A royally good day in Windsor
2018 was a busy year of royal weddings for Windsor, so we're here to guide you to making the most of this pretty, typically British town, which the Queen calls home every weekend.
SIGHTSEEING AND ACTIVITIES
With its cobbled streets, heritage buildings and glorious waterfront, there’s plenty to see.
Windsor’s royal roots date as far back as William the Conqueror, who chose the town as a site for a Norman stronghold in the 11th century. The result is the fairy-tale Windsor Castle (above and top), which now serves as an official residence of the Queen.
Take a bus trip with The Original Tour to explore the town centre and nearby Eton College, which Princes William and Harry attended. You can hop on and off at 11 bus stops located around the town.
Liquid History Tours offers guided cycling tours through Windsor and the scenic Thames Valley, departing from Windsor & Eton Riverside station.
Don't miss the majestic Windsor Great Park. Covering 4,800 acres, this former royal hunting ground features monuments, forests and stunning gardens. Stroll around the Obelisk Pond and The Valley Gardens – you might see red deer.
Inside the park is the tranquil Savill Garden, with 35 acres of ornamental gardens. There’s a £10.50 entry fee; access to the rest of Windsor Great Park is free.
One of the best ways to enjoy Windsor’s riverside setting is on a cruise along the River Thames. Boat company Frangilla, Larus and Sula offers luxury Thames boat hire for up to 12 passengers. Cruises are also available with French Brothers.
Feeling energetic? Contact Canoe & Kayak Tours for a wonderful way to explore the river.
If you love shopping, head to the pretty Windsor Royal Shopping, located inside an atmospheric Victorian train station with nearly 30 shops.
EATING AND DRINKING
Begin with a hearty brunch at Bel & The Dragon near Windsor Castle, which has a menu using locally sourced ingredients. Elsewhere, enjoy the waterfront views at The Boatman (above), one of Windsor’s oldest pubs. For dinner, there’s fine dining that is fit for a queen at The Oxford Blue, a 17th-century country pub converted from two cottages. Expect elegantly presented British dishes including pig’s trotter, and pie and mash.
Got a sweet tooth? At Fudge Kitchen (above), try its exclusive Caramel Swirl – you can even learn how to make it.
For a sophisticated drink, riverside bar Gogos offers great cocktails, while wine lovers should visit the cosy, late-night bar No5 St Leonards Road.
ROYAL WEDDING VENUE
Set inside the castle grounds, St George’s Chapel (above) was the venue for the weddings of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018, as well as Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in October of the same year. You can tour this Gothic church every day except Sunday (when it is closed for religious services) and inside, you'll discover the tombs of 10 monarchs including King Henry VIII.
TRAVELLING TO WINDSOR
Windsor is located in the county of Berkshire and is 40km (25 miles) west from London. The best way to get there from London is by catching a train from Waterloo or Paddington, to Windsor & Eton Central station. The train journey takes between 30 minutes and one hour. Find out more at www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Sticking to the capital? Read our guide on how to spend a royal day in London.
Images: Windsor Castle © The Royal Collection & HM Queen Elizabeth II 2018; Grand Reception Room at Windsor Castle © Peter Smith, The Royal Collection & HM Queen Elizabeth II; Windsor Great Park © iStock; The Boatman courtesy of The Boatman; Fudge Kitchen courtesy of Fudge Kitchen; St George's Chapel © iStock; Windsor Castle from the River Thames © windsor.gov.uk