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Pocket Guide: Berkshire

Although just 40 minutes from London by car, Berkshire is a very green county, where it's easy to forget the stresses and strains of daily life. Bisected by the M4 and bordered by the M3 and the M40, it's easy to get to and offers quick access to Britain's capital. You'll also find it well served by rail links and, with Heathrow Airport just a short drive away, Berkshire is a convenient destination wherever you're travelling from. When it comes to hotels, Berkshire has them in abundance, from business stop-overs and family hotels to sprawling country mansions and family-run B&Bs.

A County with Royal Connections: Hotels in Berkshire

Berkshire is an historic county and continues its association with royalty. Windsor Castle is the world's largest royal residence and acts as a second home to Queen Elizabeth II. It has been the family home to royals for almost 1,000 years, including King Henry I and Queen Victoria. The Castle is set in the heart of bustling Windsor, which boasts excellent restaurants and two main shopping areas, one of which is a covered market hosted in what was once a private royal train station! Windsor is home to a number of hotels, perhaps the most famous of which is Oakley Court Hotel. If parts of the Oakley Court Hotel seem familiar, it may be because it has been used as a film location many times over. Its elegant staircase acted as the interior for the St. Trinian's films, while the exterior was used to create the imposing silhouette of Dracula's castle in the Hammer movies. Look carefully and you'll see that the film company left one or two gargoyles dotted around the roof!

Football, Festivals and Family Hotels in Berkshire

While Berkshire might be an open and tranquil county, there's plenty going on. In addition to being home to its own football club, Reading is also the site of the world-famous Reading Festival, which sees thousands of music fans coming to the area to catch some of the biggest names in rock. As a result, you'll find plenty of hotels in and around the city, such as the Ibis Reading Centre and the De Veres Venues Wokefield Park. In addition to its cosmopolitan shopping centre, Reading is also home to variety of historic attractions, including Reading Abbey, the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology and the beautiful Basildon Park.

However, it's not just cities and towns that will keep you busy in Berkshire. You'll find some beautiful villages tucked away in the Berkshire Downs and some stunning, riverside towns running along the Thames, such as Henley-on-Thames and Ascot Hotels. With these areas being popular places to visit, there's no shortage of Berkshire hotels nearby, from the De Veres Venues Sunningdale Park to the Holiday Inn Maidenhead Windsor. Ascot is perhaps most famous for its racecourse, while Henley offers more peaceful attractions, such as the old-school grandeur of Stonor Park and the delicate beauty of Temple Island.

Berkshire is a county of surprises, offering chocolate-box charm and modern amenities, side by side. With a wide selection of Berkshire hotels to choose from, it's a beautiful place to visit, whether you're travelling on business or for pleasure.

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