Windsor Castle, Highclere Castle, Donnington Castle… it’s no wonder Berkshire is officially recognised as England’s ‘Royal County’. Divided into 2 sections (bisected by Reading), much of it is prettily wooded, and its beautiful towns – Maidenhead, Windsor, Ascot and Newbury – are some of England’s richest. It’s home to A-list royalty (George Clooney and Elton John), as well as restaurant royalty (there are 3 Michelin-starred restaurants in the village of Bray alone, including Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck). So basically, any jokes about it being the crowning glory of the UK will work.
Touristy but thrilling, Windsor Castle is a must – kids will love watching the Changing of the Guards in the town centre, not to mention nearby Legoland. Hill walkers will find gorgeous panoramic views across the North Wessex Downs and Chilterns (the view from Combe Gibbet is outstanding), but if you prefer the flat, explore lovely Thames villages (Cookham, in particular). Eton is worth a gawp - great antique shops and that famous college – and if you’re into horse racing, Newbury and Ascot are world-class. Finally, the spring snowdrops at Welford Park: exquisite.