I lived in Windsor for two summers while Au Pairing and it was a regular sight to see heaps of tourists coming in from London each day. Most would just get stuck on the main road, many would end up grabbing lunch in McDonalds, but there’s just so much more to Windsor that really makes it a great day trip from London, which is why it’s the next place I’m going to highlight in my ‘In a Day’ series…
Windsor has two rail stations, which is a bit odd for a town of its size. Both are centrally located so it doesn’t matter much which you go into.
If you’re coming from Paddington station, taking the fast train to Slough will only take you 15 min (but can be much longer if you catch the slow train). Once at Slough, change platforms and get on the direct train to Windsor & Eton Central, which only takes 5 min. Super fast, super easy. But fair warning: Sometimes you can wait up to 20 min at Slough station for the next train to Windsor.
The other option is to leave from Waterloo and take one train directly into Windsor & Eton Riverside. The trip takes about an hour but I personally like taking this one because it’s closer to my flat in Southwark and I’m lazy and don’t like changing trains.
If you’re returning the same day, make sure you buy a return ticket as it will be much cheaper than buying two individually. For myself, using my 16-25 railcard, a roundtrip ticket from Waterloo to Windsor costs £6.65, from Paddington it costs me £7.15.
Windsor Castle (obviously)
Yes it’s an obvious one but the main reason that Windsor is so famous and so many people visit each day is because it’s home to the Royals. Windsor Castle is one of the many homes of the British Royal Family and the largest occupied castle in the world. There are often special exhibitions and you can even see the Royal Doll Collection.
Standard admission is pretty pricey at £20.50 for adults, £18.70 for 60+ and students, £12.00 for -17 and disabled peoples, and under 5 is free. It’s a nice thing to do, especially if you’re into the Royals, but I wouldn’t go twice.
Stroll along the long walk (and stop into the pub halfway)
The long walk is just that – a very long walk. And though it’s a beautiful picture, I have never completed it myself and always end up stopping into The Two Brewers pub. But if you do reach the top (I cheated and drove…) you will be able to see The Copper Horse statue up close and a stunning view of Windsor Castle.
Feed the swans
Windsor is situated on the River Thames and the swans that are ever present make it a beautiful scene. These swans in particular are of special importance as they are owned by the Queen herself. Bring some bread along and feed the royal swans as you stroll along the Thames.
Shopping in the Windsor Royal Shopping Centre
Windsor has great high-street shopping and the Royal Shopping Centre is a shop-a-holic’s dream.
Drive a boat on the Thames
Along the banks your are able to rent a motor or paddle boat for about £30 for 1 hr (pricy yes, but very fun).
Eton is possibly the most famous school in the world and it’s just across the River Thames from Windsor. Eton is a boarding school for boys, with famous alumni including Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Prince William, Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Ian Fleming, David Cameron, and George Orwell, to name a few. Walking through the town of Eton you will see cute little British shops and cafes. Once you come upon the school (you can’t miss it), go into the gardens behind, you won’t be disappointed.
High tea here is amazeballs.
Higher end pub restaurant with views of Windsor Castle.
A fairly new edition, it makes one mean burger (yes, technically in Eton).
Amazing thin crust, authentic pizza with warm service.
Views of the Thames, need I say more?
Good drinks, great music… gigs every Wednesday – Sunday.
A row of clubs just under the Royal Windsor Shopping Centre. Check out Charlie’s Horse for margaritas, Bar yello for pool tables, and Studio 15 for a giant sparkly wall to make all your Instagram dreams come true.
The King & Castle’s beer garden
So typically I would always say to avoid Weatherspoons if possible. However, the King & Castle in Windsor has an amazing beer garden in the back that can’t be missed during the summer.
Typical British pub with a typical British pub name.