Winter can be cold, wet, and dreary. Instead of enduring the outdoors, I’ve relied on the varied world of Netflix. Cop shows and period romances might be the highlight for some; but for me, it’s all about The Great British Baking Show. Whether you’re a fan of the show, or simply want to get away from London for a day, it’s well worth the trip to visit Berkshire County.
Binging on episode after episode of competition and learning about the origins of the Viennese Whirls, hot cross buns, and Christmas pudding has been strangely addicting. The show is visually appealing not only because of its confections but also because of the countryside setting.
It takes place in Berkshire, a beautiful county just a 45-minute train ride from London. In addition to the show’s famous white tent, Berkshire is where you’ll find Windsor Castle and enjoy the Ascot horse race.
The Great British Baking Show’s famous tent stands within Welford Park, an estate in West Newbury. Prior to hosting the show, Welford Park was already famous on its own merits. The estate was once home to Abingdon Abbey but was converted into a hunting lodge for Henry VIII. During the Great War, it was used as a convalescent home. Presently, it is a private estate owned by the Puxley Family. The grounds and gardens are open to the public during certain times and there’s a tearoom and gift shop available to visitors as well.
Welford is known for its snowdrops, which were supposedly planted by the former monk residents. Guests of the estate can follow a garden pathway near Beech Woods to enjoy the scenery. The walk takes about an hour.
A visit to Berkshire County will likely involve a stop at Windsor, a town that sits by the River Thames. It’s famous for being the home of Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror, the thousand-year old castle has long been the residence of the British Royal Family and one of the area’s most recognizable structures. The castle’s State Apartments and St. George’s Chapel are open to the public year round with the exception of some weeks. Make sure to check the calendars before arriving.
In addition to the castle, visitors to Windsor can take in the scenery of the city by cruising along the Thames. Several boat companies including The French Brothers and Bateaux Windsor offer a variety of tours that’ll suit every budget. Windsor is also a good starting point for exploring the rest of Berkshire County and the surrounding western countryside. Rent a car and visit the popular Stonehenge or spend a day following the footsteps of Jane Austen in Bath.
Visit Berkshire County to witness who will be the next “great baker” or simply take a day off from London. Take in the refreshing countryside air and maybe even run into a member of the Royal Family while visiting Windsor.