Great tips for Visiting Windsor for the day

The day started off bright and clear so we thought, let’s do a road trip to visit Windsor. We knew – obviously, that part of our visit to Windsor would include seeing Windsor Castle.

Although the centrepiece of Windsor is the great Windsor Castle there is actually a lot more to see and things to do in Windsor than you realize and it’s a charming small town nestled beside the Thames River in Berkshire.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Arriving at Windsor, we found a parking spot and tucked the car in just behind the Castle.  If we knew then what we know now we would have taken a better look at the area and not parked there because the resultant ticket cost us £35.  Lesson learned

view of Windsor Castle from drone

 Now if you are sensible you won’t drive in the UK although outside London it’s not too bad, I would advise taking a tour with a group like Get Your Guide they have a fantastic tour of Stonehenge and Windsor and it includes Bath which is just beautiful.

sign posts in Windsor and a hop on hop off bus

How to get to Windsor Berkshire from London

Where is Windsor?

The actual address of Windsor Castle is Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1NJ so you can put that in Google maps if you are driving from London to Windsor.

Getting to Windsor by train

Getting to Windsor by train is easy, trains to Windsor and Eton Riverside run regularly from London Paddington and Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Central train station, which is just a 10-minute walk from Windsor Castle. Journeys take less than an hour from the capital.

What to do in Windsor for a day

  1. Windsor Castle
  2. Windsor Great Park
  3. The Alexandra Wheel
  4. Queen Victoria Statue
  5. A Thames Cruise
  6. Windsor Bridge
  7. Eton College
  8. Ascot
  9. Swans on the Thames
  10. Fudge Kitchen
  11. Royal Shopping Arcade
  12. Victorian Railway Station
  13. Windsor for Foodies
  14. Windsor and Eaton Brewery
  15. Visit Legoland

Visiting Windsor Castle

A visit to Windsor Castle is probably the first thing you think of when visiting castles in England and Windsor doesn’t disappoint. Originally built as a motte and bailey castle by William the Conqueror over the centuries Windsor became royalty’s favourite palace.

visiting Windsor for the day

History of Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It is open to visitors throughout the year.

Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it has since been the home of 39 monarchs. Today The Queen spends most of her private weekends at the Castle.

Tour of Windsor Castle

Visiting Windsor Castle is an expensive proposition for 2 people, it is only a self-guided tour but it does take around 3 to 4 hours to see the whole site. We walked down from our parking spot which was at the back of the castle to the front area noticing the absolutely huge lineup of folks wanting to get into see the place.

There were literally hundreds of Windsor Castle visitors in line and we decided that next time we are going to get to Windsor very early to beat the crowds.

the lower ward of Windsor Castle

Guards in bearskin hats and purple coats march through the grounds of the castle and you are allowed to take photos outside but not inside. The audio tour guides are available in lots of languages and they help guide you through the palace and the grounds.

guards in bearskin hats guarding the Queen's Palace at Windsor Castle

The State Apartments are as grand as you would expect from the palace that the Queen calls home, and their 17th-century furnishings and layers of more recent history tell the story of the monarchs that have called this castle home.

The long walk at Windsor Castle

On 20 November 1992 Windsor – which was the Queen’s beloved residence and home to the British monarchy for nearly 1,000 years burst into flames destroying nine rooms, injuring one and risking priceless artworks. Prince Edward was a resident at Windsor at the time and he recalls the “shock and horror” of seeing his home go up in flames. The fire apparently started when a spotlight caused a curtain to go up in flames.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

It caused an estimated £37 million of damage and took months to restore the palace, in particular, the St George chapel, to its former glory.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Prince Edward who was resident when the fire took place described the “Shock and horror” of seeing Windsor Castle ablaze.

St George’s Chapel is where weddings will take place in 2018. Built in the 15th and 16th centuries, it is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Inside the Chapel, there are vaulted ceilings, gorgeous stained glass and the tombs of many of England’s monarchs.

Gardens at Windsor Castle
Photo by Evka W

When to visit Windsor Castle

From March – October the doors open to the public at 9.30 am every day, including Sunday, and close at 5.30 pm.

From November to February opening time is 9.45 am, closing at 4.15 pm. The last entrance is 90 minutes prior to closing time.

Windsor Castle Tickets

Adult tickets to Windsor Castle are £28.50

Queen Victoria's statue that sits in Windsor

Visiting Windsor Castle – the Changing of the Guard

Changing of the guard happens between 11 am and 11.30 am also adding to the morning rush. Many of the coach tours will commonly stay until around midday departing after the changing of the guard.

On Sundays, St George’s is closed for religious services.

beautiful stained glass and fancy ceilings of St. George's Chapel Windsor

If you are very lucky you might even be visiting when she is “at home”! Check the flag flying from the Castle’s Round Tower; if it’s the Royal Standard the Queen will be in. 

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Tips for visiting Windsor Castle

  • On paying your admission you pass through airline-style security where bags are put through an x-ray machine and you empty your pockets and pass through a detector door. Once through the security, you pick up your audio phone at the kiosk opposite.
  • The exit is from the main Windsor Castle-Henry VII Gate, not the entrance with the ticket desks.
  • There is an information desk, toilets and a gift shop here too. By the audio kiosk is a sign that details the times of the guided tours that day. It is from here these tours start.
  • Wear comfortable shoes it can be a long tour.
Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

14 Things To Know Before You Visit Windsor Castle

Visiting Windsor Town

St. John the Baptist Church

From our Castle visit, we passed around the back of the Windsor parish church and High Street. The beautiful old parish church of St John the Baptist dates back to 1822 and backs onto the Castle.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Windsor Great Park

Windsor Great Park is a beautiful green space of over 4,800 acres. This is where the Kings and Queens of England used to hunt, fish and ride their horses. There is a herd of red Deer, loads of walking paths, gardens, a lake and a bridleway.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Legoland Windsor

Just two miles from the centre of town you have to visit Legoland if you are planning a day to Windsor with kids. Visiting Legoland on a budget is possible and with more than 55 interactive attractions, rides, shows and Lego models, LEGOLAND is the perfect destination for a fun-filled family day out.

