The small town of Windsor in Berkshire is on the south bank of the River Thames , 22 miles (36 km) west of central London. With its beautiful, old half-timbered houses; winding alleys; and cobbled streets it maintains a picturesque medieval appearance. The town is a popular tourist destination because of Windsor Castle , one of the royal family’s official residences. Whether you’re on a day trip excursion from London or other parts of England, get ready to spend the best part of the day here (and pack a picnic) as there are so many fun things to do.
1 Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a large castle built on a limestone hill and has served as the summer residence of the British Royals for over 900 years. One of Britain’s finest residences, it is also the largest inhabited castle in the world and has been added to countless times by many monarchs, including William the Conqueror who built the first castle here in 1078. Together with its spectacular grounds – the site covers some 13 hectares – Windsor Castle is fun to explore at a leisurely pace.
Attractions include magnificent St. George’s Chapel , traditional home of the 26 Knights and Dames of the ancient Order of the Garter; the final resting place of Queen Victoria’s beloved husband, Albert; the State Apartments with the Queen’s Gallery and dining room, each with beautifully painted ceilings and carvings; and, of course, the beautiful Great Park , which stretches along the south side of the castle for nearly six miles.
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Though open to the public only six days a year, the neighboring Frogmore Estate is worth adding to your itinerary. If timed right, you’ll be rewarded with the rare chance to visit one of the lesser-known (but equally lavish) royal retreats, home to Queen Victoria’s final resting place.
Location: Windsor Castle, Windsor
Official site: www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/windsorcastle
2 The Royal Windsor Wheel
In Windsor’s Alexandra Gardens, the Royal Windsor Wheel offers some of the best views of the historic old town and castle (on clear days cyclists can see all the way to London). Operating all summer long, the 12-minute ride has been operating in fully enclosed six-person gondolas since 2006 and has become one of Windsor’s leading attractions. Transporting some 200,000 guests annually, this massive 402-ton Ferris wheel reaches a height of nearly 200 feet. If you can swing it, opt for the VIP Gondola for a little extra comfort, which is real, as you look down at the magnificent Windsor Castle.
3 Windsor Festival en Theatre Royal
The annual Windsor Festival runs from mid-September to early October each autumn with daily events in venues such as the Waterloo Chamber, Windsor Castle, St. George’s Hall and Eton College Chapel. Since its inception in 1969, the festival has offered orchestral, choral, chamber and organ concerts, along with dance performances and lectures. International artists are often invited to perform a repertoire of classical works.
Culture vultures will also want to check out the program at Theater Royal . Just a stone’s throw from Windsor Castle, the venue hosts everything from theatrical productions to live music and prides itself on being the UK’s only non-subsidized year-round theater (it’s also regarded as one of the best outside London’s West End ).
Adres: 11 High Street, Windsor
Official site: www.windsorfestival.com
4 Legoland Windsor Resort
Legoland Windsor is a fun family resort set in 150 acres of parkland. The attraction is dedicated to the creativity and imagination of children of all ages with rides, interactive playgrounds and millions of plastic bricks. This popular destination attracts more than two million visitors a year and is worth exploring for a day. If possible, try to time your visit to coincide with one of the many themed events of this huge amusement park. Favorites for kids of all ages include a knight-inspired firework display, Christmas and Halloween festivals, and special events for toddlers. Also worth visiting is the new medieval themed hotel.
