The beautiful South East English county which comes with a royal stamp of approval is home to some of the best sites in the country. It’s officially one of the prestigious home counties, so an area located not too far from London but a world away in terms of peace, green spaces, and a slower pace of life.
Windsor Castle and its stunning surroundings are one of the most famously beautiful places to visit but beyond that is some truly astonishing picturesque scenery which includes ancient trails, pretty English villages residing by the River Thames, historic market towns, rolling hills, and pretty green landscapes. I’ve lived in this area for many years so here is my choice for the best and most beautiful places to visit in Berkshire…
1. Cliveden – a famously beautiful place to visit in Berkshire
Located in Taplow, Berkshire this is a true countryside escape. It’s overbrimming with perfectly preserved history, romance, and elegance making it an alluring and a perfect retreat outside London.
From the gorgeous Italian style mansion, you can see a rear-view of the Chiltern Hills and surrounding villages of Burnham and Taplow.
Cliveden House is posh, and by posh we mean properly, ‘no jeans at the dinner table’ and ‘make sure you use the right fork’ posh. This breathtaking country house has been home to royalty, functioned as a university, and is now a luxury five-star hotel. Featuring a walled garden, rooms that will make you feel like a 1930’s film star, and a spa that will make your toes curl in sheer bliss, Clivedon House is something truly special.
The house offers days out on the river too, don your biggest hat and a pair of sunglasses and head out on a boat picnic, or just go for a nice long walk on the 376-acre estate. Cliveden blends class with perfect hospitality and modern elegance and is sure a great place to visit to relax from the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. Windsor and Windsor Castle – the best and most famous castle to visit in England
Easily one of the best attractions in Berkshire and even the whole of England, you’ll just have to remember to book tickets in advance to the world’s oldest and largest live-in castle. Relieve the history of the wonderful historic building which is full of unique artifacts, classic antiques, as well as being home to the royal family for over a thousand years.
The castle is beautifully preserved and is jaw-droppingly wonderful and also forms a central quadrangle surrounded by major buildings of the lush bailey high walls. The imposing commanding towers appearing from almost every corner.
The interiors are also impressively preserved and highlights include and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, The State Apartments, and a free audio guide for a tour. There are around 150 staff and that live on-site to keep the place running smoothly.
When here also make time to visit Windsor itself which is a very charming and easy-on-the-eye English town and definitely one of the best places to visit in Berkshire.
The town resides on the River Thames and makes a lovely place to wander around and check out all the upscale shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and bars.
Other highlights include the Theatre Royal which plays host to many cultural events, the GuildHall the ceremonious English Baroque town hall, and the fun Duck Boat River Tours.
3. Eton – the quintessentially English village which is home to one of the world’s most famous college
The pretty and historic town of Eton Berkshire is located on the other side of the bank of the River Thames from Windsor and they’re connected by a bridge.
Standing on the pedestrian’s bridge offers beautiful views of the castle’s water edge, and a walk down will lead you to the world-famous Eton College. You can walk around the world-famous and quintessentially very British institution and spot many architectural gems.
Also, spend time to explore the small village of Eton itself has a relaxing atmosphere pleasant secluded away from the throng of tourists who mostly occupying neighbouring Windsor.
Visit for the art galleries, the bookshops, the antique shops, the small museum as well as the quaint and timeless atmosphere. Definitely a place worth visiting in Berkshire even if it’s just to say you’ve been!
4. Windsor Great Park – a former royal hunting ground turned beautiful sprawling estate
This is definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Berkshire. The award-winning Windsor Park in Berkshire, with its royal history of 1000 years, has more than enough space for you to roam around effortlessly.
It’s owned by the Crown Estate and resides behind Windsor Castle and the sprawling and stunning area used to be hunting ground but now it also includes a few farms, forestry land, a few polo fields, and beautiful parkland much of which is now open to the public.
Here you can relax, walk with your family or dog, or just spot wildlife, unique plants, and historical monuments of Windsor. Make sure you walk right to the very end to get that really stunning and famous shot of the castle!
