This market town and borough lies directly south-east of Reading, and has a few historic streets in its town centre ringed by modern developments and residential suburbs.
Now, Wokingham isn’t exactly a touristy place, but there are lots of amenities for families, while the local Berkshire countryside abounds in green space at country parks and nature reserves.
Kids can play and learn at an interactive science centre, and there’s a great indoor play park for the littlest visitors.
For grown-ups, the Nirvana Spa is a day spa on a mind-boggling scale, while Berkshire’s largest vineyard is in touching distance, growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and open for tours.
1. Rose Street
Wokingham is at its prettiest on this quiet residential street in the middle of the town.
There’s real history on Rose Street too in the terrace of half-timbered houses on the south frontage towards the east end.
These facades haven’t changed in 600 years and give a good indication of what a Medieval street would have looked like.
When it was built this terrace would have been one home, in the style of a Wealden House which was common around south-east England in the late-Medieval period.
Later, in the 16th century it is thought that these houses contained silk looms.
One of the gardens still has a mulberry bush, believed to have been planted for silk manufacture in Tudor times.
2. Stanlake Park Wine Estate
South East England is gaining a reputation for its wine, especially sparkling and whites.
There’s an award-winning producer just north of Wokingham, where you can book extensive tours of the vineyard and winery.
These cost £20 a head and last for approximately two hours.
On the way around the grape-pressing area, fermentation tanks, barrel room, “fizz” room for sparkling wine and bottling zone you’ll discover the ins and outs of making high-quality wine in England.
In each area you’ll taste a different wine, adding up to eight in all (three whites, two rosés, two sparkling and one red). So it’s a good idea to book a cab! At the end of the tour you can browse the Cellar Shop to get hold of any of the wines that you enjoyed on the tour.
3. Dinton Pastures Country Park
In the same borough there’s a 450-acre country park with seven lakes, two rivers, woodland and meadows.
In the summer holidays the Dinton Activity Centre on Black Swan Lake welcomes kids up to the age of 17 for courses and taster sessions in canoeing and paddling.
Between the start of April and the end of September you can also hire a boat to float around the lake.
This service is available seven days a week in the school holidays, and just on weekends at other times.
There’s a play park for youngsters, while the Dragonfly Café is in a converted farmhouse dating to 1904. If you take your time on a walk in Dinton Pastures you may see Muntjac and roe deer in the meadows and woodland, while the diversity of bird life recorded in the park is massive.
Among them are waders like grey herons, little egrets and redshanks, or birds of prey such as peregrine falcons, marsh harriers, red kites and buzzards.
4. California Country Park
Great for a family excursion in summer, California Country Park is 100 acres of ancient lowland heath and bogland.
The park is maintained by Wokingham Borough and contains a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
If the name sounds exotic it comes from the nearby village, named after an old brickworks.
Longmoor lake here is a habitat for cormorants, Canada geese, mallards and coots and has a surfaced walking path on its banks for relaxing walks.
If you come with children the park has swings, an adventure playground and a paddling pool that opens in summer.
You could also grab a bite at Jackson’s, the highly-rated cafe near the lake.
5. Nirvana Spa
This gigantic day spa to the west of Wokingham could almost be described as a theme park for grown-ups.
The Nirvana Spa attracts visitors from far and wide for its many facilities, palatial surroundings and endless list of treatments.
There are six different pools, each heated to a different temperature and with a different purpose, be it relaxed swimming, fitness, hydrotherapy, flotation or relaxing outside.
There’s a spa garden, tepidarium, crystal treatment suite, thermal suite, wellness suite, rasul area and a restaurant.
And as for the choice of treatments, well it’s too long to sum up here, but counts massages, facials, wraps, prenatal treatments, manicures, pedicures and lots more.
6. Wokingham Theatre
This theatre on Twyford Road is home to an amateur repertory group active for more than 70 years and still going strong.
The 250-strong group puts on eight major productions a year, each running for nine nights during a season from September through to the end of July.
As well as these big productions there are short runs for more obscure plays and youth theatre performances, while the venue is also made available to the Wokingham community for concerts and workshops.
Some of the big shows for the 2018-19 season were The 39 Steps, Sense and Sensibility, The Taming of the Shrew and The Lady Killers.
Every function, from wardrobe to lighting, sound, bar duties and programme printing is carried out by volunteers.
7. Pope’s Meadow
A couple of miles out of town, between Wokingham and Bracknell is the village of Binfield, which was where the poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) spent his youth in the early 18th century.
That property was soon known as Pope’s Manor, while Pope’s Meadow is about 14 acres of Green Flag parkland on its grounds and open to the public.
There are two separate play areas for different age groups and a large open tract of grass and woodland.
Some of the oak in the woods are at least 400 years old, while the meadows are ideal for a picnic in summer.
