Just north of Newbury, in West Berkshire, is a quiet little spot that is not only a beautiful place to spend the day, but perfect for flying kites and steeped in history. Donnington Castle provides views across Lambourn Valley, including Newbury and its racecourse.
Entry to the car park is (currently) free and there is no admission charge to the castle grounds.
The estate was originally owned by the Abberbury family and under Sir Richard Abberbury the castle was built in the 14th century. A plaque in the car park gives a brief description of the castle’s history. A fuller picture, including the part it played in the English Civil War, can be found on the English Heritage Website.
Although entrance to the gatehouse is not allowed, the ruined courtyard and earthworks provide lovely grassy areas for picnics and plenty of opportunity for play around the broken-down walls (with care!) and hidden alcoves.
Combined with a walk through the surrounding downs (see Kiddiwalks in Berkshire for a 3 mile circular walk) Donnington Castle can keep the children happy all day.