In DestinationsEurope on 28/03/17

Windsor, UK

"To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” Bill Bryson

Royal Windsor is close to London yet has a completely different feel.  Home to Windsor Castle, a historic town, park, river, restaurants, bars and shops all within a 15 minute walk of each other, it’s a ‘bite-size’ destination ideal for a day or weekend trip.

Oozing history and character, Windsor is loved by tourists and residents alike.  In fact I loved it so much I moved there so forgive me any bias.  With everything so close together there isn’t really a hidden Windsor, however for a full experience it’s worth moving beyond the town centre to enjoy the attractions on the periphery.

Windsor Castle

1000 years old, 1000 rooms, billions of pounds of artwork and hundreds of staff.  The castle is the oldest and largest occupied in the world and home to the Queen  most weekends.

The castle is right in the centre of Windsor and dominates the town.  A tour takes you through state rooms, historic bedrooms showcasing furnishings used hundreds of years ago, the gardens and the famous dolls house.  For anyone interested in history it offers a fascinating insight.  St George’s Chapel has daily services and special events.

Changing the Guard is a very popular event.  Soldiers in red uniforms march with a band from Victoria Barracks to the castle for the guards’ shift change.  This takes place several times a week at 11am, check the castle website for a current schedule.

River Thames

The Thames runs through Windsor on its way from Gloucestershire to London.  Windsor sits on one side of the Thames with Eton on the other, connected by a footbridge.  There are several boat trips up and down the Thames from Windsor with an interesting commentary, these are especially worth taking on a clear and/or warm day.  Alternatively there are footpaths running alongside the river.


Most famous for Eton College, this pretty little village is just across the foot bridge from Windsor.  With heaps of character it’s well worth a wander down the high street with its independent antique dealers, restaurants and curio stores.  At the far end of the high street from the bridge is Eton College which dates back to 1440.  The 1300 pupils still wear pin-striped trousers, coat-tails and stiff collars, you can see them wandering around during the school day which runs Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 8am to 1pm.

Windsor Great Park

At almost 8 square miles the park is huge.  Starting from the castle, it heads down the 2 mile Long Walk up to the copper horse statue where you’ll see lovely views of Windsor and the surrounding area.  If you’re feeling energetic the park carries on for miles towards Virginia Water passing an old, pretty village for park workers, Prince Andrew also lives in the park in a less modest house.  Alternatively you can drive round to the Virginia Water side of the park where there’s a lake surrounded by some beautiful gardens, well worth a look especially in spring, summer and autumn.  Savill Garden is also on the far side of the park, it’s an ornamental garden which charges for entry, personally I prefer a free stroll around Virginia Water lake.


The choice is huge.  I always check TripAdvisor to see what the latest and greatest is as restaurants come and go.  The lower end of Peascod Street has some great little independent restaurants as does the cobbled Castle Street  area right by the castle.


There are quite a few late night pubs and clubs.  ‘The Arches’ on Goswell Hill are a range of bars and restaurants open later, especially on weekends.   For a bit of culture, the theatre is worth a look.

Getting there

London Heathrow airport is a global hub and the closest airport to Windsor, only 20 minutes drive away.  However if your trip to the UK will be based outside of Windsor check out the other London airports.


20 minutes taxi ride from London Heathrow airport.  Beware, taxis from the airport taxi rank will charge you about £65 to get to Windsor.  You can get a taxi for about £20 using Uber or by booking one from a local taxi company on arrival.

By train: there’s a direct 55 minute train from London Waterloo train station.  From London Paddington catch a train to Slough and then change for the train to Windsor, the journey time is from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the time of day (avoid the rush hours for cheaper, quicker trains).

NB. There are 2 train stations in Windsor, both are in the town centre.


There are several hotels, a lot of B&Bs and Airbnb accommodation in Windsor.  Check the location on a map as several hotels tend to label themselves as Windsor when they’re actually about 5 or 10 miles away.


My top spots:

The Two Brewers on Park Street dates back to the 1700s, it’s a tiny pub with a great atmosphere and lovely roaring fires in winter.  Seating is very limited so book ahead.

The Boatman is the only bar/restaurant right on the river in Windsor, it’s a gorgeous spot in summer with a good menu.

Cote Brasserie in Eton has fantastic river views and consistently good food.

The Alma pub is about a 10 minute walk from the town centre, a fine example of a quirky local pub it’s full of antiques and curios, garden for summer and good food.

The Harte and Garter is right opposite the castle, they offer a great food menu and afternoon tea with excellent views of the castle.  The service is great too.

Meimo offer Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine.  They have a fantastic menu, reasonably priced and the friendliest staff in Windsor.  You’ll sometimes find me here writing my blog!


Windsor Castle

Open year-round, although state occasions can result in closure so check before you go.  Adult entry costs £20.50, some exhibitions cost extra.  Allow 2-3 hours to see the grounds and interior.  Audio tours are available as are guided tours.

Windsor Great Park

Free entry that starts right by the castle.  Savill Park ornamental garden on the opposite side of the park from Windsor costs £8.50 to get in.

French Brothers offer several boat trips of various lengths on boats with shelter and refreshments, trips  start from £8.50 per adult.

Duck Tours use an amphibious vehicle so their tours are 50/50 land and water, starting from £18 per adult.

John Logie rent out boats through in the summer months, prices start at £40 for an hour or £15 for an hour for a rowing boat if you’re feeling active.

Double Decker Bus Tours are a good way of learning a little about the area, and getting around the town, especially for those less mobile.  They cost around £9 for an adult.

Theatre Royal Windsor has year round shows in the rather small but very quaint theatre, often featuring vintage English TV actors.  Worth a look if you’re  a theatre fan as, being so small, all seats are relatively good.


There are two main shopping areas – Peascod Street and Windsor Royal arcade, by Windsor & Eton Central train station.  These have a great selection of high street and higher end brands with a few independent vendors.


Expensive compared to the UK as a whole, but a little cheaper than London.  You can expect to pay £4 to £5 for a beer and £4 to £8 for a glass of wine.  Main courses range from £9 to £25.