50 of the best summer days out in Berkshire in 2019
PUBLISHED: 14:28 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:33 28 June 2019
Make this summer a screen-free one and enjoy the great outdoors at these fantastic locations right on your doorstep
1 Love science? Enjoy a day out at The Look Out Discovery Centre in Swinley Forest. There's over 90 activities to have a go at, including launching a hydrogen rocket and playing with boats in the indoor stream. Take in the Toy Box Explorers show until 7 July, or the Dinosaur show from 20 July. There's also a huge adventure playground, plus in the forest you can do the Go Ape! Tree Top Challenge or Adventure, conquering wobbly bridges and awesome zip wires. For those a little older, try the Forest Segway off-road adventure. Swinley Forest is also well-known for its 15-mile cycle network, which you can explore at your leisure.
2 From 24 July, visit the Maidenhead Beach at Norden Farm, inspired by Goa. Bag a beachside café table while the children play in the sand. Join in craft or storytelling sessions in the story den or enjoy projections in the fisherman's hut, or go fish in shiny waters and add your creations to the walls. Family films are also screened throughout the holidays.
3 Be the king or queen of the castle for the day at Highclere in Newbury. Enjoy a Midsummer Special guided tour, or on 24 June, they are hosting Downton Abbey Live, music from the show hosted by the real Mr Carson. Don't miss the Battle Proms Concert on 3 August − a summer celebration with music, cannons, cavalry and fireworks.And ride their carousel at their Costumes, Cocktails and Castle Tours event on 7 September.
4 Head to Snelsmore Common, a picturesque area of heathland in Newbury. Print out their crayon-rubbing trail and take it with you to discover more about the special wildlife. There's also a Warden's Monthly Wildlife Walk on 9 June, 18 June and 7 July.
5 Berkshire's newest golf leisure facility, Wokingham Family Golf, means you can play golf in different ways: range, pitch and putt, FootGolf and Adventure Mini Golf. My girls loved FootGolf − it's a great family game you can all enjoy.
6 If you haven't yet checked out Loddon Nature Reserve in Twyford, this is a must-visit. Join the Twyford Wildlife Safari on 9 June for a nature trail around the reserve with activities for the whole family.
7 At Dinton Pastures Country Park in Hurst, you can play disc golf, enjoy some watersports, have a go on the static climbing wall, spend hours in the huge adventure playground, walk round the lake and enjoy refreshments in the cafe. Their Family Fun Weekend is on 1-2 June, the Summer Solstice BBQ and Paddle on 21 June, or head along to the Marvellous Festival on 20-21 July. Dinton are also hosting open-air cinema screenings this summer. See Bohemian Rhapsody on 10 and 17 August, The Greatest Showman on 24 August; and Grease! on 7 September.
8 Too hot in the sun? Head to Bracknell's Ski Slope to cool off and have some ski, snowboarding or Sno-Tubing fun.
9 Greenham Common, an area of open land near Newbury, has become a venue for a range of activities, from wildlife walks to unique cultural events. The Greenham Control Tower is worth a visit, hosting events and exhibitions, and don't miss the BBOWT Bird Walk on 12 June, 10 July, 23 July and 14 August.
10 Inflatable slides, obstacles and climbing walls await you on the lake at Lagoona Park, Reading, and for those looking for even more of an adrenaline rush, they also have jet skis and off-road buggies for hire.
11 Children will love the Pinewood Miniature Railway in Wokingham, which runs for nearly half a mile through a woodland setting. Open on the third Sunday of the month.
12 Mad about Lego, or just love a day out at a theme park, then head to the Legoland Windsor Resort. Check out the new ride, The Haunted House Monster Party, and more.
13 Everyone loves a day out at a National Trust property. Visit Basildon Park and discover the Wild Play Trail with play stations, wild art making and a brand new area for little ones. For those days in the summer when it's simply too hot, pick up a leaflet from Visitor Reception and enjoy a walk in the shade, between 1 July and 31 August.
14 Here comes the pride... Families will love this art trail of individually decorated lion sculptures in Windsor, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. This free, 10-week summer activity encourages children to track down the pride, learn about the royal history of Windsor and enjoy contemporary art. Trail maps will be available from outlets across the area.