5. Savill Gardens – beautiful lessons in the heart of Windsor Great Park
Named as “England finest ornamental woodland,” Savill Gardens is a wonderful and beautifully kept place in Berkshire (which is actually part of Windsor Great Park) that has something spectacular for everyone.
Over the years, the well-manicured and landscaped garden has not failed to impress since its historical creation in 1930 by the grandmaster of Woodland, Sir Eric Savill.
And today, Saville Gardens have become the favorite horticulturist’s location to discover rare plants around the world organized in a seasoned manner through a variety of interconnected gardens.
The beautiful place to visit in Berkshire is easy to access, open to the public all year round (a fee is expected on entry) and highlights include the hidden gardens, New Zealand gardens, the glades, winter beds, and summer woods. If you’re going as a family, children under 16 are allowed in for free.
6. Stanlake Park Wine Estate – the largest vineyard in the English county of Berkshire
One of the most popular places to visit in Berkshire is the Stanlake Park wine estate. Originally known as Thames Valley, Stanlake is the largest of vineyards in the country Berkshire.
Located near to Twyford, As well as being a scenic spot they produce wines varying from rose, white, and red to English sparkling wine.
The beautiful vineyard is open to visitors for a tour with friendly hosts, during which you’ll get to taste a whopping six samples of professionally made wine. If you are looking for a charming and relaxed afternoon drinking lots of delicious wine, then make sure to visit!
7. Bisham and Bisham Woods – one of the best places to explore in Berkshire
Bisham is a charming historic village located on the River Thames, which is part of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. It’s known mostly for its splendid location and Bisham Abbey, a Grade I Tudor era building which history and architecture fans will love (although now it serves as a national sports centre).
Another place to explore and visit is Bisham Woods. With its ancient woodlands and colorful resemblance of fairytales wood, the 86-hectare size ancient woodland is now a site of special scientific interest situated west of Cookham.
The treasured nature reserve, which is run by the woodland trust since 1990, is close to Quarry Wood, High Wood, and Inkydown Wood which are all stunning places to explore in Berkshire.
It also happens to be a natural habitat for fascinating wildlife and beautiful pictures of various plant species. The woods, which once used to be a part of the massive Bisham Estates that housed the Earls of Salisbury are also another fine place to take a wander in Berkshire.
Basildon Park – a fine country home located in stunning Berkshire countryside
Beautiful Basildon Park is situated just three kilometers South of Goring-on-Thames in Berkshire. The park boast of the 18th century Palladian mansion furnished with neoclassical interiors popularly known as ‘Adamesque style.’ It’s now opened by the National Trust and is open to the public.
I would also recommend visiting the wonderful grounds of the park which is home to lots of interesting exhibits, open space, beautiful gardens, as well as very beautiful rolling landscapes and wooded areas which are perfect for long walks with your family or dog.
8. Pangbourne – a pretty historic village located on the River Thames
One of the most popular places to visit in Berkshire, this beautiful quintessentially English country village is full of character and resides in a very scenic position on the banks of the River Thames.
It makes a great base to explore some of the best countryside Berkshire has to offer as well as offering tranquil break away from the city. Walkers love that’s it’s on the National Thames Pathway and that other beauty spots such as Basildon Park, the beautiful Chilterns, and the wrought iron Toll Bridge are nearby.
Stop here and people or wildlife watch and enjoy a refreshing drink at the locally acclaimed The Herd Restaurant or just stop for a picnic and take in the beautiful river views.
9. The Ridgeway and the Berkshire Downs – a stunning ancient trackway that passes through beautiful Berkshire countryside
Over 5,000 walkers cannot go wrong about the splendor of the British oldest road that spans from Wiltshire, passes through the Chalk ridge of Berkshire, and then down to River Thames.
Amazingly, the trackway is both sparsely populated and considered to be safe for walking and the trail offers very striking views of the open landscapes, blue skies, and beyond.
The trail passes through the Berkshire Downs which is another very beautiful place to visit and explore in this wonderful English County, in fact, it’s designated as an Area of Outstanding Beauty.
There are no shops on the track so make sure to come with a backpack of goodies and maybe your favorite pooch! A wonderful place to explore!