8. Dinton Adventure Golf
One of the best things about Dinton Pastures Country Park is its 18-hole adventure golf course, which has been put together with a lot of care, and no little imagination.
This challenging but entertaining course is themed on the natural world, and dotted with lifelike models of animals, some life-sized, like the big buck and doe in the middle, and some enlarged, like a giant ant crawling over one of the greens, as well as a beetle, squirrel and frog.
The course is open every day of the week in summer, and weekends in winter, and as of 2019 costs £5.50 for adults and £4.50 for kids under 16.
9. The Look Out Discovery Centre
In the Swinley Forest, which covers almost 2,500 acres to the south-east of Wokingham, there’s a children’s science attraction.
The Look Out Discovery Centre offers more than 90 activities that will challenge little ones, get them thinking about scientific concepts and stimulate their creativity.
They can help a boat navigate an indoor stream, launch a hydrogen rocket, use teamwork to build a house, capture their silhouette, see the world floating in mid-air, make a tune using lasers and watch a colony of leaf-cutter ants at work.
The centre has a 22-metre lookout tower above the forest and a big outdoor play area.
10. Monkey Mates
The sort of amenity that is always appreciated by parents with toddlers or smaller children, Monkey Mates is an indoor playground based in the north-west suburb of Emmbrook and open every day of the week.
Monkey Magic is a warehouse with soft padding from floor to ceiling.
There are ball pits, slides, obstacles to climb on and lots of little side games and toys.
Monkey Mates has a cafe equipped for children’s parties, and a well-appointed outdoor playground with climbing frames, slides, picnic benches and toy pedal carts.
11. Museum of Berkshire Aviation
On the far side of Dinton Pastures Country Park is a little aviation museum that will enthuse fans of rare British aircraft.
This location was the headquarters for the defunct manufacturer Miles Aircraft, while the museum also took on the collection of Fairey Aviation, which was based a few miles away in White Waltham.
A number of the aircraft are the only surviving examples of their kind, like the Fairey Jet Gyrodyne (1954), which is a cross between a helicopter and an autogiro.
There’s also a Miles Student (1957), which is the only jet trainer every built with seats side-by-side.
Among the other aircraft are a Miles Martinet target tug from WWII, a Handley Page Herald airliner from the 1950s and a Miles Magister monoplane trainer produced in the 1930s.
12. The Mill at Sonning
A real institution, The Mill at Sonning is a theatre in a converted 18th-century flour mill on an island in the Thames.
The location is gorgeous, and coursing through the middle of the island is the mill race, excavated in Medieval times to power the mill.
Although the current mill is from the 1700s the original was mentioned in the Domesday Book in the 11th century.
That mill race is harnessed by a small hydroelectric generator that powers the 215-seat air-conditioned theatre.
The Mill at Sonning stages theatre productions, music, comedy and magic, and has an acclaimed riverside restaurant which is integral to the experience.
If you’re intrigued by the buildings and setting you can take one of the regular tours and talks, combined with afternoon tea.
On the programme in early 2019 was a production of Guys & Dolls and Patrick Hamilton’s psychological thriller, Gaslight.
13. Keephatch Park Nature Reserve
On Wokingham’s east shoulder is a calming mosaic of woodland and water, moments from the centre of town.
There are four individual areas at the reserve, generally along Binfield Road, with a large tract of woodland (Keephatch Woods) bounded by the A 329. At one time this all belonged to the Keep Hatch Manor, which had a house built in the 1870s but pulled down in the 1990s to make way for the new housing estate next to the woods.
Loved by local dog walkers, Keephatch Woods has a mantle of ash trees, Norway maples, sycamores, birches, horse-chestnuts and pedunculate oaks.
laced with paths.
To the east of Keephatch Woods is Willowherb Pond, which was excavated in the late-1800s and is ringed with reeds.
14. Pinewood Miniature Railway
Something to put in the diary if you’re into trains or have young children, the Pinewood Miniature Railway has steam locomotives you can ride running on half a mile of 7 1⁄4-inch track through quiet woodland.
This takes place on the third Sunday of the month, between April and October and the trains are operated by lifelong enthusiasts.
You can buy light refreshments here, while the railway can also be hired out for two hours at a time for children’s birthdays.
Like many of the things to do around Wokingham, the closest golf course is designed with all ages in mind.
Wokingham Family Golf Course is a new arrival, comprising a nine-hole pitch and putt in lovely countryside, along with an adventure course and a driving range.
It’s just the place for children to take their first putt, but will also suit experienced golfers working on their game.
Close to this course is Sand Martins Golf Club, a member’s club that accepts visitor bookings.
If you’re an experienced player the 18-hole course is something special, with a front nine in manicured parkland typical for the South of England, while the back nine is a testing links-style course of the kind you’d normally have to travel to the coast to play.