15 Ascot has a busy social calendar this summer. Book for Summer Mile Family Raceday on 13 July, which offers a host of attractions to thrill children aged four to 15. The Luna Cinema is also coming to Ascot, showing Bohemian Rhapsody on 18 July, Mary Poppins Returns on 19 July and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again on 20 July.
16 It's great to drift along on the water in the summer. Take in the sights of the Kennet and Avon canal in a horse-drawn barge, or explore for yourself in their self-drive motor barge from the Kennet Horse Boat Company.
17 Windsor Castle is one of the best days out in Berkshire. Pick up a trail to learn more about the castle, or collect a handset and listen to Scorch the Dragon guide you around. On 1 August, join a Conquer the Tower Tour to climb the 200 steps to the top of the castle's Round Tower. From a height of 65.5 metres, you can enjoy breathtaking views. Also watch the colourful pomp and ceremony of the Changing of the Guard.
18 The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, home of the England Polo Team, will be welcoming thousands to the polo ground as they host the 49th International Day on 27 July. It's set to be a wonderful family day out.
19 Have a day out at Woolley Firs in Maidenhead, a 300 year-old arable farm with woodlands, a meadow, ponds and a newly renovated education centre. On 22 June, get to know deciduous tree leaves and summer characteristics, mainly native species with some commonly planted non-natives. On 13 July, identify common hoverflies using a mixture of indoor lectures and outdoor practical field work.
20 West Berkshire Museum, Newbury, tells the story of the area and hosts a variety of events and activities. Visit on 6 June and 4 July for Blaze's Buddies, 26 June for Swifts in Newbury, and Messy Museum Day on 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 August, plus Bats at the Museum on 30 August.
21 Take a look round Shaw House in Newbury, one of the best preserved Elizabethan mansions in England. Watch A Midsummer Nights Dream there on 30 July, or Alice in Wonderland on 12 August. They are hosting a Summer Fair on 21 July and Family Activity Days on 31 July, and 7, 14, 21 and 28 August.
22 Liquid Leisure in Windsor is Europe's Largest Aqua Park and the first official Ninja Warrior UK Aqua Park. Try wakeboarding, floating obstacle courses, boating activities or relax on the beach resort.
23 Check out Clayfield Copse Nature Reserve in Reading, which features a Sculpture Trail. On 6 July, join the Wildflower, Bee and Butterfly Walk around the meadows and open woodland.
24 Take a trip to 14th-century Donnington Castle, near Newbury. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are thought to have stayed here. The large defences built to protect the castle during the English Civil War still survive.
25 You can't beat a day at Windsor Great Park and the Savill Garden. Explore the woodland paths of The Valley Gardens, find the 100-foot Totem Pole at Virginia Water lake, walk from the Savill Garden to Virginia water Visitor Centre and treat yourself to an ice cream, have fun in the play area on Obelisk Lawn and check out the Copper Horse depicting George III on horseback at the Long Walk. Windsor Great Park Environmental Centre hosts events, such as Bugs and Beasties in the Park on 30 July.
26 Visit The Spanish Bit, a riding school and livery yard situated between Windsor and Maidenhead that offers pony rides across the common.
27 At Four Kingdoms, Newbury, you'll find 20 play zones, a petting zoo, laser tag, giant slides and pedal boats.
28 The Nature Discovery Centre in Thatcham is packed full of interactive wildlife and natural history displays. Take a family-friendly walk along the footpaths and enjoy Family Bushcraft on 26 July. On 7 August, it's Birds of Prey Day.
29 Mid-holidays and need a spa break? This is the next best thing. Head to the Thames Lido, Reading, with the kids and enjoy a splash about in the pool and hot tub.
30 National Trust's Cliveden is one of the best days out in the area, offering a maze, play area, water garden, cafe and beautiful woodland walks. There's a summer trail, tree-climbing events and outdoor theatre, including Wind in the Willows on 30 and 31 July, Three Men in a Boat on 3 August, The Tempest on 10 August, and Gangsta Granny on 13, 14 and 15 August.
31 Bray Lake Watersports run summer holiday courses from 8 July. Try windsurfing, dinghy sailing and paddle sports, plus there's Segways and more.
32 Silchester Roman City Walls and Amphitheatre, on the Berkshire/ Hampshire border, are some of the best-preserved Roman town defences in England, and they're well worth a visit.
