Fun Outdoor Activities in Berkshire

Did you know the average person in the UK spends about 6 hours a day looking at a screen? Whether it's at work, binge-watching your favourite Netflix show, scrolling through Twitter, swiping on a dating app or even booking your next food delivery slot - the hours really do add up. Fortunately, June officially marks National Great Outdoors Month. There’s no better time to step away from the screen, lather on the Factor 50 and soak up some much-needed vitamin D.

With the warmer weather at our fingertips, why not pay a visit to the charming province of Berkshire, home to some of the most impressive countryside in England, an array of idyllic market towns and a plethora of things to do. To get you feeling inspired, here are a few outdoor activities in Berkshire we can guarantee you’ll enjoy. 

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Beale Wildlife Park

Open seven days a week, Beale Wildlife Park is one of Berkshire’s best outdoor destinations for those looking to get face-to-face with nature. Situated against the River Thames, the park is home to over 160 species from around the world, from the West African Dwarf Crocodile and the Carpathian Lynx, all the way to the lovable Pygmy goat. 

Ideal for families and animal lovers of all ages, the park spans 350 acres of stunning wildlife, including a variety of beautifully maintained gardens and lakes waiting to be discovered. Take a ride on the train through the grounds and get up close and personal with the park’s furry (and scaly) residents. Or pay a visit to the Cherry Tree Pond to feed the ducks and savour the scenery. 

Also on site is the Peacock Restaurant where you can stop to recharge over a bite to eat before paying a visit to the reptile house. 

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Swinley Forest

High on the list of outdoor activities in Berkshire is none other than a trip to Swinley Forest. Discover over 3000 acres of exquisite woodland stretching from Bracknell to Crowthorne. 

Swinley Forest is the ideal destination for fans of adventure or those who aren’t afraid of heights. Spend an afternoon zip-lining, climbing and gliding through the forest with one of Go Ape’s challenging Treetop Adventures. Or stay close to the ground and test your limits with an off-road cycling session with one of the all-weather mountain bike trails.

The forest offers three trails for various skill-levels, meaning even your little ones can get involved in the action. For a great stress-relieving activity, have a go at axe throwing and try to collect as many points as possible by hitting the target. It’s harder than it looks! 

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Hot Air Ballooning in Berkshire

The sky’s the limit when it comes to outdoor activities in Berkshire. Quite literally. Appreciate unrestricted birds-eye views of the Royal County over a hot air balloon ride, taking off in the historic market town of Newbury. What better way to see Berkshire’s best landmarks than from 2000 feet above? Before you board, you’ll help inflate the balloon with your fellow passengers and listen to a briefing from your friendly expert pilot before lifting off into the air. 

Drift over miles of rolling hills, open pastures and bustling towns, keeping an eye out for the River Kennet, Newbury Racecourse and, if you’re lucky, Windsor Castle. Enjoy a glass of prosecco when you land and toast to being back on the ground. 

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Snelsmore Common Country Park

Nothing beats an afternoon spent outdoors like a good old-fashioned walk. Luckily, Berkshire is home to some of the most attractive parks, heathland and trails in the South East. Lace up your walking boots and pay a visit to Snelsmore Common Country Park, located 2.5 miles from Newbury town centre. 

Snelsmore is perfect for a gentle afternoon stroll or family day out. After paying a small donation fee upon entry, forage into the woods via one of the many signposted footpaths and enter a realm of total tranquillity, minus the occasional bird song.

The wildlife comes alive during the summer; encounter ponies, dragonflies and bluebells as you work your way through the woodland. There are plenty of shaded areas to settle down, enjoy a picnic and totally relax. We recommend following the footpath to Donnington Castle, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views across the county.  

        

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Boating in Berkshire

During the Industrial Revolution, horses were used to tow boats along the canal as it allowed them to pull up to 50 times more cargo than normal. Thanks to the invention of engines, this way of operating boats became less common, but you can still find the occasional horse-drawn boat cruising down the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The Kennet Horse Boat Company offers public horse-boating trips for those wanting a taste of the Berkshire countryside via the historic waterway. Step back in time, relax and enjoy passing through Kintbury, Hungerford and Newbury over a selection of tea, cake and sandwiches.

Or, if you fancy playing skipper for the day, experience total freedom by operating your very own self-drive hire boat. The narrowboat seats up to 8 people and can be moored up anywhere along the canal for you to hop off and explore. Bring your own food, sit back and relish in your surroundings. There’s even a toilet on board, meaning you’re good to go for the whole day. 

 

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Donnington Grove

Set in 500 acres of magnificent countryside on the outskirts of Newbury, Donnington Grove is the ideal place to visit when looking to enjoy some outdoor activities in Berkshire. Enjoy a peaceful walk through the estate and discover the gorgeous wildlife that resides on the property, from the ducks and swans that frequent the lake to the magnificent gardens bursting with colour.  

The River Lambourn flows through the grounds of Donnington, spanning half a mile of crystal clear waters that eventually joins with the River Kennet. During the summer months, the chalk stream is the prime spot to cast a fly and spend a few peaceful hours fishing for trout and grayling. If you’re new to fly-fishing, Donnington’s resident guide John is often on hand to teach you the ropes. 

Also located at Donnington Grove is an 18-hole championship golf course and driving range. Whether you want to polish up your swing or rally up your friends for a game, the golf club is open 7 days a week to visitors and members. No ifs, ands or putts. If that wasn’t enough, have a go at clay pigeon shooting and experience the ultimate taste of countryside entertainment.