The county of Berkshire lies to the west of London with its eastern boundary adjacent to Greater London.
It stretches some 60 miles westwards to the Wiltshire border, with Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire to the north.
Berkshire is famous for its Castle at Windsor, Eton College and horse racing at Royal Ascot as well as the many picturesque villages and historic houses that are waiting to be enjoyed.
The River Thames runs along the Northern boundary and the area – together with those counties that also have a boundary with the river, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire – is commonly referred to as the Thames Valley.
FUNtastic facts about Berkshire
- Ascot Racecourse was founded by Queen Anne in 1711
- Richard Cox grew the first Cox’s Apples at Ascot in 1825
- The Ostrich pub in Colnbrook is the 3rd oldest pub in all England
- King John signed the Magna Carta At Runnymede in 1215
- 18 of Britains 46 Prime Ministers have been educated at Eton. David Cameron is trying to make it 19
- Maidenhead is home to the widest brick arch bridge in the world – built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1838
- King Henry I is buried at Reading Abbey
- Jane Austen attended the towns Abbey School
- Mapledurham House is the original setting for Toad of Toad Hall Link: Mapledurham House
- Windosr Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world
Famous Berkshire people
- Chris Tarrant
- Elizabeth Taylor
- Geraldine McEwan
- Henry VI
- Humphrey Lyttleton
- Jethro Tull
- Kate Winslett
- Michael Bond
- Ranulph Fiennes
- Ricky Gervais
- Will Young
A grand 18th-century Palladian country house, with a fine collection of paintings, furniture and textiles. Saved from ruin and lovingly restored by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the 1950s, Basildon Park has glorious walks through the garden and parkland and featured in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
Basildon Park, Reading
0118 984 3040
Bucklebury Farm Park
Berkshires Best kept Secret! Over 70 acres of parkland in which to see deer in their natural habitat, take the free tractor and trailor ride to see them at close quarters and even hand feed the tamer members of the herd. Ponies, donkeys, pigs, wild boar and lots of other animals to pat and feed, pat-a pet area with rabbits and guinea pigs, indoor play area with slides, outdoor adventure playground, nature trail, woodland walk and large picnic area.
Bucklebury, Reading, RG7 6RR
Donnington Castle is now the ruins of a 14th century castle with a courtyard of flint and stone; the upstanding remains of an attached gatehouse with repairs in brick; and the surrounding earthworks from a Civil War fieldwork or star fort were built as fortifications by the garrison governor Sir John Boys in the style of Italian Renaissance ‘star’ artillery defences.
Castle Lane, Donnington, Newbury, RG14 2LE
Built in 1581 by Newbury clothier Thomas Dolman this fine Elizabethan building was home to successive Dolman families, the flamboyant Duke of Chandos and the Andrews and Farquhar families. Shaw House then began a new life as a school for generations of local children. However in 1985 Shaw House was evacuated due to concerns about the structure of the building.
Church Road, Newbury, RG14 2DR
The Nature Discovery Centre
The Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham is a wonderful day out for all the family! Take a walk around Thatcham Lake, visit our reed bed nature reserve, feed the ducks and let off steam in the adventure playgrounds. Enjoy the delicious organic refreshments served in our Lakeside Cafe.
Muddy Lane, Lower Way, Thatcham, Newbury, RG19 3FU
Tel: +44 01635 874381
Kennet Horse Boat Company
Savour the gentle pace of a canal trip aboard the Kennet Horse Boat Company’s traditionally styled horse drawn and motorised day trip boats on the Kennet & Avon Canal. The Horse Drawn Barge operates from Kintbury, daytime only. The Motor Barge operates from Newbury Wharf, daytime/evening.
2 Rectory Cottage, Church Hill, Wickham, Newbury, RG20 8HD
Tel: 01488 658866
The Living Rainforest
On your your visit look out for free roaming animals, butterflies and birds as well as tropical plants that have changed the way we live today. Due to the changing nature of exhibits, each visit to the rainforest offers a unique natural experience and it’s recommend you allow up to half a day for your visit. Explore the rainforest and discover its wonders for yourself. Situated in the Berkshire countryside, the Living Rainforest is an all weather attraction open year round, seven days a week (excl. Christmas Eve-Boxing Day)
Hampstead Norreys, Thatcham, RG18 0TN
Tel: 01635 202 444
Fax: 01635 202 440
One of three official residences of The Queen, has been home to the Sovereign for over 900 years and not only is it the largest inhabited castle in the world but is the oldest in continuous occupation. The imposing towers and battlements of the Castle loom large from every approach to the town, creating one of the world´s most spectacular skylines. Visitors can walk around the State Apartments, extensive suites of rooms at the heart of the working palace. For part of the year visitors can also see the Semi State rooms, which are some of the most splendid interiors in the castle. Within the Castle complex there are many additional attractions, including the Drawings Gallery, Queen Mary´s doll´s house, and the 14th century St George´s Chapel, the burial place of ten sovereigns and setting for many Royal weddings.
Windsor, SL4 1NJ
See the Fun Kids review on Windsor Castle
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