6 Perfect Things to Do in Berkshire with Kids
Taking the family to the home counties? Get stuck into Plum Guide's top things to do in Berkshire with kids.
Now, its name may be responsible for the word berk (meaning fool or idiot, shortened from the rhyming slang Berkshire Hunt), but Berkshire is home to Eton, one of the country’s most elite schools. And surely that counts for, well, something? (Behave.)
Whatever you think of our current prime minister, or all our other Eton-schooled politicians for that matter, chances are your kids won’t give one hoot. They’ll be far more excited to hear about getting their driving licence at Legoland and where they can find the best colour-changing waterslides on their big Berkshire day out.
Berkshire is on our new curated list of destinations that are perfect for UK-based staycations. Just make sure to get some peace and quiet by booking a stay in a Plum Guide home (there'll be plenty of space for all the family). But before you go, put your feet up and read on on for our expert tips on things to do in Berkshire with kids.
Let them loose in Wellington Country Park
Craving a day trip from London into some big, wide open space? Us too. Wellington Country Park is comprised of 350 acres of beautiful parkland, with a maze, an enchanted forest, a farm with an animal-petting barn, extensive outdoor play areas (the biggest in Berkshire), four wooded nature trails (look out for grazing deer) and a lake with a barbecue and picnic area. If your little ones love to run around this is one for them – and you can congratulate yourself in the evening when they’re sleeping sound and there’s a large glass of wine in your hand.
Take a horse-drawn canal boat down the Kennet
Slow right down to a nineteenth-century pace with a horse-drawn trip down the Kennet & Avon Canal. Kennet Horse Boat Company operates its barge – decorated in a traditional roses and castles design and pulled by traditionally harnessed shire horses – from picturesque Kintbury. Cruise down this stretch of the canal, smug in the knowledge that this is the most environmentally friendly boat you can get without doing any of the hard work yourself.
Spend a few days in Newbury
Once you’ve checked into Plum Guide’s upscale Timber & Brick farmhouse just outside Newbury – and made full use of the freestanding copper bath, caught some rays on the outdoor sun-loungers and roamed around the surrounding fields – you might want to actually explore the area. Head to the 16th-century Shaw House, which has served as everything from a school to a battleground and a duke’s residence. The kids will also enjoy exploring the ruined Donnington Castle – which is also a good spot for kite-flying, if you find they need extra entertainment. Finally, Newbury’s Watermill Theatre is one of the country’s best regional theatres, often bringing its shows to the West End, and they often put on children’s productions too. We've included Newbury on our favourite places to visit in Berkshire, so don't miss it.
Have a royal day out in Windsor
Visiting Windsor is one of our favourite things to do in Berkshire with kids – perfect for monarchy enthusiasts who have already exhausted all of London's royal attractions. Begin the day by wowing the kids with history at Windsor Castle, established 900 years ago by William the Conqueror (they’ll also be impressed by the extravagant doll’s house – the chandeliers are crystal, and it’s fully plumbed in with running water and flushing toilets. No, don’t ask us why). In the afternoon, burn off all their excess energy with a visit to the 2,020-hectare Windsor Great Park, once the private hunting ground of Windsor Castle, or with a jaunt up the river on a Duck Tour. Just up the river in Maidenhead is our seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom property Water Violet, which should provide enough space for a whole extended family of little ones, with its open-plan living spaces, thoughtful design and large lawn that slopes right down to the Thames (but don’t worry, there’s a fence).
Get them a driving licence at Legoland
Windsor isn’t all royalty – sometimes it lets its hair down too. No more so than at the largely primary-coloured Lego-themed theme park Legoland Windsor. There are more than 55 rides at this Legoland, and 80 million Lego bricks (now there’s a fact for you). Take wannabe ninjas out on the Lego Ninjago ride, littler ones on the Duplo Dino Coaster, and bring any backseat drivers to the Driving School, where they can get their Legoland driving licence in a Lego-brick-esque electric vehicle with a reassuringly low speed limit. All in all, it’s a fun day out for them, and you can be happy that they’re being exposed to Danish design in a way they can really appreciate at a young age.
Ride the colour-changing waterslide at Coral Reef Waterworld
Not only does Coral Reef Waterworld have a pirate ship, rapids, and a choice of water slides illuminated by colour-changing lights, but it also has a spa with a Japanese steam room. So in essence, it’s one of the most fun things to do in Berkshire with kids (for them, at least), but there’s also something in it for you. And there’s not really much more to add than that.