train journey to windsor

Taking the train from Maidenhead to Windsor with GWR gave us a great view of Windsor Castle from Home Park

We picked a beautiful, sunny September afternoon to spend the day in Windsor. There is so much to choose from, you really can't fit it all into one day.

To start with, we opted for a walking tour to get a better feel for the history of Windsor and secret spots of historical significance, giving us a flavour of the town. Paddy McNeill runs Royal Windsor Tours, specialising in military history.

Royal Windsor Tours

Cambridge Gate: Watching the sentry from Cambridge Gate on the Long Walk

Paddy was a Coldstream Guard, famous for their bearskin hats, vivid red jackets and brisk sentry marches at Windsor Castle. With a thorough knowledge of local history, Paddy gave us a historical context of Windsor Castle and the monarchs who spent time there.

Windsor Royal Station shopping centre

Windsor Royal Station: A great choice of shops near the starting point of the tour

The tour started outside the Windsor Royal Station shopping centre, near the Harte and Garter hotel. The walk goes up to the entrance of the Castle via the Windsor Guildhall, from where you can also visit the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum.

Windsor and Royal Borough Musuem

Museum: Windsor & the Royal Borough Museum

windsor duck tours

Duck Tours outside Windsor Castle

From there, the tour goes to King Henry VIII gate where the Duck Tour passed us, another idea for an interesting tour around Windsor!

Henry VIII Gate, Windsor Castle

King Henry VIII gate: Talking about the carved panels on the gate and what they represent

Then it was onto St Albans Street past the mews where Castle horses are kept and then down Park Street. The view from the Long Walk is always stunning, with the avenue of trees leading up the hill to the famous statue of The Copper Horse, depicting George III on horseback.

Long Walk

Long Walk: the view to The Copper Horse

From the Cambridge Gate outside Windsor Castle on the Long Walk we could see a single sentry on duty and Paddy told us about a day in the life of a Coldstream Guard.

The next part of the walk was down Sheet Street to Victoria Barracks, which has a long and interesting history too, especially in the context of how soldiers and their families lived and how it shaped the town and businesses of Windsor in the early 1900s. The tour takes just over an hour and Paddy delivers his tours with charm and warmth. It made for a very enjoyable start.

From the centre of Windsor, we walked across the bridge to Eton, en route to Eton College. We took a detour at the George Pub, a Windsor & Eton Brewery pub. It has a lovely mix of local families, couples and tourists tasting the deliciously brewed local beer and gins. The food looked delicious, but we weren't ready for a meal yet.

We wandered along the High Street in Eton, stopping to browse at quirky antique shops, gift stores, interior shops and traditional gentlemen's outfitters. It's the perfect place to potter about on a Saturday afternoon and would give any visitor to the area a wonderful flavour of life in a quintessentially English town. The aim was to visit the annual Eton Action Charity Fair, managed by Eton College boys to raise funds for local charities. Stalls and games are hosted and organised by the pupils. We caught the end of it as the last few stalls were packing up and by all accounts it was a very successful fair, with over £39,000 raised at the event in 2018!   

Taking a slow walk back along the High Street, we ventured back into Windsor to have an early evening meal at The Royal Windsor.

royal windsor pub

Royal Windsor pub: Licenced premises since 1727!

One of the oldest pubs in Windsor, it is located opposite Windsor & Eton Riverside train station, so perfect for a bite to eat on the way into or out of the town centre. Even at 5.30pm it was busy with late afternoon visitors popping in for a drink or early diners ordering delicious food. There's a great range on the menu to choose from plus a big cocktail menu for those on a night out.

royal windsor pub lunch

Royal Windsor pub lunch: a lovely meal at the Royal Windsor pub

It was a lovely way to spend a day in Windsor and left us with a list of more things to come back for!

Related

Military History Walk - Royal Windsor Tours
Tour
Royal Windsor Tours

If you want to learn more about Windsor’s military history join Royal Windsor Tours on a 'Military History Walk', bringing to life the notoriety of some of the Royals and the Military in Windsor.

Windsor Duck Tours
Boat Trip
Windsor Duck Tours

You haven’t seen Windsor until you’ve seen it by Duck! Laugh, learn and enjoy our 1 hour live guided tour by road and river. Our unique adventure begins in the heart of Windsor, taking in the famous sights before ‘SPLASHDOWN’ into the River Thames, travelling downstream to Windsor with unforgettable views of Windsor Castle and Eton.

The Royal Windsor
Pub/Inn
The Royal Windsor Public House & Dining

The Royal Windsor offers artisan drinking and dining with spectacular views of Windsor Castle.

Windsor Great Park
Country / Royal Park
View of Windsor Castle from Windsor Great Park

Windsor Great Park covers 4,800 acres, huge parts of which are open to the public. Windsor Great Park is the perfect place for picnics, eating, shopping, running, walking, cycling, horse riding and fishing. Families will love the children's play area near The Savill Garden.

Windsor Royal Station
Shopping Centre
Windsor Royal Station, image courtesy Doug Harding

With over 40 exciting shops, a wide range of continental-style restaurants, cafes, bars and an art and craft market open seven days a week, Windsor Royal Station is the crown jewel of shopping destinations in the beautiful, historic town of Windsor.

Windsor & Royal Borough Museum
Museum
Visitors enjoying activities at the Museum

The Windsor & Royal Borough Museum is a registered/accredited, family-friendly and accessible small local history museum in a Grade 1 listed building completed in 1689. Come and discover the history of the town and the area. Listen to the stories of people who lived and worked here.

The Harte and Garter Hotel and Spa
Hotel
The Harte and Garter Hotel and Spa

The Harte & Garter Hotel & Spa, sits perfectly in the shadow of Windsor Castle, offering a distinctive location for either business or pleasure.

George Inn
Inn
George Inn, Eton

Located beside the bridge connecting Eton with Windsor Castle, the George Inn is Windsor’s most characterful inn, operated by the award winning local Windsor & Eton Brewery.

Windsor Castle
Castle / Fort
Windsor Castle's Round Tower (daytime) – photographer: John Freeman, Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world and The Queen's favourite weekend home. Entry to St George's Chapel is also included (except on Sundays when the chapel is closed to visitors but open to worshippers).

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