As a town which is just a stone's throw from London, you might expect Maidenhead to be a busy place to visit. But this couldn't be further from the truth - if you're looking to visit a town where you can escape the hustle and bustle of life in the capital, then Maidenhead is ideal. Sitting on the banks of the Thames, the town is tranquil and relaxing, but you'll still find a nice variety of things to see and do. We wanted to round up a list of the best things to see and do in the town for anyone planning to visit in 2023, let's get into it:
Where is Maidenhead?
The town is in the county of Berkshire. It's only about 30 miles west of London, making it a popular weekend destination for city folks. Maidenhead sits right on the banks of the River Thames. The town sits just south of the Buckinghamshire border.
What is there to see and do during your time in Maidenhead?
You'll find quite a bit to see and do during your visit to Maidenhead, and even more so if you're willing to travel a little outwith the town. Here are our top recommendations:
Boulter's Lock & Ray Mill Island
The Sounding Arch
Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this interesting construction is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in architecture and design. It's a Railway Bridge which is still used today but was originally built in the early 19th century. The construction was controversial at first because many people believed that the low-rise arches of the structure weren't stable enough to support trains crossing, so initially the support for the arches was left in place. However, a storm in 1839 destroyed the support, but the arches stayed up. This essentially vindicated Brunel's original design. You can walk right under this structure to have a proper look, and we think it's well worth your time.
Based within Windsor Forest College, BCA Zoo is small but well worth a visit if you're looking to get up close and personal with some exotic animals. You have to prebook your visit, but this allows you to get a proper tour of the zoo and book encounters with the animals. The Meerkat Encounter is loads of fun, and the Reptile House is great too. The guides who take the tours are all very knowledgeable and really enthusiastic, which adds to the experience immensely. It's also nice to know that a visit to this zoo supports the excellent research work taking place at the zoo. Learn more and book your visit here - zoo.bca.ac.uk
This is a great park for families to visit, with more than 130 acres of lovely green space to explore. Part of the park is a nature reserve, so you'll also likely get the chance to spot some wildlife if you keep your eyes peeled. The play area in the park is really impressive, with a really interesting array of equipment including a climbing wall which will keep kids entertained for hours. There's a small cafe here too if you fancy grabbing a coffee. Learn more here - rbwm.gov.uk
Cliveden House and Gardens
This stunning stately home is a joy to visit. Managed by the National Trust, the estate is immaculately well-maintained and lovely to wander around. The house was built in the 19th century and is Grade I listed. Access is limited to the house currently as it is being used as a hotel, but there are still parts you can explore to get a sense of how grand it is. But we have to say that it's the gardens which are really worth your time - not only are they beautiful in their own right, but the surrounding views are incredible. There is also 300 acres of woodlands on the estate which can be explored. We highly recommend you check this estate out, learn more and plan your visit here - nationaltrust.org.uk
Maidenhead Heritage Centre
If you're looking to get a great insight into the history of the town, then Maidenhead Heritage Centre is a great place to visit. You'll learn about the local industries which were important for the town such as brickmaking and brewing, as well as the history of the river Thames. Learn more and plan your visit here - maidenheadheritage.org.uk
Explore Maidenhead and Cookham Commons
This 800-acre area of heathland and woodland is wonderful to visit, particularly if you're a fan of wildlife. Here you can expect to spot a wide variety of birds, deer, and even reptiles. If you like walking then this is also an excellent area for that, but you can also cycle or simply bring a picnic with you and enjoy a sit down. Like all National Trust owned properties, this is expertly managed and very well maintained all year round. Learn more and plan your visit here - nationaltrust.org.uk
Explore the Thames and the Thames Path
We think that the best way to experience the Thames is by jumping on a boat trip, so we'd highly recommend you do so. There are a number of Thames boat trip companies operating in Maidenhead, with popular options such as French Brothers at the Maidenhead Promenade.
If you don't have your sea legs then following part of the Thames Path is a great alternative - we don't imagine you'll want to follow the entirety of this 300km walking route, but the route between Maidenhead and Windsor is only 7 miles long and a great way to see some really nice parts of the Thames. Learn more here - nationaltrail.co.uk
How to get to Maidenhead?
For those planning to visit the town, Maidenhead is easily accessible by road and rail. By car, the town is located just off the M4 motorway, which connects London to South Wales. By train, Maidenhead is on the mainline between London Paddington and Reading, with trains running regularly throughout the day.