streets and admire the charming Tudor buildings, traditional pubs, and independent shops. It’s the perfect place to experience quintessential English countryside life.

Take a stroll down its main street, and take in the sights and sounds of the local community.

Explore the local boutiques for unique gifts, or take a break from shopping with a visit to one of Hungerford’s traditional pubs. The pubs are a great place to relax and chat with the locals.

There’s also plenty of history to explore in Hungerford. Visit the local museum to learn more about the town’s history, or take a guided tour to get an even deeper understanding of the area.

Hungerford is a great destination for a day trip, offering a unique experience of rural life in England.

See the Historic Town of Newbury

After a delightful exploration of Hungerford, I set off to check out the historic town of Newbury. It is located in the center of Berkshire, England and is an easy drive from Hungerford.

Newbury is known for its many historic sites, such as the Newbury Racecourse, which is the oldest racecourse in the country. The town is also home to the picturesque Highclere Castle, which is featured in the popular TV series, Downton Abbey.

The town of Newbury is a great place to explore. There is plenty to see and do, such as shopping in the unique boutiques, browsing the antique shops, or strolling along the River Kennet. The Kennet and Avon Canal runs through the town and offers a peaceful walk along the scenic towpath.

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There are also several historic monuments and buildings to visit, such as Donnington Castle and the West Berkshire Museum. In addition, the town hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Newbury Spring Festival and the Newbury Real Ale Festival.

Newbury is the perfect spot for a day trip or weekend getaway to experience the best of what Berkshire, England has to offer.

Go Shopping in Reading

For a great shopping experience, head to Reading – a vibrant city in Berkshire, England. Whether you’re looking for something special or just want to window shop, you won’t be disappointed.

Reading’s Oracle Shopping Centre has a wide variety of stores, including high street favourites like Topshop, Zara, and River Island. It also has a number of independent stores selling unique items and souvenirs. The Oracle is a great place to pick up some great bargains – there’s often a sale or two going on.

If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, head to the historic Broad Street. Here, you’ll find a mix of high-end and vintage stores, as well as plenty of pubs, cafes, and restaurants. There’s also the traditional covered market, where you can find local produce and handmade crafts.

Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find something special in Reading.

Hike the Ridgeway Path

After a day of shopping in Reading, it’s time to explore the outdoors! One of the best things to do in Berkshire, England, is to hike the Ridgeway Path.

This ancient path has been in use since prehistoric times and is now designated as a National Trail. It’s 87 miles long and stretches from Overton Hill in Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire.

Along the way, you’ll be treated to stunning views of rolling fields, woodlands, and hills. The trail meanders through ancient sites such as the Uffington White Horse and Wayland’s Smithy, as well as a number of charming villages.

You can tackle the entire path in one go, or break it into sections and take your time. It’s a great way to explore the beautiful countryside of Berkshire and enjoy some fresh air!

Visit the National Trust Properties at Basildon Park and Basildon House

Head to Basildon Park and Basildon House for a fun day out!

These two National Trust properties are situated in the village of Basildon, located on the outskirts of Reading.

The impressive Georgian mansion at Basildon Park dates back to 1776, while Basildon House was built in the 16th century.

Visitors can explore the gardens, take a guided tour of the house, and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea.

For the kids, there is a nature trail and an adventure playground.

So why not spend a day in Basildon for a truly memorable experience!

Make sure you don’t miss out on the stunning views, historic architecture, and plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained.

Go Bird Watching at the Berkshire Downs

Explore the Berkshire Downs and experience the beauty of nature as you go bird watching! Take in the stunning scenery and marvel at the array of species in their natural habitat.

Enjoy the tranquility of the area as you discover new species of birds like the Kingfisher, Skylark, or even the rare Red Kite. With a pair of binoculars and a bird book in hand, you can easily spot the different birds in their own habitats.

Depending on the season, you can witness the majestic flight of a flock of geese, or the loud and colorful song of the nightingale.