33 Black Park near Slough offers a fun day out. You can walk or scoot round the lake, stop off at the adventure playground and cafe, head up into the trees with Go Ape!, try Forest Segway and Nets Kingdom, or enjoy a leisurely stroll.
34 Steam Dreams have a number of day trips this summer. Their new steam train service every Tuesday offers vintage train journeys between London's Waterloo Station and Windsor with a Champagne brunch option in elegant Pullman Style Dining carriages. You can also head to Bristol on 20 June, the city of bridges, boats and Brunel, if you hop on at Maidenhead. Or visit Cardiff Castle on 1 August, with its Roman walls, Norman keep and stunning medieval halls, by boarding at Maidenhed or Reading.
35 Bucklebury Farm and Deer Park has something for everyone. Go on a deer safari, visit the animals on the farm trail, jump on the bounce mat, follow the nature trail or do the wild walk, play in the play area or fun bus, visit the duck pond, experience Woody's Leap, whiz round on the go-karts and brave the zipwire and slides before grabbing a bite in Woody's cafe.
36 Berkshire College of Agriculture have three Family Zoo days over the summer, on 29 June, 27 July and 31 August. Spend the morning or afternoon visiting the zoo, which is home to more than 1,500 animals.
37 The Corn Exchange Newbury has a range of indoor and outdoor events over the summer. On 4-5 June, see D-DAY 75, an immersive theatre experience co-produced by The Watermill Theatre, Corn Exchange Newbury and Greenham Trust. On 9 June, there's a fun colour dash.
38 Experience a Windsor Duck Tour this summer − a circular tour that takes in some of the sights of Windsor before splashing into the River Thames.
39 The Museum of English Rural Life, Reading, has galleries, a garden, a shop and cafe. Children will love the shepherd's hut and play-on tractor.
40 Want to be in the water? Horseshoe Lake Activity Centre in Sandhurst offers canoeing, dinghy sailing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, dragon boating and raft building.
41 Odds Farm Park near Maidenhead offers a lovely farm experience, where you can feed the animals, enjoy tractor and trailer rides, sand and water play, go-karts, a large adventure play area, a maze and a giant indoor playbarn.
42 Looking for an adrenaline rush? Try bungee trampolining at Extreme Motion Windsor, or hire a bike and take a ride along the river Thames to explore Windsor Great Park. There's also adventure golf.
43 Newbury Racecourse has a busy summer calendar, with racedays including the Weatherbys Super Sprint Day starring Tom Jones on 20 July and Dubai International Arabian Raceday on 28 July.
44 Is the rain ruining everyone's fun? Head to the Living Rainforest in Newbury and you can still enjoy the great outdoors, watching birds, butterflies and lizards roam in the tropical glasshouses.
45 Ray Mill Island is an island in the River Thames in England at Boulter's Lock, Maidenhead. Cross over the footbridge to explore the play area, feed the ducks, visit the aviary and guinea pig enclosure, walk to the weir and then enjoy an ice cream in the cafe. Across the road you'll find Jenner's cafe, crazy golf and Riverside Gardens park.
46 Wellington Country Park offers play areas, a train, animals, a sandpit, a cafe and lake to explore. They are running themed weekends throughout the summer. On 27- 28 July it's Dinosaur Weekend, on 3-4 August it's Pirate and Mermaid Weekend, on 10-11 August it's Welly's Summer Fun Day, on 17-18 August it's Unicorn, Fairy and Pixie weekend, and on 24-26 August it's Bouncy Castles in the Park.
47 Copas Farm Pick Your Own in Cookham is a lovely place to visit in the summer. Pick strawberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, cherries and more.
48 California Country Park offers walks around the lake, a play area and open-air pool, plus a lovely cafe.
49 Beale Park in Pangbourne is a fun family day out. There's animals, a deer park, a train, play areas, a paddling pool, a sandpit, an adventure trail, gardens and a cafe.
50 Looking to spend the day messing about on the river in Windsor? French Brothers offer short cruises along the Thames and Salters Steamers also offer trips, punts, day-boats and other small craft and tours.
- Things to do in Berkshire this month - We round up some of the best events and things to do across Berkshire this month