The Royal County of Berkshire, so called because of Windsor Castle, is one of the oldest recorded counties in England. Its boundaries may have changed since 1972, when the Local Government Act saw the county lose ground to Oxfordshire but gain Eton, Reading and Slough yet its historical importance cannot be denied. Reading was important during the Middle Ages because of Reading Abbey, a monastery with close Royal connections. Berkshire also witnessed the birth of democracy in the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 in Runnymede, played a hugely important role in the 1688 Revolution and was transformed by the arrival of the Great Western Railway in the 19th century. A historic hotel stay in the historic county of Berkshire lets you bask in both the past and the present.
History and Heritage in Berkshire
From castles such as Windsor and Highcleve, abbey ruins and museums, the county of Berkshire is a heritage lover's paradise, and when you stay in some of the best Berkshire historic hotels you're completely immersed in the heritage of the county. In 1121, Henry I founded Reading Abbey but the abbey was destroyed in 1538 as part of Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. The borough in front, or Forbury, in which the gardens are now sited, was an area of open land that served as a meeting place between the residents of the town and the abbey. Look for a cross memorialising Henry I. More modern conflicts are also commemorated, and the Maiwand Lion statute, erected in 1886 remembers the loss of 286 soldiers at the battle of Maiwand in Afghanistan. Elsewhere, Windsor Guildhall near Windsor Castle is a 17th century building designed by Sir Christopher Wren and now home to the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum, Ashdown House in Lambourn, Newbury is a Dutch style 17th century house associated with Elizabeth of Bohemia, the Winter Queen and sister of Charles I, while Englefield House in Reading is an Elizabethan mansion loosely based on the traditional Elizabethan E-plan.
Historical Hotels in Berkshire
A historical hotel stay in Berkshire means you'll be able to enjoy a break in a hotel that has its own links to these key locations throughout the county - and some of them are even reported to be haunted! Rooms are available in a range of sizes, accessible rooms are available if reserved in advance, and facilities include laundry and WiFi.