While last year was all about exploring the world with our son, this year has very much been about local adventures in and around where we live in Wokingham, Berkshire. Although I grew up here, as a new mum who was living in Australia until 2018, I’d be the last person to ask about days out with kids in Berkshire. Until now.
Current circumstances have meant I’ve had lots of time to plan, research and road-test the best things to do with kids near me. I’ve focused on places like parks, farms and gardens where children can play outdoors and there’s some catering and toilet facilities. (Offer me a fresh latte and a place to wee and I’m in!)
So, if you’d like to plan some fun family days out in Berkshire, here are our favourite places that are currently open and operating with social distancing.
If you’ve been to all these places already, scroll down for some more ideas of things to do with kids in and around the county.
6 Best Days Out With Kids In Berkshire
Wellington Country Park
I love this country park for the pure variety of activities on offer. Even though some activities will have to remain closed due to Government advice, there’s enough to keep children of all ages busy, and lots of open spaces to set up a socially distant picnic.
Highlights include the Animal Farm (operating a one-way system), Miniature Railway, Jumping Pillow, Mini Golf, Adventure Play and 30 roaring dinosaurs!
When can I go? Open to the public from Thursday 9th July by pre-booking only.
Bucklebury Farm and Deer Park
Hop on the back of a tractor to learn about the different families of deer who live at Bucklebury Farm and Deer Park.
Set on a 77-acre farm in the beautiful Pang Valley, the farmyard is home to a small herd of rare breed Berkshire pigs, pygmy and Anglo-Nubian goats, ponies, donkeys and alpaca, and the deer park has 4 different deer breeds. (No, I didn’t know there were that many either!)
The outdoor play options include a tractor-filled adventure playground and jumping pillow. The stylish Honesty Café does lovely coffees and there’s plenty of picnic benches to enjoy a big BYO spread.
When can I go? Open daily from 09:30 – 17:00. No need to pre-book. Operating on first-come, first-serve basis.
California Country Park
Just down the road from where we live, California Country Park became a regular haunt for us during lockdown. Situated around a lake that was filled with ducks and framed by flowers this spring, California Country Park is a great place for a nice buggy-friendly walk with babies or toddlers, where you can grab a tasty ice cream or takeaway meal from Jacksons Cafe afterwards.
There’s also a playground and a paddling pool (£2.50 entry) that will be wonderful on warmer days if it’s able to reopen. If the lake area gets busy (it’s popular for fishing) there’s a bridle path out the back of the lake that runs parallel to fields. Miles enjoys spotting tractors and cows here.
When can I go? The park is open daily from 8am to 6pm. Jacksons Café opens Tuesday to Sunday.
Looking to getaway? Check out these 8 staycation ideas for young families
The Savill Garden & Virginia Water
The Savill Garden is the type of place I might not have bothered visiting before Covid-19 but was a wonderful place to walk around as lockdown started lifting over the last few weeks. We had whole sections of these immaculate colourful gardens to ourselves, including the Rose Garden where our toddler loved marching up and down the viewing platform.
The gorgeous Savill Garden Gift Shop is open to grab some quintessential British homewares and a range of plants and garden accessories from the Royal Gardens.
While the restaurant has not reopened yet, you can use the bathroom facilities and find takeaway food options at The Potting Shed and the Benugo truck on Obelisk Lawn.
When can I go? Open daily from 9am to 6pm. You’ll need to pre-book tickets for the Savill Garden here.
Jake’s Playbarn and Mini Farm
While the softplay at Jake’s Playbarn and Mini Farm remains closed, you can now visit the mini farm and outdoor play areas by pre-booking a morning or afternoon session.
We visited on the 8th July (the pic on the left was taken during a winter visit!) and I was really impressed with the set up. Lots of sinks and sanitiser on hand, a one-way system around the petting farm and maximum numbers permitted in each play section. Miles had a blast behind the wheel of a wooden JCB and I enjoyed grabbing a cuppa with another mum at the takeaway cafe.
When can I go? Open now for morning sessions from 9.30 to 1.00 and afternoon from 2.00 to 5.30. Book your tickets here.
Dinton Pastures Country Park
Dinton is a beautiful country park with excellent wooden play park, lovely café and large lake with watersports and holiday activities that we used to visit regularly before lockdown. We haven’t been recently as I read reports of it getting quite busy, but hopefully now more places are open it will be less congested.
The play park, toilets and café (takeaway only) are now reopened. Activities at the activity centre need to be pre-booked.
When can I go? Open daily. More information here.
More ideas for things to do with kids in Berkshire:
Done all of the above? Here are a few more great things to do with kids in Berkshire that we plan to work our way through.
Please click the links to check up to date opening details and availability. Not all of the below are accepting visitors just yet so you might want to just bookmark them for the future.
- The Look Out
- Odds Farm Park
- Roald Dahl Museum
- The Living Rainforest
- Clivedon House Gardens – Reopened. Requires booking
- Highclere Castle – aka Downtown Abbey. Reopening on 12th July.
- Windsor Castle – Sections reopening from 23rd July
- Beale Wildlife Park & Gardens – Open on a first come, first served basis
- Black Park
- Coral Reef
- Active Tots
Great days out with kids from Berkshire
And some days out that are a little further afield..
Mayfield Lavender Farm – Did you know there is a 25-acre lavender farm just outside Croydon? Open for walks, fun photo opportunities and a delicious lunch at the farm café overlooking the fields, Mayfield Lavender Farm is a fun day out from Berkshire. Open now until the end of August, the lavender is expected to be in full bloom from July. The owners recommend visiting on a weekday when they usually have less visitors. Find more information here.
West Wittering Beach – Our first day out after lockdown eased was to the sublime fine sands of West Wittering Beach for a blustery walk by the pastel-coloured beach huts. They operate a pre-booking parking system, which means there is a fixed number of visitors per day. Find more information on how to book and what to expect from your visit in my guide to visiting West Wittering Beach.
And finally, please remember to #respectprotectenjoy while getting out and about in the local area. Thank you!
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