Look out for the resident birds of prey like the Buzzard, as they soar overhead in search of their next meal.

Bird watching in the Berkshire Downs is a truly unique and unforgettable experience that will make you appreciate the beauty of nature.

Visit the Cotswolds

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Cotswolds, an area of England that’s renowned for its stunning rolling hills, idyllic countryside, and charming villages.

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A visit to the Cotswolds is a must when visiting Berkshire.

Explore the picturesque villages, each with its own unique character, and discover the local culture and traditions.

Take in the stunning views of the countryside, from rolling hills to vast meadows and fields.

Visit the local pubs for a pint of ale or a cup of tea, and sample some of the delicious local cuisine.

Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the countryside, or take a bike ride along the winding roads.

The Cotswolds has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to relax, explore, or simply enjoy the scenery.

From historic churches and castles to quaint tea rooms and traditional gardens, the Cotswolds is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

See the Stone Circle at Avebury

Experience the ancient mystery of Avebury, a Stone Age circle of standing stones located in the Cotswolds, and marvel at the incredible history and beauty of this sacred site.

A truly awe-inspiring sight, the Avebury stone circle is one of the largest and most impressive of its kind in Europe. Not only is it the largest stone circle in the world – it’s also thought to be one of the oldest.

Built by Neolithic people thousands of years ago, this impressive circle has been standing for over 4,000 years. The stones were carefully placed in an outer circle, and arranged in two inner circles, surrounded by a ditch and bank. It is an incredible feat of engineering, and a testament to the skill of the ancient people who built it.

Walking around the stones, you can feel the energy and mystery of this ancient site, and imagine the rituals and ceremonies that took place here. It is a wonderful experience and a must-see for anyone visiting the Cotswolds.

Visit the Historic Town of Marlow

Nestled in the heart of Berkshire, Marlow is a charming historic town full of character and charm. With its picturesque riverfront and quaint cobbled streets, Marlow is the perfect place to spend a day exploring its rich history.

The town is home to a variety of notable landmarks, including the iconic Marlow Suspension Bridge and the Church of St Peter. Visitors can also explore the Marlow Museum, which showcases the town’s fascinating past with exhibits of local artifacts and art.

Marlow is also a great destination for shopping, with many independent boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries. Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir or an interesting piece of art, there’s something to suit every taste.

After a day of exploring, visitors can relax and enjoy a spot of tea in one of the town’s lovely tearooms. With its beautiful scenery and wealth of culture, Marlow is an ideal destination for a day of sightseeing and relaxation.

Enjoy a Picnic at Ashdown Forest

Spend a day at Ashdown Forest and enjoy an idyllic picnic surrounded by nature. Ashdown Forest is one of the largest areas of open heathland in Southern England, located in East Sussex.

It is best known as the home of the famous Winnie the Pooh stories, and the Hundred Acre Wood is a popular attraction here. The area is a great place to have a picnic, as it offers stunning views of the English countryside, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

You can take a leisurely walk through the lush grasslands and woods, or explore the many trails and paths. There are plenty of spots to stop and take in the views, and plenty of wildlife to observe. The forest is also home to a variety of wildflowers and plants, and has a wide range of bird life.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot a deer or two. With all the beauty and serenity that Ashdown Forest has to offer, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic and soak in the natural beauty of England.

Conclusion

It’s been an amazing day exploring the best of what Berkshire has to offer.

From marvelling at the grandeur of Windsor Castle to exploring the ruins of Donnington Castle, there’s something for everyone.

A boat trip on the River Thames is a must, and the Tate Gallery at Cliveden is sure to impress.

Highclere Castle is a sight to behold, and the Cotswolds, Stone Circle at Avebury, and the historic town of Marlow are all worth exploring.

To top it off, a picnic in Ashdown Forest is a perfect way to end the day.

The best of Berkshire is here, and it’s absolutely worth the visit.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.