Berkshire is one of the Home Counties that surrounds London, and thanks to it being the home of Windsor Castle, has also been given the title of Royal Berkshire.

With the exception of the county town of Reading (estimated population 161,780) and Slough (164, 455), the county is largely pastoral, dotted with some pleasant villages and market towns.

The River Thames runs along the north of the county and has some lovely riverside villages such as Cookham, Pangbourne and Sonning. Needless to say, with their close proximity to London, some of the properties along the river banks command a hefty price-tag.

More down to earth towns, though still pleasant, are Hungerford, Maidenhead and Newbury with its popular racecourse, but Royal Ascot is the place to go if you want to see and be seen.

If you’ve had a good day at the races, you could always spend your winnings at Cliveden, an historic country pile, where you can now spend the night under the same roof where William Waldorf Astor and others slept. On the other hand, if you’re more of a ‘Downstairs’ person you may prefer to take a look around Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey, but it still won’t be a cheap day out though: This is Royal Berkshire after all.