If you’re visiting Berkshire, you’re in for the quintessential English countryside experience. With open landscapes, historic castles and charming pubs, this county is the perfect place for a relaxing weekend away from the hustle and bustle of nearby London. Here’s our guide to your next trip to the shire.
If you’re looking for a thrilling day out, Thorpe Park is a perfect choice. Frequently touted as the best theme park in the UK, it’s a sprawling mix of exciting rides, food and sometimes (often) terrifying experiences. It has several well-known rides, including Nemesis Inferno, Stealth and Derren Brown’s Ghost Train, so make sure you arrive early to avoid long queues and to go on everything at least once. If your party includes smaller children, the park has several attractions suitable for all ages. It also has many deals available on tickets throughout the year.
Cementing itself in British history as the site of the signing of the Magna Carta, Runnymede is a beautiful example of Berkshire countryside. With a sense of freedom, its bright open spaces and historical legacy are a big draw to this charming park. Outside the picture-perfect vistas, you’ll also find many memorials, including a piece dedicated to JFK and one commemorating the commonwealth Air Force during World War II. Several art installations also dot the landscape, such as the 12 bronze chairs known as The Jurors, which are adorned with images and symbols representing the everyday struggle for freedom in our lives.
Up the River Thames, Beale Wildlife Park is a nature lover’s dream, with beautiful botanical gardens and a wide variety of animal species, including a huge collection of rare and exotic birds. Opened in 1956, the park was private farmland before former owner Gilbert Beale gave it to the people. Now covering about 350 acres (142ha), the park is well worth a visit on your next trip to Berkshire.
Founded and run by the Trust for Sustainable Living, the Living Rainforest allows you to experience the beautiful and diverse natural world found in tropical rainforests. In addition to the centre’s hundreds of species of flora and fauna, it also shows examples of how we can all live sustainably, with green building materials, sustainable construction techniques and renewable energy all being incorporated into its day-to-day operation.
Founded by Henry I in 1121, the Reading Abbey is one of the area’s historic landmarks. It has a rich heritage, giving you a chance to see some of the city’s fascinating history up close. After closing in 2009 due to unsafe conditions, the ruins reopened in 2018, following a much-needed £3m restoration effort. Today, it’s now central to Reading’s Abbey Quarter, incorporating many sites such as the Forbury Gardens and nearby Reading Museum, which are both well worth a visit.
Looking for more places to stay in and around the Berkshire area? Book one of the best hotels dotted around London’s Heathrow airport and enjoy all the benefits of being close the Berkshires whilst still having a base near the capital city.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.