Berkshire Attractions

Berkshire, often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire due to the presence of Windsor Castle, is known for its historic sites and scenic beauty, including parts of the Thames Valley and Chiltern Hills.

In terms of things to do in Berkshire, you”ll find a good mix of historic sites, cultural landmarks and family-friendly activities. Read on for more details!

Windsor Castle, Windsor

Windsor Castle, Windsor

We begin with perhaps the most famous of all Berkshire attractions. Windsor Castle stands as the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, with origins dating back to the 11th century.

Built by William the Conqueror, this historic fortress showcases a blend of architectural styles, reflecting its centuries-long evolution.

Key features of the castle include the Round Tower, the opulent State Apartments, and St George’s Chapel, a stunning example of Gothic architecture. St George’s Chapel hosts royal ceremonies and serves as a burial place for monarchs, adding to the castle’s historical significance.

The State Apartments display a rich collection of art, featuring works by renowned artists like Rembrandt and Canaletto, and are used for official state functions. Visitors can also experience the Changing of the Guard, a traditional ceremony that highlights British ceremonial tradition.

If you’re looking for historic sites in Berkshire, then Windsor Castle should be first on your list, as it is ours!

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Windsor Great Park, Windsor

Ideal for those of you looking for outdoor activities in Berkshire, Windsor Great Park, sprawling across thousands of acres in Berkshire, is a vast and historic landscape that offers a blend of natural beauty and royal heritage.

Originally used as a hunting ground by Norman kings, the park today is open to the public, providing a wide array of recreational activities.

Visitors to Windsor Great Park can explore its extensive network of walking and cycling trails, which meander through ancient woodland, open parkland, and alongside ornamental lakes.

Notable attractions within the park include the Savill Garden, renowned for its horticultural artistry, and the Virginia Water Lake, which features a picturesque cascade and a replica of a Roman temple.

The Long Walk, a striking three-mile avenue that leads up to Windsor Castle, offers spectacular views of the castle and is a favourite for photographers and walkers alike.

It remains one of the premier Berkshire visitor attractions and is perfect for those seeking leisure, landscape, and a touch of regal splendour.

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Legoland Resort, Windsor

Legoland

Legoland Windsor Resort is one of the most popular destinations for people searching for family activities in Berkshire.

Catering for families with children aged 2 to 12 years, this major theme park revolves around the imaginative world of LEGO, offering a variety of interactive experiences.

The resort boasts more than 55 interactive rides, live shows, and building workshops, making it a vibrant place for young minds to explore and create.

Key attractions include the Dragon Roller Coaster, set within a detailed LEGO castle, and the Driving School, where children can drive electric cars and earn their own LEGO driver’s license.

The park also features Miniland, a highlight where famous global landmarks are recreated in miniature form using millions of LEGO bricks.

Seasonal events add to the park’s appeal, with special Halloween and Christmas themes offering unique experiences and decorations.

The resort also includes a hotel themed around popular LEGO lines, such as Ninjago and Pirates, enhancing the immersive experience for overnight guests.

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The Look Out Discovery Centre, Bracknell

Bracknell Forest

The Look Out Discovery Centre offers an interactive learning experience primarily aimed at children and families.

This educational facility features over 90 hands-on science and nature exhibits that encourage visitors to engage with various scientific concepts through practical experiments and activities.

Popular among these are the “Build It!” zone where children can construct and create using large foam blocks, and the “Water World,” which teaches about water forces and flow through direct interaction.

Set within a 1,000 hectare forest, the centre also serves as a gateway to explore the natural environment.

The surrounding woodland provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as cycling, walking, and nature watching, making it a comprehensive destination for educational and recreational visits.

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Highclere Castle, Newbury

Highclere Castle, Newbury

Highclere Castle is renowned worldwide as the filming location for the television series “Downton Abbey.” This stately home, set amidst 1,000 acres of spectacular parkland, has been the seat of the Earls of Carnarvon for over 300 years.

The current structure, built in the Jacobethan style, was designed by Sir Charles Barry, the architect also responsible for the Houses of Parliament in London.

Visitors to Highclere Castle can explore its richly decorated interior featuring an impressive collection of antiques and art, including works by Van Dyck and Reynolds.

The castle is not just a showcase of historical architecture and decorative arts; it also offers insights into the history of the Carnarvon family, notably the 5th Earl who, along with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun.

The grounds of Highclere feature beautifully landscaped gardens designed by Capability Brown, ideal for leisurely walks.

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Basildon Park, Lower Basildon

Basildon Park, Lower Basildon

Basildon Park is a striking example of Georgian architecture, celebrated for its pristine preservation and elegant design.

Built in the late 18th century, this Palladian mansion was meticulously restored in the mid-20th century by Lord and Lady Iliffe, who revived it from a state of disrepair to its former glory.

Today, Basildon Park is managed by the National Trust and is open to the public, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of the Georgian era.

The interior of the house features opulent decorations and an extensive collection of paintings and fabrics, carefully selected to reflect the period’s aesthetics.

The main rooms, including the impressive staircase hall and octagonal drawing room, showcase fine plasterwork and detailed craftsmanship.

The estate also boasts a vast parkland, which includes historic woodland, picturesque trails, and lush gardens that invite leisurely walks and offer peaceful retreats.

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Beale Wildlife Park, Pangbourne

Beale Wildlife Park, Pangbourne

Beale Wildlife Park offers a delightful experience for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

Situated along the picturesque banks of the River Thames, this dedicated wildlife park and gardens provide a sanctuary for a diverse range of animal species and beautifully landscaped environments.

