Wherever your passion for sport lies, partaking or watching, you’ll find what you’re looking for here in Berkshire.
Think of Berkshire and you’ll probably think of horse racing. Did you know, this county hosts more Group 1 flat horse races than any other county? So why not try your luck at Ascot – especially during Royal Ascot week in June, where you can join the royals in cheering on your favourite in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes?
Nearby Windsor Racecourse regularly holds evening meetings throughout the summer. Because the course is located on a large island, it is the only racecourse in the country where you can arrive in style by catching a boat from Windsor Town centre.
Over in West Berkshire, Newbury Racecourse hosts the famous Hennessy Gold Cup – said to be the biggest handicap race of the season apart from the Grand National. Nearby in Lambourn you’re likely to see many Newbury hopefuls in training out on Lambourn Downs.
If you really want to fit in Berkshire, pack up a picnic and head for a polo game. If you are after something that combines the worlds of fast-paced test match polo with the international worlds of film, fashion, entertainment and society, alongside leaders and captains of industry, head to the newly appointed surroundings of the ‘Home of English Polo’ in Windsor at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club. It is one of the top-tier polo clubs in the UK and it is now the new home of The International Day, this prestigious event is one of the highest profile sporting events in the British summer calendar and will be held on the 27th July this year – be sure to dress to impress.
Well, how about bubbles and blazers at a regatta? The Henley Royal Regatta, which takes place for five days in July, is a rowing event synonymous with the English social season. The rowing course is just over two kilometres long and straddles Buckinghamshire and Berkshire on either side of the Thames. It’s all jolly good fun.
If you prefer to partake in rather than watch the watery sports, there are several excellent places in which to do so. Because the rivers Thames and Kennet run through the county, there are always places to fish, swim, kayak or sail, but for supervised fun try one of the area’s water sports centres. Bray Lake for example offers windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding. It is also open year round for open water swimming. Similar activities can be enjoyed at the Andrew Simpson Water Sports Centre, Reading and Theale Water Sports Club.
Liquid Leisure Water Sports Complex in Datchet offers cable wakeboarding and water skiing – it’s also got an incredibly fun inflatable course to bounce around on, as has Lagoona Park in Reading. Dorney Lake, owned by Eton College, is the place Team GB bagged 12 medals in the 2012 Olympics, and is now a world-class rowing and kayak training and competition facility. The 5km round route makes it ideal for running, walking or cycling round – or even roller skiing!
Skiing, iceskating and football
For skiing of a different type visit Bracknell Ski Slope and Ice Rink where you can ski, ice skate, snowboard or snowtube. You can also skate at Slough Ice Arena. Hockey, both on and off the ice is another major Berkshire sport.
If you enjoy golf, Berkshire has some of England’s greatest courses to tee off from. Some of the best include Sunningdale – the ‘Mona Lisa of heathland golf courses’, Swinley Forest, The Berkshire, East Berkshire, West Berkshire, Donnington Grove, Calcot Park, Sonning and Reading.
Sometimes being a spectator is better than taking part, so don’t miss the chance to see Reading F.C. at The Madejski Stadium in Reading. More of a rugby fan? London Irish also play at the Madejski Stadium.
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