Windsor Things To Do
Embark on a captivating journey through history as you step into the enchanting world of Windsor Castle, a majestic gem nestled in the heart of the United Kingdom. This iconic landmark, located just a stone’s throw away from London, offers an unforgettable day trip that seamlessly blends regal grandeur with mesmerizing tales of the past. As you wander through its centuries-old corridors, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of royal splendour, where kings and queens have walked before you. From the opulent State Apartments to the tranquil gardens that stretch out towards the horizon, Windsor Castle holds a wealth of treasures waiting to be discovered. Uncover the secrets of St. George’s Chapel, where many royal weddings and funerals have taken place, and marvel at the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a spectacle that never fails to dazzle visitors. Soak up the unique ambiance of this living, breathing castle, and let yourself be transported back in time on a day trip to Windsor Castle.
A Brief History of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle, with its rich history dating back over 900 years, is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Originally built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has served as a royal residence for the British monarchy ever since. Over the centuries, various monarchs have made their mark on the castle, expanding and enhancing its grandeur. It has witnessed countless significant events, from political negotiations to royal ceremonies. The castle’s strategic location on the River Thames has played a crucial role in its history, as it served as a fortress and a symbol of power. Today, it stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the British monarchy and offers visitors a glimpse into the past.
Getting to Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is conveniently located just 21 miles west of London, making it easily accessible for a day trip. There are several transportation options available, depending on your preferences. If you prefer a hassle-free journey, you can take a direct train from London Waterloo station to Windsor & Eton Riverside station, which is just a short walk away from the castle. The journey takes approximately 1 hour. Alternatively, you can opt for a guided tour that includes transportation from London, allowing you to sit back and relax as you are chauffeured to your destination. If you prefer to drive, there are parking facilities available near the castle, although it is worth noting that parking can be limited, especially during peak tourist seasons.
Exploring the State Apartments
As you step into the State Apartments, prepare to be mesmerized by the opulence and grandeur that awaits you. These luxurious rooms have played host to countless state banquets and official receptions throughout history. Marvel at the exquisite collection of artworks, including masterpieces by renowned artists such as Rembrandt and Canaletto. Admire the intricate tapestries and ornate ceilings adorned with gold leaf. Take a moment to imagine the grand events that have unfolded within these walls and immerse yourself in the stories of the past. The State Apartments are a true testament to the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the British monarchy.
Visit St. George’s Chapel in Windsor
No visit to Windsor Castle is complete without a visit to St. George’s Chapel, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. This stunning chapel has been the setting for many royal weddings, including the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Step inside and be awed by the intricate stone carvings, magnificent stained-glass windows, and the breathtaking fan-vaulted ceiling. Take a moment to explore the tombs of past monarchs and members of the royal family, including King Henry VIII and Queen Victoria. St. George’s Chapel is a place of both beauty and solemnity, providing a glimpse into the religious and cultural heritage of the British monarchy.
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Enjoy the Changing of the Guard
One of the highlights of a visit to Windsor Castle is witnessing the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a time-honoured tradition that takes place daily, weather permitting. Marvel at the precision and pageantry as the guards, dressed in their iconic red tunics and bearskin hats, march in unison to the sound of military bands. This colourful spectacle is a sight to behold and offers a unique opportunity to witness a centuries-old tradition. Be sure to check the schedule beforehand as the ceremony timings may vary, especially during special events or when the Queen is in residence.
Explore the Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House
For a delightful and whimsical experience, make sure to visit Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, a miniature masterpiece that showcases the finest craftsmanship of the early 20th century. This extraordinary dollhouse was created for Queen Mary, wife of King George V, and features intricate details and luxurious furnishings on a miniature scale. Marvel at the tiny works of art, from miniature books to intricate chandeliers. The Dolls’ House also boasts a fully functional plumbing system and even a wine cellar stocked with miniature bottles. It is a fascinating glimpse into the life of the British royal family and a testament to the creativity and skill of the artisans involved.
