Berkshire is filled with beautiful villages that make for an enjoyable holiday, whether you're looking for something with high-end offerings or something more quaint and charming. You can find an ideal village destination for your holiday when you search along the banks of the River Thames, which is home to numerous English villages and market towns. These villages offer access to the water for fishing, kayaking or a simple stroll along the banks, as well as varied themed and historic attractions. Take a look at the 10 most picturesque villages in Berkshire to plan your trip.

    1

    Sonning

    Find charm alongside the River Thames

    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • History

    Sonning is a small village located on the Thames where you'll find stately homes and plenty of attractions like performing arts theatres and restaurants. In fact, many celebrities call this village home, which is why much of the housing is extravagant. When you visit Sonning, be sure to stop by the Sonning theatre, where you can see live performances and concerts, or stop in a local pub or restaurant for authentic English cuisine and a pint. One of the most popular is the Mill, an upscale restaurant and pub with treats like traditional home-cooked roast dinners on Sundays.

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    photo by Great House (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Hurley

    Enjoy a relaxing rural town

    • Adventure
    • History

    Hurley is a mostly rural and agricultural town that has a peaceful atmosphere that you'll notice the second you arrive, yet you can still find fun adventures. You can visit the Hurley Priory to see stunning examples of Norman architecture, specifically with the windows and doorways. You'll find many other historic homes and buildings, some of which date back over 1,000 years. For travellers more interested in outdoor adventures, however, Hurley Lock is one of the best places in the country for freestyle kayaking. Boating of all kinds is popular here, so you can take to the water and enjoy fishing or a quiet cruise on the waterways.

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    3

    Bucklebury

    Immerse yourself in Norman history

    • History

    Bucklebury is a quaint village officially dating back to the 10th century with well-preserved remnants of the past you can see on tours. While its 10th-century existence is clearly recorded, the remnants of a Bronze Age fort and Roman occupation have been found in the area, suggesting a much older history. If you're looking to explore its history, you can visit the Church of England parish church, St Mary the Virgin, in the centre of town. The 11th-century church is notable for its period Norman doorway and iconic medieval muniments chest.

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    photo by Tony Austin (CC BY 2.0) modified

    4

    Streatley

    Venture through the countryside

    • Adventure

    Streatley is a calm and relaxing village in the English countryside packed full of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Located by the border to Oxfordshire, Streatley has plenty of quaint homes and impressive manors, some of which have public gardens you can visit for a lovely stroll. Alternatively, you can go for a round of golf or enjoy a bit of cycling throughout the numerous trails in the tranquil landscape. Given that the village is located on the Thames, you can enjoy some boating and fishing for more adventure.

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    photo by Timo Newton-Syms (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    5

    Kintbury

    Enjoy tranquility on the water

    • Adventure

    Kintbury is a lovely town settled on the Kennet & Avon Canal that gives you opportunities to explore these tranquil waters for a relaxing holiday. The canal is welcoming and popular with those looking to venture out in a canoe or kayak to take in the scenery from a different vantage point. You don't have to actually enter the water, however, as you'll also find several places perfect for a spot of fishing on the banks. Going for a stroll or taking your dog for a walk on the well-maintained paths alongside the canal can be rewarding as well.

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    photo by TudorTulok (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Waltham St Lawrence

    Hear the famous Silver Band

    • Nightlife
    • History

    Waltham St Lawrence is a quaint and historical village in East Berkshire most widely known for the Silver Band, a local brass music group. When you visit this town, you can check out a performance of the Silver Band in person, as its members continue on a musical tradition that has lasted for more than a century. If you're interested in history, Waltham St Lawrence offers the local St Lawrence church, which is a grade II-listed building that still has traces of Norman architecture, despite being rebuilt in the 13th century.

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    photo by Alan Hunt (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Pangbourne

    Find inspiration in this riverside village

    • Food
    • Adventure

    Pangbourne is a charming village on the River Thames that offers a tranquil place for a holiday near the water and beautiful natural surroundings. This picturesque village not only has stunning natural sights and an abundance of wildlife, but you'll also find friendly pubs and shops closer to the village centre. The Herd Restaurant is a popular spot, thanks to its supreme mastery of steaks. When you're here, you can enjoy an afternoon of fishing or a lovely walk by the riverbank when you're not shopping or enjoying the local cuisine.

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    8

    Winkfield Row

    Immerse yourself in the opulence of Winkfield Row

    • Luxury

    Winkfield Row is an affluent town with a number of fun things to do, such as touring massive historic homes and spending time strolling quaint village streets. When you visit, you can see the posh houses and visit the historical Chapel of St Mary and St John, a 19th-century church designed in a dramatic Gothic Revival style. If you prefer outdoor activities, you'll find the relaxing Swinley Park that's good for a stroll in nature. Several restaurants are in or near the park, and many of the top eateries tend to specialise in delectable sweets.

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    photo by Colin Smith (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    9

    Littlewick Green

    Find peace among the green

    • Nightlife
    • Adventure

    Littlewick Green is a lovely village that's settled around an expansive green space that makes it easy for travellers to relax and enjoy the surrounding nature. When you visit this village, you'll find endless charm with quaint homes and historic landmarks, such as the famous Redroofs theatre school. The school frequently puts on performances, so you can see a play from the institution that trained greats like Ivor Novello. Of course, you'll also find a friendly pub in town that overlooks the green for beautiful, scenic views on your night out.

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    photo by Andrew Smith (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    10

    Bray

    Visit a fine-dining paradise

    • Food

    Bray is a high-end village located along the River Thames that's primarily known for being home to 2 Michelin-starred restaurants. Each of these restaurants has earned the full 3 Michelin stars, ensuring a dining experience to remember on your trip. At The Fat Duck, you'll find a combination of British and French cuisine elevated to new heights with local produce and creative recipes. The Waterside Inn specialises in upscale French cuisine with an emphasis on quality ingredients and preparation. Because of its standards, the Waterside Inn is the first restaurant outside of France to maintain its 3-star designation for over 25 years.

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    photo by Nancy (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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