All journey times are approximate and subject to variation.
Romantic things to do in Ascot
There will always be something romantic about a trip to the countryside, particularly somewhere as picturesque as Berkshire. Away from the distractions of the city, Ascot offers endless opportunities for couples to indulge in traditionally amorous outings, such as horse-drawn carriage rides and long, lazy lunches. However, for those looking for more unconventional ways to spend a romantic weekend away, there’s plenty of scope to be creative at Coworth Park with this two-day itinerary.
The Valley Gardens
Spread over 250 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and wild woodland, The Valley Gardens can be found on the quiet shores of Virginia Water. Visit in spring for the azaleas, while in summer couples can wander among the blue and white hydrangeas.
The Cow Pond is located on the northeast edge of the park, a five-minute walk along Rhododendron Drive from The Savill Building.
The Cow Pond is an ornamental lake laced with thousands of water lilies. Take a stroll around the water’s edge and across the Baroque-style oak footbridge into the Chapel Wood, an enchanting space rich with colourful maples and sweet-scented witch hazels.
Walk back to the car park adjacent to The Savill Building and drive for 20 minutes to The Thatched Tavern for lunch.
The Thatched Tavern
Often called Ascot’s hidden gem, this 400-year-old tavern is the perfect place to stop and linger over lunch. The restaurant offers a seasonal selection of British classics executed with style, as well as an extensive drinks list, including wine, Champagne and real ales. In summer, though, a jug of Pimm’s in the garden is a must.
From the tavern, take a 35-minute drive to Henley-On-Thames for your hot air balloon flight.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
What better way to see the Royal County of Berkshire then in a hot air balloon armed with a glass of Champagne and surrounded by sublime views of the quaint English countryside. Virgin offer an excellent selection of balloon flights over Henley-On-Thames, a beautiful town on the edge of the River Thames known for its historic Royal Regatta. Choose an evening flight for spectacular sunset views.
Once back on solid ground, hop in the car for the half-hour journey to The Royal Oak, Paley Street for dinner.
The Royal Oak, Paley Street
This 17th century pub in Maidenhead is a stylish Michelin star restaurant serving British food alongside a comprehensive wine list. Owned by famous British chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson, the traditional pub interior of low-beamed ceilings and worn wooden floors sets the scene for a long, intimate dinner.
The hotel is then a 20-minute drive from The Royal Oak.
Claremont Landscape Garden
An 18th century garden now owned by the National Trust, Claremont Landscape Garden is the ideal setting for a romantic stroll. Once the preserve of royalty and nobility, this beautifully manicured space – designed over the years by the likes of Sir John Vanbrugh and Charles Bridgeman – is filled with hidden paths, magical grottos and stunning views.
Then, drive for 30 minutes to Petersham Nurseries, perched on the edge of Richmond Park.
Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is a self-described refuge from the city, where horticultural inspiration meets seasonal, locally sourced food. There are two lovely restaurants next to the garden: a café serving slow Italian-inspired dishes filled with colourful plants and antique furniture, and a rustic teahouse that specialises in delightfully indulgent cakes.
After lunch, make your way to Kew Gardens, just 20 minutes away by car.
From immaculate gardens to iconic buildings and glasshouses, Kew Gardens in bloom is a sight to behold. The perfect place to while away an afternoon, couples can wander around the Japanese Gateway, visit the Henry Moore sculpture, take to the trees on the Treetop Walkway, and pause to smell the roses at the Victorian Palm House and Rose Garden.
Then, take a 30-minute drive to Bray Marina, where the Larus, a traditional Dutch Super Kaagkruiser, will cast off for your afternoon on the Thames.
Boating on the Thames
On a pleasant summer’s day, there’s no better or more relaxing way to take in the charming villages and ancient monuments of the area than by boat. Most boat hires, like the Larus, come with their own skipper who will take care of the navigation, leaving you free to sit back and enjoy the Thames-side scenery.
The skipper of the Larus will then sail you up to The Waterside Inn in time for your dinner reservation.
The Waterside Inn
Located in the picturesque village of Bray is the critically acclaimed Waterside Inn. The restaurant on the water’s edge is one of the best in the country, and has earned three Michelin stars. Led by world renowned Head Chef Alain Roux, the seasonal menus here are a homage to French cuisine.
At the end of the evening, a 20-minute drive will bring you back to the hotel.