Take a Stroll in the Windsor Great Park
After immersing yourself in the grandeur of the castle, take a moment to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the Windsor Great Park. Covering over 4,800 acres, this expansive park offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined avenues, breathe in the fresh air, and marvel at the picturesque landscapes. Keep an eye out for the iconic Long Walk, a straight path that stretches for over 2 miles and leads to the Copper Horse statue of King George III. The park also features stunning gardens, lakes, and even a deer park, providing a tranquil retreat for nature lovers.
Shopping and Souvenirs in Windsor
No visit to Windsor Castle is complete without picking up a souvenir to commemorate your trip. Explore the charming streets surrounding the castle, where you’ll find a plethora of shops offering a wide range of products. From traditional British crafts and souvenirs to luxury brands and designer boutiques, there is something to suit every taste and budget. Don’t forget to check out the Windsor Royal Shopping Centre, located just a short walk from the castle, where you’ll find a mix of high street and independent stores. Whether you’re looking for a keepsake to remember your visit or a unique gift for a loved one, Windsor offers plenty of options for shopping enthusiasts.
Other Attractions near Windsor Castle
If you have some extra time to spare, there are several other attractions near Windsor Castle that are worth exploring. Just a short distance away is Legoland Windsor Resort, a theme park that offers fun for the whole family with its array of rides, shows, and interactive exhibits. For history enthusiasts, a visit to Runnymede, the site where the Magna Carta was signed, is a must. This historic landmark is located on the banks of the River Thames and offers a peaceful setting for reflection and exploration. Additionally, the nearby town of Eton, with its prestigious Eton College, is worth a visit to experience its charming streets and historic buildings.
My Favourite Things To Do In Windsor
Take a Boat Trip on the River Thames
Experience the beauty of the River Thames by taking a leisurely boat trip. Hop on a river cruise and enjoy the scenic views as you glide along the water. Admire the stunning landscape, including the iconic Windsor Bridge and Eton College, as you learn about the history and heritage of the area. Whether you choose a short cruise or a longer excursion, a boat trip on the River Thames is a relaxing way to explore Windsor and its surroundings.
Learn About Windsor’s History at the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum
Take a journey through Windsor’s past at the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum. Located in the historic Guildhall, this museum offers a fascinating insight into the town’s rich heritage. Explore the exhibits that showcase Windsor’s history, from its origins as a small Saxon village to its transformation into a royal residence. Learn about the town’s connection to the royal family and discover the stories of the people who have shaped Windsor over the centuries. With its interactive displays and informative exhibits, the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
Experience a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
Step back in time and experience the elegance of a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of Windsor. Climb aboard a beautifully adorned carriage and let the gentle clip-clop of the horses’ hooves transport you to a bygone era. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the town as your knowledgeable driver shares interesting anecdotes about Windsor’s history. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to add a touch of romance to your visit, a horse-drawn carriage ride is a truly memorable experience.
Enjoy a Meal at a Riverside Cafe
Indulge in a culinary delight at one of the many riverside cafes in Windsor. With their picturesque locations and charming ambiance, these cafes offer the perfect setting for a leisurely meal. Savor delicious British cuisine, from traditional fish and chips to Savory pies and hearty roasts, while enjoying the stunning views of the River Thames. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast, a leisurely afternoon tea, or a romantic dinner, a riverside cafe in Windsor is sure to satisfy your taste buds and provide a memorable dining experience.
Attend a Performance at the Theatre Royal Windsor
Immerse yourself in the world of theatre at the Theatre Royal Windsor. This historic venue has been entertaining audiences since 1815 and continues to showcase a diverse range of productions, from classic plays to contemporary performances. Take your seat in the beautifully restored auditorium and enjoy an evening of entertainment in the heart of Windsor. Whether you’re a theatre lover or simply looking for a memorable night out, a visit to the Theatre Royal Windsor is sure to leave you captivated.
Visit the Windsor Guildhall
Discover the historic Windsor Guildhall, a building steeped in tradition and grandeur. This iconic landmark has played host to numerous royal weddings, including the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. Take a guided tour and explore the magnificent interior, with its stunning stained-glass windows and impressive architecture. Learn about the important role the Guildhall has played in the town’s history and admire the beautiful paintings and artifacts on display. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend a concert or event held at this prestigious venue.
