South East England – Berkshire

1. Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, inhabited continuously over a period of nearly 1,000 years. Visitors can walk around the State Apartments and for part of the year can also see the Semi State rooms, which are some of the most splendid interiors in the castle. They are furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection including paintings by Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyck and Lawrence, fine tapestries and porcelain, sculpture and armour.

2. Legoland
Legoland is a great day out for families with children aged 3- 12 years. They can take to the road, soar through the skies and sail the seas in complete safety, with over 50 interactive rides, live shows, building workshops, driving schools and attractions, all set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland. Food ranges from hearty English breakfasts, to healthy pasta, freshly made doughnuts, cookies and fruit pots for mid-afternoon snacks and the famous Cinnabon cinnamon rolls for the journey home.

3. Ashdown House
Ashdown House is a beautiful 17th-century building perched on the Berkshire Downs, famously associated with the sister of King Charles I, Elizabeth of Bohemia, known as ‘The Winter Queen.’ The staircase is lined with paintings contemporary to the the house and there are spectacular rooftop views over the Downs. The grounds include an Iron Age hill fort where King Alfred is thought to have battled the Danes, and walkers will enjoy exploring the pathways that criss cross nearby Ashdown Woods.

4. The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre
One half of the Roald Dahl Museum tells the fascinating story of the life of the WWII pilot and famous childrens’ author. The other half focuses on the process of creative writing. The displays include original documents, a replica of Roald Dahl’s writing hut, top tips from today’s leading authors and lots of interactive games. Perfect to spark the imaginations of 6 to 12 year olds. Why not join in one of the fun activities or enjoy a snack in the cafe?

5. The Living Rainforest
The Living Rainforest is a tract of tropical rainforest in a giant glasshouse, with exotic plants, animals and free flying birds. Visitors are immersed in rainforest experiences, and can explore the links between plants, animals, ecosystems, human needs, economies and cultures. Animals include poison arrow frogs, chameleons, dwarf crocodiles, monkeys and giant millipedes! The Living Rainforest aims to delight and challenge, building on the incredible biological and cultural diversity of planet Earth.

6. Basildon Park
Basildon Park is an 18th-century country house set in glorious parkland overlooking the River Thames. It contains a fine collection of paintings, furniture and textiles and featured in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. There are waymarked trails throught the park and gardens including a wildlife area with a pond and picnic tables ideal for families. A variety of events are held throughout the year and facilities include a shop and licensed tea room.

7. Beale Park Wildlife and Animal Centre
Beale Park Wildlife and Animal Centre caters for all ages. Kids will love the Thames river cruise, the miniature steam train and play areas, and adults will enjoy the beautiful gardens. There’s lots of animals to meet, including meerkats, giant rabbits, wallabies, lemurs, racoons, capybara and monkeys. The Peacock restaurant serves hot and cold dishes, vegetarian options and a children’s menu. Space, fresh air, tranquility, fun and adventure, all on the banks of the magical Thames.

8. Reading Film Theatre
Reading Film Theatre is open to everyone, and being based on a university campus, it screens films only during term time. They aim to screen at least one foreign language film (subtitled in English) each week, the rest of the programme being a mix of both mainstream and independent cinema, primarily from the UK and North America. The majority of films are recent releases, but occasionally a classic will be screened if a new print has become available.

9. Mapledurham Watermill
Mapledurham Watermill is the only mill on the Thames still working and producing high-quality stone-ground flour. A mill was here at the time of the Domesday Book and the core of the present building dates from the 15th century. You can also visit Mapledurham House and the estate, where you can enjoy riverside picnic areas with cream teas and scones made from flour ground in the mill. Family events take place in summer, including historical re-enactments and open air pantomime.

10. The Look Out Discovery Centre
Whether you’re planning a family trip, or even a birthday party, this hands-on science exhibition makes learning fun for everyone. There’s over 80 exhibits including the Sound and Communication Zone, where kids can jump up and down on a giant piano keyboard! Meet the Wise Owl and ask him a quaestion. He may even tell you a joke! With its 2,600 acres of Crown Estate woodland, nature trails, children’s adventure play park, coffee shop and gift shop, you’ll be sure to have a great time!

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