Before you go pouring through the same old travel brochures planning your usual package holiday to Spain this year, how about considering a coach tour of some of the most stunning and famous parts of your own country that you have always thought about seeing but never got around to doing. Once such region is the county if Berkshire.
Perhaps you are bored with your current social status and fancy hob-nobbing with some of the country’s movers and shakers? If you’ve realised your friends are all riff-raff and you want to meet a superior class of Englishmen then Berkshire is the place for you. Home to everyone from Prime Ministers and Royal Family, fund managers and bankers Berkshire has been producing landed gentry for thousands of years and has been squeezing out Tories and toffs, royals and rulers since the 11th century. Consequently it is also a beautiful and fascinating area to tour about – from the world famous Eton college town and its famous, or infamous, school to Windsor castle, home to everyone’s favourite grandmother, the Queen of England. In addition to these famous sights, Berkshire is also the location of some of the country’s most visited, and most loved tourist attractions.
Firstly, there is Windsor Castle itself, an architectural and historical wonder that even the most passionate of republicans will not be able to resist. No visit to the UK or tour of England would be complete without stopping to see the changing of the guard and the elegant and ornate state rooms as well as the simply romantic and historic architecture of the castle itself. But throughout Bedfordshire you’ll see even more incredible history – unsurprising as it’s one of the UK’s oldest counties which has been a county since King Alfred first set it boundaries in ancient times. From the Old Granaries of King Charles II found in Newbury to the Iron Age Walbury Hill Fort and from the numerous sites of Roman history and remains to the museums and galleries of Roman art and artefacts; from touring Eton college (first established in 1440 and amongst the oldest schools and school buildings in the UK) to Highclere Castle; from Ashdown House to Lambourn it will seem that every magical and ancient corner of Berkshire is worth exploring.
If you need somewhere to stay for the night then where better than Reading, a bustling and exciting city with a young nightlife and a wonderful arts and culture scene. The city itself offers some grand old buildings and grand old hotels though if you are looking for somewhere cheap to stay all the usual chains operate year-round deals and there are some good hostels. If you want a bit more nature then head out to the Thames and along the enchanting Ridgeway National Trail; hike the downs and stop off at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre or visit the Living Rain Forest. It is not because of the Royal Family alone that this county is referred to as ‘Royal Berkshire’ – it is also the stately and elegant scenery and buildings that you will see around every corner.