Berkshire: Things to do and see

Berkshire is one of the Home Counties that circle the metropolis. It borders Greater London to the east and the counties of Wiltshire to the west, Hampshire to the south, Surrey to the southeast, Buckinghamshire to the northeast, and Oxfordshire to the north. As you can see, Berkshire not only sits at the centre of many of England’s most populous counties, but is also readily accessible from just about anywhere in the country.

It’s that accessibility that makes Berkshire a thoroughly worthwhile place to visit. So, once you’ve pitched up there, what are some of the things to do and see?

Windsor Castle

It’s no accident that the county is often referred to as Royal Berkshire – it has many associations with royalty not least the iconic and world-renowned Windsor Castle.

This stunning building has seen more than 1,000 years of history as a royal residence – making it the biggest and oldest inhabited castle in the world. Its magnificent architecture and rich history make Windsor Castle a must-see on any visit to Berkshire.

The castle’s State Apartments are open to the public throughout the year and in the grounds, you can witness the daily changing of the guard. Take a peek inside St George’s Chapel – where King Charles III (then the Prince of Wales) received a blessing from the Archbishop of Canterbury after his marriage to Camila, where Princes Edward and Harry were married, and where Queen Elizabeth II is buried.

Ascot racecourse

Members of the royal family are also known for their love of horses and are closely associated with Ascot racecourse – so, coining the title of Royal Ascot.

Just like many of the other attractions in the county of Berkshire, Ascot Racecourse is also steeped in history. The course was founded as long ago as 1711 when Queen Anne was taking a ride on horseback from Windsor Castle. She spied a stretch of open land that appeared ideal for letting horses have their head by galloping at full speed.

Although the main event is the renowned Royal Ascot – which runs for five days in June – there are no fewer than 21 race days you can attend, along with numerous other non-racing events held here. At any time of the year, therefore, Ascot offers one of the most glamorous days out that Berkshire has to offer.


There’s an attractive town astride the River Thames that also lends itself to royal connections – the giveaway is in the location of this settlement in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Maidenhead lets you enjoy the River Thames in all its rural glory as it curves around from Bray to Hurley on the very border of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

As you stroll along the leafy banks of the river, it’s difficult to imagine that London is less than an hour’s drive away. But Maidenhead has created its very own, distinctive sense of community that you can savour as you settle back in one of its myriad restaurants, bars, or lively cafes.

Away from the riverside, you can relax in one of several other parks and open spaces – and if the weather turns inclement, you can take your recreation at the Braywick Leisure Centre.


The name might not conjure up the most appealing thoughts about places to visit – but in Reading you are likely to be pleasantly surprised.

Reading is the county town, administrative centre, and the most populous location in Berkshire. Its leading role – and the presence of a large university campus – ensures that the city boasts an especially vibrant cultural scene not to mention many opportunities for retail therapy in its numerous shops, or the many dining options across a wide range of restaurants.

In August, the city hosts one of the UK’s biggest music festivals while other enthusiasts can shop ‘til they drop in the Oracle Shopping Centre.


So, if you’d somehow always managed to give Royal Berkshire a miss, perhaps now is the time to set the record straight. You’ll be given a taste of the history, royal associations, bustling and prosperous town centres, and pleasantly leafy surroundings of a county well worth the visit.