10. Frogmore House – a fine country house that’s been a royal retreat for more than 300 years
You’ve more than likely heard of Frogmore Cottage, Harry and Meghan’s former residence well this is its big brother (or sister)!
Located in the same grounds, this fine place is well respected for being a place of royal retreat for over 300 years, the beautiful Frogmore house – located about a mile away from Windsor Castle, is today used for private entertainment by the royal blood.
It’s a charmingly elegant place to visit which is surrounded by fine and picturesque gardens and further parkland with lovely trees, lakes, and bridges.
Again, just like the other royal houses, the royal property is restricted to the public. However, you just may be lucky to grab a visit opportunity during the three charity open days in June and August. Don’t forget to book your tickets in advance.
11. Sonning-on-Thames – a pretty village located on the banks of the River Thames
The old Sonning village with its attractive cottages is just about 10 minutes drive from Reading. It is a very pretty traditional English village located on the banks of the River Thames which has a small population of just over a thousand.
This classic picture-postcard village offers a mixture of historic charm, traditional pubs, inns, and independent shops as well as ts famous lock which was built in the 18th Century,
In the centre of the village is now a conservation area that holds many attractions ranging from the beautiful scenery of the River Thames to the ancient Great house, Sonning Bridge, and relics of the Anglo-Saxons church.
Sonning would be particularly enjoyable for families, bicyclists, and walkers who would love the colorful gardens and scenic walks. Definitely a place to take your camera!
12. Greenham Common – a former Royal Air Force station turned one of the best places to visit in Berkshire
If the cold world war stories fascinate you, then you can find out all about them here.
The former royal air station in Berkshire is now a massive parkland which is one of the best places to visit in Berkshire. In the past, Greenham was the base for launching critical missiles as well as being the operational base of the US air force during the cold World War II.
Among the historical sites on the parkland, many tourists find the Control Towers most intriguing as it gives a perfect view of the missile silos that featured in the film Star Wars as well as fire tire training planes.
Explore further into the park and you can go for scenic walks and spot wildlife. Also on site is a pleasant cafe, a museum, and an exhibition space.
13. Streatley – a pretty village located which makes a great base for river walks
This is another very pretty and tranquil historic village which is located on the River Thames and dates back to the 1700s.
It makes a great place for beautiful scenic walks by the river as well as a laid-back countryside break (it’s also located not too far from Oxfordshire as well as Goring-on-Thames).
Some of the most stunning Berkshire countryside and the Chiltern Hills is also located nearby so make sure your pack your walking boots as well as your camera! I’d recommend staying in the Swan at Streatley which is both family and dog friendly and enjoys a particularly picturesque position on the River Thames near the lock and the weir.
14. Welford Park – a country house and beautiful estate which is open to the public a few times a year
This is certainly one of the most popular and captivating beautiful places to visit in Berkshire. Located in the village of Welford this is a fine country house and estate.
Although it’s a privately owned estate they open their grounds and fabulous snowdrop collection. They open the gardens to the public during the winter so many others can also benefit from the wonderful display.
The magnificent carpet of snowdrops makes for a perfect picture in the woods! The ticket is well worth the price of this beautiful woodland which is an incredible 1000 years old. Whether you’re a family, a couple, or a dog walker I promise you’ll love this stunning beauty spot in Berkshire.
15. Newbury – a historic market town which makes a great base to explore some popular Berkshire attractions
The pretty historic market town of Newbury town with its traditional buildings and handsome town hall is a charming place to visit in Berkshire.
What makes it even more appealing is the natural lush green landscapes that surround the town on both sides and the nearby River Kennet.
Highlights include nearby Highclere Castle (of Downton Abbey fame), Snelsmore Common Country Park, The Living Rainforest attraction, Thatcham Nature Centre, The Watermill Theatre, and a collection of lovely shops, pubs, cafes, and restaurants.
Also, don’t forget to spend your afternoon walking to the Newbury Wharf Crane which located at the banks of the Kennet and Aval Canal.
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Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer
My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.
I’ve been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic, The Times, Yahoo Travel, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Thrillist, British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur, express.co.uk, Wanderlust, Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and metro.co.uk. Find me on Linkedin or Facebook.