The Top 10 Things Do In Newbury

January 08, 2024

The Top 10 Things Do In Newbury

Newbury is an idyllic market town with a rich history, dating back to the Middle Stone Age. It was officially founded in the late 11th Century following the Norman conquest as a new borough, which is where its name comes from. Modern day Newbury is a perfect mix of history and modernity making it a place with many things to do within it. 

The top 10 things to do in Newbury. Image shows Donnington Castle, Newbury, Berkshire, UK , built in 1386, on a bright summer day.

It is a town filled with beautiful castles, museums, theatres and nature . Within this article we are going to talk you through the top ten things to do in Newbury. Whether you are local to Newbury or visiting for the weekend, you will find so much within this beautiful town to enjoy.

Discover Newbury’s Rich History

First, we are going to delve into some of Newbury’s rich history by discussing some of the beautiful castles and informative museums that can be found in Newbury and the surrounding area. 

Visit Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle is the perfect example of Newbury’s history and modernity meeting. The castle’s history dates back to 749 when an Anglo-Saxon King granted the estate to the Bishops of Winchester but it has swarmed popular culture in the last few years as the home of Downton Abbey. 

It was in 1842 that Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament, transformed Highclere House into the present day Highclere Castle.

There are between 250 and 300 rooms in the Castle which you can explore on a tour of a castle and you will be able to visit main state rooms so familiar from “Downton Abbey”. There are different tours on offer depending on the time of year. Check out their website to find out more.

Explore Donnington Castle

Newbury is a market town with two castles for you to explore! Donnington Castle dates back to the 14th Century and it is another Newbury castle with royal connections as both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are believed to have stayed within it. 

The fabric of the castle was seriously damaged during the English Civil War and in 1646 parliament voted to demolish Donnington Castle, leaving just the three-storey gatehouse standing. To present day, the gatehouse remains to almost its full height and is one of the finest examples of fourteenth century military architecture in England.

Donnington Castle is free to visit and is open during reasonable daylight hours. 

The West Berkshire Museum

West Berkshire Museum is one of the top ten things to do in Newbury for any and all history lovers. It has a permanent collection which tells the history of West Berkshire and the museum building itself is filled with a great deal of history.  The museum is housed in two of Newbury’s best loved historic buildings – the 17th century Cloth Hall and the old Corn Stores in the Wharf.

The museum is free to visit but donations are welcome. The opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm. 

Outdoor Adventures in Newbury

If you are less history buff and more nature lover, then do not fret! There are many things to do in Newbury for you and your fellow outdoor enthusiasts. 

Stroll Along the Kennet and Avon Canal

To walk along all of the Kennet and Avon Canal would take you quite some time and some heavy-duty walking boots as it is 87 miles long, linking London with the Bristol Channel. It passes through some of the UKs most spectacular landscapes, including Wiltshire, the Cotswolds and, of course, Newbury

To walk alongside the canal, you join the towpath on Northbrook Street, next to Costa, where it will take you alongside Victoria Park and onwards towards Thatcham. Or you can head west, joining the towpath near Newbury Lock. This route will take you through picturesque West Mills and onwards towards Kintbury and Hungerford. As you walk along the canal you will see many varieties of wildfowl including swans, ducks, geese, moorhen, and cormorants.

Of course, you could also go on a boat trip along the canal which would truly immerse you in the beautiful natural surroundings. 

Visit the North Wessex Downs

A visit to North Wessex Downs should be in everyone’s top ten things to do in Newbury. An area of outstanding natural beauty it is the perfect place to visit if you enjoy hiking, birdwatching or are a budding photographer. 

Straddling the boundaries of Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, it covers 173 parishes and is the third largest area of outstanding natural beauty in the UK, covering 668 square miles. 

Snelsmore Common Country Park

Snelsmore Common contains a range of habitats including heathland, wet mires and woodland and it is home to many nationally rare bird species including nightjar, woodlark and tree pipit so it is a must visit for any nature lovers and avid bird watchers. 

It is open year round but if you are travelling via car, the car park opens at 8am and is subject to seasonal closing times. 

Culinary Delights and Nightlife in Newbury

If you are a foodie or love a night, there are some top things to do in Newbury for you too. 

Sampling Local Cuisine

There are many choices for eating within Newbury, both traditional British grub and international cuisines. 

There is The Dewpond which is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is steeped in history as it was once two 16th century cottages. Their menu changes nearly every day to take advantage of the seasonal produce so best to take a look at their website to see the type of things they have on offer. 

There is the Lebanese House who offer a huge variety of meat & vegetable dishes, fresh fish and salad. When looking at all that it is on offer, it is probably not surprising to discover that Lebanese cuisine is regarded not only as divinely tasty but healthy as well.

If you are more in the mood for some pub grub with a friendly welcoming atmosphere, you should try The Spotted Dog. With an excellent lunch and evening menu, they also do a cracking Sunday roast so definitely worth a visit. 

If you are more inclined towards a cafe than a pub or restaurant, Weaver’s Coffee Shop will hit the spot. Open Monday-Saturday, 9am to 4pm, you will get delicious soups, cakes and coffee.

Enjoying Newbury’s Nightlife

The list of top ten things to do in Newbury is not short of a pub or two. You are actually spoiled for choice with The Lion, The Woodpecker, The Gun (which is a pub and Indian restaurant!), The Cow and Cask and so many more. 

Check out this Tripadvisor post to find out all the places to visit for a great night out. 

Cultural Attractions and Events

And finally, here are some of the top ten things to do in Newbury for all the art and theatre lovers. 

The Watermill Theatre

The Watermill Theatre began its life as an actual watermill until it was bought by David Gollins in the 1960s. He originally intended to turn it into a cathedral but changed it into the intimate theatre that you can still visit today. 

There are plays, workshops and family fun days throughout the year so perfect place to visit for locals and visitors alike. To see what’s on and book tickets, head to their website

Newbury Artisan Market

The Newbury Artisan Market happens throughout the year and you can expect to find the very best of local designers, creators, makers and bakers and the freshest seasonal food and artisanal produce.

Located on Northbrook Street, the Newbury Artisan Market happens the last Sunday of every month from 10am to 4pm. 


There are so many things to do in Newbury that this beautiful market town is the ideal place to visit or live for a variety of people. To history buffs, nature lovers, night owls who want to dance the night away, foodies and art lovers, everyone will find something to enjoy in Newbury. 

We hope you enjoy exploring this wonderful town and enjoy all its wonderfully diverse attractions. 

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