The best 2023 events to fill your Berkshire break
Between its magnificent countryside, historic sites and beautiful market towns, there are plenty of reasons to visit Berkshire any day of the year. But if you want to make your visit even more special, it’s worth keeping an eye on the extensive calendar of events to take place in the county this year
From horse racing and dog shows to food festivals and family crafting, here are our picks for some of the best upcoming 2023 events in Berkshire.
Events and crafts at Windsor Castle
One of Berkshire’s most famous landmarks is of course the iconic residence at Windsor Castle. And while the castle and its grounds are magical to visit any day of the year, Windsor Castle also hosts some of the more unique events in Berkshire, with tours, crafting and activity sessions and expert-led learning days.
One of those learning days takes place on 7th and 8th March, with a Dolls’ House Embroidery Class run by the Royal School of Needlework. Inspired by the intricate work Queen Mary’s famous dolls’ house, this adult-only class costs £200 per person and is a rare chance to learn from some of the country’s best embroiderers.
For more family-friendly events, Windsor Castle regularly runs crafting and activity days during school holidays, which are included in the cost of your ticket. Crowns and Coronations runs from 1st–6th April as part of the preparations for King Charles III’s coronation. In the summer half term between 27th May and 4th June, George and the Naughty Dragons offers crafting opportunities and activity trails in the Castle grounds.
In addition to limited events, Windsor Castle also offers private guided group tours every Monday, Thursday and Friday. Options include a full castle tour at £70 per person, and tours focused on Queen Mary’s dolls’ house or Queen Elizabeth II’s life at Windsor at £35.50 each for adults, with concessions for children, young people and disabled visitors.
On Donnington Grove’s doorstep is the market town of Newbury. As well as its historic buildings and Kennet Valley surroundings, the town is home to some of the most thrilling sporting events in Berkshire, thanks to Newbury Racecourse.
The track hosts horse racing meets all year round, with jumps events in the winter months and flats from April to October. The two largest meets in Newbury’s calendar are the Lockinge Stakes – named for the nearby parish of Lockinge – and the Coral Gold Cup. In 2023 the Lockinge Stakes is held on 19th–20th May, and the Coral Gold Cup takes place on 1st–2nd December.
Horse racing meets aren’t all Newbury has to offer. The nearby Newbury Showground also hosts some of the most varied hobbyist events in Berkshire.
On 10th April, the Spring Vehicle Meet sees classic American, European and British cars and bikes pack out the showground. Or if more modern show cars are your thing, check out Stance Fever on 20th August.
For animal lovers, All About Dogs takes place on the 15th and 16th of April, while the Southern Counties Canine Association’s Championship Dog Show is on from 1st–4th June.
On 22nd July the showground hosts the Newbury Summer Fest. With everything from monster truck and aerobatic flying displays to live music and fireworks, this is one of the best and biggest family events in Berkshire.
Reading food festivals
If you’re a foodie, Berkshire – and Reading in particular – has you covered. As well as an array of top class restaurants, bars and bakeries. Reading plays host to a range of food and drink festivals all year round.
On April 22nd, the annual Vegan Fiesta takes place in Reading’s Forbury Gardens. Entry to this family-friendly day out is completely free, and non-vegans are, of course, just as welcome to come and try the delicious food.
As well as hot street food stalls, Reading’s Vegan Fiesta also boasts ethical artisan traders, live music, and activities to keep children entertained all day long. Last year’s event included free yoga sessions, a baking competition, biscuit decorating workshops and upcycled crafting.
On 29th July, gin enthusiasts can find the Reading Gin Festival at the University of Reading’s Great Hall. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a University of Reading student to go – anyone over the age of 18 is welcome, and tickets cost £16.75 for either afternoon or evening entry.
Then on 16th September, the team behind the Vegan Fiesta returned with the Reading Vegan Festival. Like April’s event, this is also free to enter and promises to be one of the most vibrant vegan and ethical food events in Berkshire.
Whether you’re heading to Berkshire to see the best in show at Newbury, tuck into a local food festival or explore the county’s rich and illustrious history, you need a place to rest your head that’s in the middle of it all.
At Donnington Grove, you can find just that. When you’re not out exploring the many events in Berkshire, spend the day exploring the 500 acres of magnificent countryside on the Donnington estate.
Take in the sun glinting on the River Lambourn as it flows through the grounds. Keep an eye out for the best of Berkshire wildlife that calls Donnington home. Or enjoy a day of country sport, with clay pigeon shooting and Donnington’s own 18-hole championship golf course.