The Royal County of Berkshire is a county less than an hour drive west of London, and there are plenty of historic and interesting places to visit in Berkshire on a day out.
Berkshire is bordered by the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Wiltshire and Hampshire, and it is usually regarded as one of the “Home Counties”.
The county has been the scene of many battles over the centuries, and it is also where you will find the Queen’s residence of Windsor Castle, with the town of Windsor lying on the banks of the River Thames.
National Trust Properties in Berkshire
There are 3 National Trust properties in Berkshire:
Lambourn, Newbury, Berkshire RG17 8RE
Telephone: 01494 755569
This is an unusual building that looks like a dolls’-house, and it is nestled in a beautiful woodland valley on the Berkshire Downs.
The house is lived in, and access is limited to the staircase and roof (100 steps).
Warning: There are no public Toilet/Restroom facilities.
Dogs must be kept on a lead, and are only allowed in the woodland areas.
Lower Basildon, Reading, Berkshire RG8 9NR
Telephone: 0118 984 3040
Basildon Park is an impressive Georgian mansion that is surrounded by glorious parkland.
In the 1950’s the house was rescued from ruin by Lord and Lady Iliffe, who restored the elegant interior and scoured the country salvaging 18th-century architectural fixtures and fittings.
The Iliffe’s filled their new home with fine paintings, fabrics and furniture, which can still be enjoyed by visitors today.
There are a number of marked trails that lead through the historic parkland and gravel paths around the gardens.
For the visitors, there is also an “‘on location” exhibition where they can find out what goes on behind the scenes?
Runnymede Estate Office, North Lodge, Windsor Road, Old Windsor, Berkshire SL4 2JL
Telephone: 01784 432891
Runnymede is a parkland area on the south bank of the River Thames, close to Windsor, and is where King John signed the historic Magna Carta charter in 1215.
Set within the beautiful natural landscape are memorials by Maufe, Jellicoe and Lutyens, that commemorate moments in world history (more information HERE).
The Air Forces Memorial – dedicated to the men and women of the Allied Air Forces who died during World War II was designed by Sir Edward Maufe R.A. and unveiled by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 17 October 1953.
The Magna Carta Memorial – this stands at the foot of the Cooper’s Hill and is in the form of a domed classical temple containing a pillar of English granite on which is inscribed: ‘To commemorate Magna Carta, symbol of Freedom Under Law.’ This was built by the American Bar Association on land leased by the Magna Carta Trust.
The John F. Kennedy Memorial – This stands halfway up the slopes of Cooper’s Hill and overlooks Runnymede, on ground that previously belonged to the Crown and is now the property of the United States of America. The memorial is made of Portland stone to the design of G.A. Jellicoe and was unveiled by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 14 May 1965 in the presence of President Kennedy’s widow and children. Visitors reach the memorial by treading a steep path of irregular granite steps, one for each year of Kennedy’s life.
Other Visitor Attractions in Berkshire
Berkshire has a lot of other visitor attractions, including:
Donnington Castle – built in 1386 and once owned by Thomas Chaucer, son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. The castle fell following an 18 month siege during the English Civil War and now only the impressive four towered gatehouse and earthworks remain.
Eton College – with a name that it known throughout the world, Eton is one of England’s elite private schools for boys aged 13 to 18. David Cameron is the 19th Prime Minister to have attended Eaton.
Frogmore – this is a 33 acre estate and gardens that adjoins Windsor Castle. Within the grounds is the Royal Mausoleum, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are buried. The grounds are only open to the public about six days a year.
RAF Greenham Common – is an air force base just outside Newbury, that was the site of the Women’s Peace Camp in the 1980’s, with people protesting about the stationing of Cruise Missiles on the site. Greenham Common was at one time a USAF base. It is now dismantled and the area is being returned to parkland.
Legoland – just outside Windsor it the UK Legoland theme park, which has numerous buildings and rides that are constructed from Lego. It is the fourth most visited theme park in the UK.
Windsor Castle – dating back to William The Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world, and is one of the Queen’s three primary official .residences. Windsor Castle can easily be recognised by it’s large Round Tower. Visitors can tour the castle and grounds, and provided the Queen is not in residence, the State Apartments as well.
About The National Trust
The National Trust is an independent charity in the UK that helps to protect and open to the public over 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments.
The charity also looks after forests, woods, beaches and farmland, as well as archaeological sites, castles, nature reserves and historic villages.
The National Trust has over 3.6 million members, and a team of 55,000 volunteers.
More than 14 million people pay to visit National Trust properties annually, and 50 million are estimated to visit open air sites.
CLICK HERE to find out more and to join The National Trust.
The National Trust
Berkshire on Wikipedia
The Counties Of Great Britain