Give your seal of approval to the royal county
British breaks - Berkshire
Sunday 20 September 2009
Henry VIII is the subject of a major exhibition at Windsor Castle to mark the 500th anniversary of his ascension to the throne. Art works and manuscripts from the Royal Collection and the castle's St George's Chapel will be on display until next April.
Catch the end of the Royal County of Berkshire Show ( newburyshow.co.uk ) at Newbury Showground today. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the show's entertainments include livestock displays and a mass rally of Morgan sports cars.
The Local Flavour Festival ( local-flavours.net ) champions the best locally produced food and drink until 30 September with events across the county, including farm, orchard and vineyard tours, farmers' markets, celebrity chefs, and tours of cheese-makers and breweries.
The Windsor Festival ( windsorfestival.com ) turns 40 this year. Starting today and running through till 4 October, its varied programme includes concerts by international and local performers, literary talks and heritage walks at venues including Windsor Castle itself, the Royal Chapel, and Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Sir Michael Parkinson and Joss Ackland are among this year's line-up.
And, further ahead, Ascot Racecourse is the venue for Firework Family Day on 31 October ( ascot.co.uk ), which also takes in the first meeting of the new jump-racing season.
See the sights
You can't visit Berkshire without making time for messing about on the river. To take to the Thames on a passenger vessel, motor launch, or even in a rowing boat, contact Hobbs of Henley ( hobbs-of-henley.com ). Or stay on dry land and step out on the Thames Path ( nationaltrail.co.uk/ThamesPath ). The Berkshire stretch of the 184-mile trail offers a variety of routes from afternoon walks to week-long hikes.
Check out the county's celebrity links. At Cookham, home of the British artist Stanley Spencer ( stanleyspencer.org.uk ), discover the village that inspired his work. Explore nearby Cliveden House, parts of which are open to the public, location of a key moment in the infamous Profumo scandal of the 1960s. And at Basildon Park ( nationaltrust.org.uk ), see the elegant 18th-century Palladian mansion that featured in the 2005 film Pride & Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.
For more ideas and accommodation details, go to visitsoutheastengland.com
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