Adres: Winkfield Road, Windsor
Official site: www.legoland.co.uk
5 Eton College
The small town of Eton is located on the north side of Windsor Bridge and is famous for its university, founded in 1440 by Henry VI. The institution is synonymous with English education, and past students include Henry Fielding, William Pitt, Percy Shelley, William Gladstone, the Duke of Wellington, and about 20 English Prime Ministers. The main red-brick building dates from the founding of the school and extends around two quadrangles. But the most remarkable thing is the school chapel; completed in 1441, it contains old copper plates and beautiful paintings (1470-1490) depicting scenes from the life of Mary. A bronze statue of Henry VI stands in the main square and a passageway leads from Lupton’s tower to the cloisters with the hall and library. (Public visits are available for small groups and individuals,
Official site: www.etoncollege.com
6 Ascot Racecourse
Arguably England’s best-known racecourse, Ascot is used for thoroughbred horse racing and has nine of the UK’s top 32 annual races. Closely associated with the Royal Family (it’s only six miles from Windsor Castle), Ascot hosts 26 days of racing a year, the highlight being The Royal Meeting in June with its famous Gold Cup. The racecourse is also home to the Royal Ascot Cricket Club and Ascot United Football Club. Also worth a visit for tourists is the nearby Royal Windsor Racecourse , noted for its eighth course, one of only two in the UK.
Adres: High Street, Ascot, Berkshire
Official Site: https://www.ascot.co.uk/
7 The Savill Garden
Regarded as one of the most impressive ornamental gardens in the country, the Savill Garden sits on the edge of Windsor Castle Great Park and is an integral part of Windsor’s Royal Landscape . Opened in the 1930s, it contains a wide variety of plants in a beautiful natural setting. Shrubs, alpine meadows, and a formal garden of roses and herbaceous plants are just a few of the attractions in this 35-acre estate. Other highlights include a collection of 60 sculptures scattered throughout the property, along with plenty of quiet places to stop and appreciate the surrounding floral displays.
Location: Great Park, Windsor
Official site: https://www.windsorgreatpark.co.uk/en
8 Dorney Court
An easy six-mile drive west of Windsor town centre, Dorney Court is well worth a visit. Considered one of the best surviving examples of Tudor architecture in England, this more than 500-year-old mansion has been lived in by the same family throughout its rich history. Set in rolling parkland and with beautiful gardens, it is certainly a picturesque property, an effect enhanced by the presence of the beautiful Norman-era Church of St James de Less adjoining the manor house. Interior highlights include numerous fine portraits and paintings, silks and tapestries, antique furniture, elegantly carved wood paneling and a 17th century priest’s hole (not to mention a tea room). While you’re there, be sure to check it outDorney Lake , a rectangular artificial lake designed specifically for rowers to practice their sport.
Location: Dorney, Windsor
Official site: www.dorneycourt.co.uk
9 Windsor and Royal Borough Museum
On the High Street, in the town’s attractive Guildhall built in 1689, the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum is a great addition to any Windsor programme. The museum’s large collection focuses on the history of both the city and its surroundings and includes artifacts dating back to the present time of the Ice Age. Highlights include a fine collection of prehistoric tools, artifacts from the Bronze Age, Roman and Saxon periods, and numerous items relating to the town’s Victorian heyday. Those following the royal family will also be interested in taking a guided tour with the opportunity to view the Ascot Room where Prince Charles married his longtime sweetheart, Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Locatie: The Guildhall, High Street, Windsor
10 Thames Boat Trips
From Windsor it is possible to take several charming trips along the River Thames, which is constantly branching and forming islands, with some of the most beautiful parks in England. Launches passengers not only to London, but also to interesting places such as Kingston-upon-Thames (journey time to London is about five hours). Oxford, about 70 miles away, is a two-day journey through charming countryside. Better yet, look into renting a canal boat (or barge) from one of the many companies that specialize in this wonderful mode of transportation.
Where to stay in Windsor for sightseeing
We recommend these beautiful Windsor hotels near top attractions such as the famous castle:
- Macdonald Windsor Hotel: stylish luxury, opposite Windsor Castle, afternoon tea, luxury bedding, electric car charging point.
- Castle Hotel Windsor MGallery Collection: mid-range pricing, Georgian building, steps from Windsor Castle, elegant decor, excellent breakfast.
- Holiday Inn Express Windsor: 3-star hotel, modern design, free breakfast, bright lounge.
- Travelodge Windsor Central Hotel: budget hotel, castle views, near the train station, bright and modern rooms.