Wander Through the Windsor Royal Shopping Centre
Shopaholics will be in paradise at the Windsor Royal Shopping Centre. Located in the heart of Windsor, this historic shopping destination offers a wide range of boutiques, high-end stores, and charming cafes. Explore the cobblestone streets and browse through the unique shops that offer everything from fashion and accessories to homeware and souvenirs. Don’t forget to stop by the Windsor Farm Shop, where you can find delicious local produce and artisanal goods. Whether you’re looking for a special gift or simply want to indulge in some retail therapy, the Windsor Royal Shopping Centre has something for everyone.
Explore the Windsor & Eton Brewery
Beer enthusiasts can indulge in a unique experience at the Windsor & Eton Brewery. Take a guided tour of this award-winning brewery and learn about the beer-making process, from the selection of ingredients to the brewing techniques. Sample a variety of their handcrafted beers, from traditional ales to innovative brews, and discover the flavours and aromas that make each one unique. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or simply curious about the brewing process, a visit to the Windsor & Eton Brewery is a must for any beer lover.
Discover the Savill Garden
Nature lovers will be in awe of the beauty of the Savill Garden. Located within the Windsor Great Park, this exquisite garden is a haven for plant enthusiasts and horticultural enthusiasts. Explore the various themed gardens, from the tranquil Rose Garden to the vibrant Azalea Walk. Admire the stunning displays of flowers and plants, including rare and exotic species. Take a leisurely stroll along the winding paths, breathe in the fragrant scents, and marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds you. With its peaceful ambiance and breathtaking views, the Savill Garden is a must-visit for garden lovers.
Attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show
Experience the elegance and excitement of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, one of the UK’s most prestigious equestrian events. Held annually in the grounds of Windsor Castle, this five-day event showcases a range of equestrian disciplines, from showjumping and dressage to carriage driving and polo. Watch world-class riders and horses compete in thrilling competitions, enjoy spectacular displays, and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere. Whether you’re a horse enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and memorable day out, the Royal Windsor Horse Show is a must-see event.
Explore the Eton Wick Nature Reserve
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the natural beauty of the Eton Wick Nature Reserve. Located just outside of Windsor, this tranquil haven is home to a variety of wildlife and offers a peaceful escape from the town’s hustle and bustle. Take a leisurely walk along the nature trails, spot birds and butterflies, and enjoy the serene surroundings. With its diverse habitats and stunning scenery, the Eton Wick Nature Reserve is a paradise for nature lovers and a great place to reconnect with the natural world.
Tips for Visiting Windsor Castle
- Plan your visit in advance and check the official website for any closures or special events.
- Consider purchasing tickets online to skip the queues and save time.
- Wear comfortable shoes as there is a fair amount of walking involved.
- Bring a camera to capture the stunning architecture and picturesque landscapes.
- Respect the castle’s rules and regulations, including photography restrictions in certain areas.
- Take advantage of guided tours or audio guides to enhance your visit and learn more about the castle’s history.
- Visit on weekdays, if possible, to avoid crowds, especially during weekends and school holidays.
- Check the weather forecast before your visit and come prepared with appropriate clothing and accessories.
- Allow plenty of time to explore the castle and its surroundings, as there is much to see and discover.
A day trip to Windsor Castle is a captivating experience that offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history and grandeur of the British monarchy. From exploring the opulent State Apartments to marvelling at the intricate beauty of St. George’s Chapel, every corner of the castle holds a treasure waiting to be discovered. Witnessing the Changing of the Guard ceremony and exploring the Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House adds an extra layer of delight to your visit. Take a leisurely stroll in the Windsor Great Park, indulge in a meal or afternoon tea fit for royalty, and explore the charming streets surrounding the castle for a truly memorable day trip. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a royal admirer, or simply seeking a unique and enchanting experience, a visit to Windsor Castle is an absolute must.