Visitors to Beale Wildlife Park can explore various habitats that house everything from exotic birds and farm animals to small mammals and reptiles.

Noteworthy attractions include the walk-through aviary and the paddocks, where children can get up close to domestic creatures such as goats and sheep.

The park also features several themed gardens, adding a botanical component to the visitor experience with vibrant plantings and peaceful green spaces.

Ideal for a Berkshire family day out, Beale Wildlife Park combines the joys of animal interaction with the tranquility of natural settings.

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Dinton Pastures Country Park, Wokingham

Dinton Pastures Country Park, Wokingham
Image: wokinghamcountryside.co.uk

Dinton Pastures Country Park is a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families. Spread over 335 acres, the park offers a diverse array of natural landscapes, including lakes, rivers, meadows, and woodland areas, making it perfect for a variety of recreational activities.

Visitors to Dinton Pastures can enjoy extensive walking and cycling trails that wind through the park, providing ample opportunities to observe wildlife and appreciate the serene environment.

The park is also equipped with a large playground, designed to engage children of all ages, and a high-quality café where visitors can relax and enjoy refreshments.

For those interested in water-based activities, Dinton Pastures offers kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding on its lakes. These are supported by the Dinton Activity Centre, which also provides courses and equipment hire.

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Wellington Country Park, Riseley

Wellington Country Park, Riseley
Image: wellingtoncountrypark.co.uk

Wellington Country Park is a favourite destination for those seeking outdoor activities in Berkshire.

Spread over 350 acres, this park offers a wide array of attractions suitable for all ages, including picturesque lakes, several adventure playgrounds, and an extensive network of nature trails.

The park is renowned for its mini-golf course, animal farm, and the miniature railway that enchants both children and adults as it winds through the scenic landscape.

Wellington Country Park’s nature trails are well-maintained, inviting visitors to explore the diverse habitats and spot various wildlife species.

For younger guests, the park features interactive play areas with safe, age-appropriate equipment, ensuring hours of entertainment.

Additionally, Wellington Country Park offers picnic areas and a café that serves a variety of refreshments, making it ideal for family picnics and leisurely days out.

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The Living Rainforest, Hampstead Norreys

Sloth

Also on our list of things to do in Bershire is the Living Rainforest – an engaging ecological attraction that invites visitors to explore a real rainforest environment in the UK.

Housed in a series of large glasshouses, this unique facility replicates the lush, tropical conditions of rainforests worldwide, offering a home to a diverse collection of plants, animals, and insects.

As visitors wander through the humid and verdant pathways, they encounter an array of species including rare birds, free-roaming lizards, and sloths.

The Living Rainforest serves not only as a tourist attraction but also as an educational centre, providing insight into the complexities of rainforest ecosystems and the importance of sustainability and conservation efforts.

Ideal for families and school groups, The Living Rainforest offers an immersive experience that combines education with the adventure of exploring a tropical paradise.

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Bucklebury Farm Park, Bucklebury

Pigs

Bucklebury Farm Park offers a delightful outdoor experience for families and animal lovers. This farm and deer safari park provides a hands-on approach to learning about farm life, with opportunities to interact closely with a variety of animals.

Visitors can enjoy feeding and petting sessions with domestic animals such as goats, pigs, and sheep. The park’s unique attraction, the deer safari, allows guests to tour the extensive grounds in a tractor trailer, coming face-to-face with free-roaming deer.

For younger children, Bucklebury Farm Park features several adventure play areas, including slides, swings, and a jumping pillow, ensuring a fun-filled day for all ages.

In addition to the animal encounters and play areas, Bucklebury Farm Park offers picturesque walking paths that wind through woodland and pasture, perfect for families looking to immerse themselves in nature.

The park also includes a cozy café where visitors can enjoy refreshments while taking in the rural views.

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REME Museum, Arborfield

REME Museum, Arborfield
Image: rememuseum.org.uk

The REME Museum, located in Arborfield, is dedicated to showcasing the history and achievements of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), a corps of the British Army responsible for the maintenance, servicing, and repair of military equipment.

Visitors to the REME Museum can explore an extensive collection of military vehicles, weapons, and engineering technology. Exhibits include historic tanks, trucks, and an array of equipment used in various military operations.

In addition to technical exhibits, the museum also focuses on the personal stories of REME soldiers, offering a human perspective on the challenges and triumphs of military life.

This makes the REME Museum an educational and intriguing visit for those interested in military history and engineering.

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Donnington Castle, Newbury

Donnington Castle, Newbury

Donnington Castle, located near Newbury in Berkshire, stands as a remarkable example of medieval architecture with a rich history that dates back to the 14th century.

Built by Sir Richard Abberbury in 1386, this castle was originally constructed as a fortified residence, but it is most famed for its role in the English Civil War.

The castle’s most striking feature is its gatehouse, which is largely intact and offers a glimpse into its former grandeur.

During the Civil War, Donnington Castle was held by the Royalists and withstood a significant siege in 1644. The remnants of the fortifications added during this period can still be seen, evoking the castle’s strategic importance.

Today, Donnington Castle is managed by English Heritage and remains a popular Berkshire tourist destination for history enthusiasts and visitors alike.

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For more information about the best things to do in Berkshire, see the offical South East England tourism website:
https://www.visitsoutheastengland.com/berkshire

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