Big Ben and London Eye models in Legoland Windsor miniland, England

The Alexandra Wheel

The Alexandra Wheel is a summer-only attraction the wheel is similar to the London Eye. With spectacular views over the battlements of Windsor Castle, you can even see the arch of Wembley Stadium. There are beautiful gardens below the wheel and a lovely little Cafe.  

Then we meandered around the side of the castle down to the High Street. Windsor is obviously a well-kept little town, very clean with thousands of tourists milling around.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Queen Victoria Statue

The iconic Queen Victoria statue is at the front of the castle. This fine bronze statue of Queen Victoria was designed and executed by Sir Edgar Boehm. It was erected in 1887 in celebration of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The cost of £2,500 was covered by subscriptions from the people of Windsor and the surrounding districts.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

We took a walk around the front of the castle, meandering down to the Thames where we had decided to take a boat tour of the river to be able to take in the views and just watch the birdlife.

A Thames River Cruise

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Thames River Cruise – we embarked on a French Brothers 40-minute cruise, which was just great value for money at £7 each.  The boat goes from the Windsor Bridge pier just a short walk away from the centre of town

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Windsor Bridge

The Windsor Bridge was built in 1824, or rather completed in 1824, as there were apparently many problems with the building of the bridge. The structure is quite weak and has been closed to traffic since 1970.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

The Famous Eton College

Eton College – to the right of the river is Eton the famed Eton founded by Henry VIII in 1440. Rowing and swimming took place just down the river from Windsor for many years.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Ascot Racecourse

Ascot Racecourse – there is lots to see along the water from the racecourse at Ascot to the interesting water birds spotted on the river. The swans that flock to the waterside and beg tourists for food are a treat. To own swans has always been a privilege granted by the crown.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

The Swans of Windsor

Swans on the river – today there are three owners of the swans, the Queen, the Worshipful Company of Vintners and the Worshipful Company of Dyers. On the pier, you will find boxes of swan food to feed these hungry birds.

After a lovely 40 minutes cruise, we disembarked and strolled up to the High Street.

5 June 2019: Windsor, UK - Swans and Canada Geese on the River Thames

Shopping in Windsor

Famous Fudge Kitchen

The Famous Fudge Kitchen – walking along, we chanced upon the Fudge Kitchen shop.  Being very big fudge fans, we decided to check it out but convinced ourselves we were not going to buy any. So we entered to be greeted by Jimmy handing out huge fudge samples, which we obligingly tasted. 

The fudge was absolutely superb and so naturally we had to buy some.  Jimmy told us not to refrigerate the fudge, it could be frozen or eaten but refrigeration apparently kills the texture – who knew?

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Windsor Royal Shopping

Windsor Royal Shopping is located opposite Windsor Castle in the grade II listed Victorian Railway Station. Many of the original features remain including the Jubilee arch, the cobbled stones and Queen Victoria’s Royal Waiting Room.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Shopping in Windsor covers the gamut of chain stores to independant retailers. Many of the top names in both fashion and lifestyle are here in the Royal shopping centre.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

But there are also many bargains to be had in the open-air market of Windsor from fabulous leather goods to a wide variety of tourist-style gifts like fridge magnets.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Windsor’s Victorian railway station

Victorian Railway Station – this shopping area is just beautiful with over 40 top-of-the-line shops and dozens of cafes, restaurants and bars it is a unique use of an old Victorian Railway station and you can still grab a train here.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Where to eat in Windsor

Foodies in Windsor – walking back up the High street we passed the newly opened Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Restaurant opposite Sir Christopher Wren’s  Guildhall and decided as foodies this would be well worth a visit and blowing the budget. 

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Unfortunately, we were incredibly disappointed, there was absolutely no service and we waited over 15 minutes to get noticed and served and nothing.  So we left and wandered over the road to a lovely pub called the Three Tuns and had a great Panini sandwich and a cider.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

We had a great lunch after a severe disappointment and then walked the cobblestone streets back to the car.  Even with a parking ticket, the day trip to Windsor was a great success.

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Windsor and Eaton Brewery

Windsor & Eton Brewery – fancy a pint then head over to the brewery. They offer 3 types of tours in this “beer-led” brewery. The Duke Street Experience: is ideal for individuals or small private groups, The Brew Masters Tour: is an experience completely suited to beer connoisseurs and Corporate Tours: are tailored more towards groups from small and large businesses. 

I absolutely love the names of their beers Scumbag Maggot (a nod to the Fairytale of New York by the Pogues), the Windsor Knot (a specific knot for your ties), and Caught by the Fuzz – these are just a few of their tongue in cheek names. Check out their website for more information. 

Great tips for visiting Windsor for the day

Have you been to Windsor Castle yet? What did you like about Windsor? For me, it was shopping lol.

visiting Windsor for a day is an experience that you will never forget. From the stunning views of Windsor Castle to exploring the charming streets and shops, there is something here for everyone. Whether you are travelling solo, with friends or family, this historic town has plenty to offer. You can indulge in delicious food and drink at cosy pubs and cafes, take long walks along the River Thames or simply relax and soak up the atmosphere. With its rich history and culture, Windsor is one of those places that truly captures your heart. So if you find yourself with a free day on your hands and are looking for a new adventure, make sure to add Windsor to your list!

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  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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