With its stunning castle, glorious Great Park, stylish shopping and wonderful restaurants, Windsor is the perfect location for a weekend away
Why visit Windsor?
Windsor is situated on a sweeping curve of the River Thames and is dominated by its magnificent castle. It is a wonderful place for a romantic weekend and its many attractions make it a great destination for a fun-filled break with family and friends.
A tour of the castle is essential on any visit to the town and highlights include the lavish State Apartments and the picturesque St George’s Chapel. You can enjoy wonderful views of the castle from the Thames Path or on one of the many boat trips available in the town.
Windsor Great Park is home to ancient woodlands and some stunning gardens and is a great place to relax and unwind. With miles of walking paths and cycle routes to explore it is also a fantastic destination for walkers and cyclists.
Why not spend a day at the races? Windsor Racecourse stages race days and many other exciting events throughout the year, including a popular family fun day. Families will also enjoy the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort as well as other local attractions.
Well known for its stylish shopping, Windsor is home to many up-market brands, as well as a great range of independent retailers, vintage boutiques, galleries and antique shops, making it an ideal place for a spot of retail therapy with friends.
The town has a fabulous cafe culture and boasts an impressive range of eateries including fine-dining restaurants, gastro-pubs and an impressive selection of international cuisine. Just outside the town lies the village of Bray, where you’ll find the legendary The Waterside Inn and Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck. Blumenthal also runs the Hinds Head pub in the village. Do remember to book, however – it’s essential.
Windsor has many fantastic pubs and stylish bars where you can unwind at the end of the day. The Boatman has a splendid riverside terrace and is great for sunny evenings. You’ll find live music at The Old Ticket Hall from Wednesday through to Sunday, and great comedy, music, theatre, dance and film at The Firestation Centre for Arts and Culture, while the elegant Royal Theatre stages a varied programme of events ranging from the classics to dance, music and pantomime.
A brief history
Windsor Castle has been home to the British monarchy since the time of William the Conqueror in the 11th century. The town’s history is charted from prehistoric times to the present day at the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum, which is well worth a visit. The fascinating Windsor & Eton Heritage Walking Trail is another great way to explore the town’s past. It leads you to historic landmarks and across Windsor Bridge into Eton, home of the world-famous public school. A highlight of the trail is the Guildhall, which was completed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1687. Legend has it that the town’s councillors requested Wren to install four central pillars to support the ceiling above the open ground-floor area. Despite Wren’s insistence that they were unnecessary, the council eventually got their way. Wren gave in and installed them but had the last laugh by leaving small gaps at the top of the pillars, meaning that they have never actually supported any weight from above.
When is a good time to visit Windsor?
You’ll find a great programme of events and festivals taking place in the town throughout the year, so why not plan your Windsor weekend breaks to coincide with the celebrations?
Visit in April and you may well see (or hear) the marking of the Queen’s birthday – 21 mini cannons are fired on the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park. If you love horses, then late spring and early summer are standout times of the year in Windsor. The Royal Windsor Horse Show is held in May. It’s the largest outdoor premier show in the UK and takes place in the private grounds of Windsor Castle. Events include top-level show jumping, dressage and The Shetland Pony Grand National. Royal Ascot takes place in June (Ascot Racecouse is about 7 miles away), where you’ll see many of the world’s finest racehorses, some stunning fashion and pretty out-there hats.
The annual Windsor Contemporary Art Fair is held in November and features the best in contemporary work by artists, ceramicists, printmakers, sculptors and photographers. To round off the year, there’s a whole host of events and activities in the town centre to help you get into the festive spirit. Christmas lights and a lantern procession bring a sparkle to the town and you can browse Christmas markets, see live reindeer and enjoy traditional carols.
By rail: There’s a regular direct service from London Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside, which takes just under an hour. Alternatively, Great Western runs services between London Paddington, Reading and Oxford, as well as destinations across Wales and the West Country. Change trains at Slough to catch the branch to Windsor and Eton Central.
By bus: National coach services run between Windsor and London Victoria, and there are regular bus services to and from Heathrow and Slough.
By air: Heathrow Airport is 12 miles away, and both Gatwick and Luton are less than an hour’s drive.
By road: Windsor is easily accessible from the M3, M4, M25 and M40.
So why not take a look at our hotels in Slough and indulge in all the shopping and sightseeing that you can handle.