A small town southwest of London - this could have been the entire description of Windsor if it was not for one crucial fact. Windsor is one of the few cities where a Queen has a residence. Moreover, that's the place where she likes spending her autumns. It's not surprising that the majority of travelers who come to Great Britain would want to see Windsor. The town prepared many pleasant surprises for its guests. A visit to the royal residence is just one of the many points on the to-do list in Windsor. A program for a weekend promises to be quite eventful!
Districts of Windsor
The small territory of Windsor explains the fact why it doesn't have any strict administrative division in the city. Tourists can choose any area to stay in. There is no difficulty in getting to the center or the main attractions.
As far as the most famous streets are concerned, local citizens and guests of Windsor prefer the following ones:
- Kings Road with a cozy atmosphere and gorgeous houses in Georgian style;
- The Long Walk is a developed area with restaurants and shops;
- A so-called Windsor Golden Triangle that includes such streets as Gloucester Place, Adelaide Square, Frances Road.
Every list of Windsor's attractions starts with the Royal Castle. This is an iconic landmark of the city. However, places of interest don't end here. Windsor greets its guests with beautiful architecture, ancient buildings, and cathedrals. The city and its neighborhoods offer many parks and each of them is a marvelous tourist destination. When you take a tour of Windsor's attractions, you will most definitely feel the spirit of genuine England - aristocratic, magnificent, and atmospheric.
History of the city
In the Middle Ages, New Windsor ranked among the fifty wealthiest cities in England. The town was flourishing: trading was in bloom, the castle was rebuilt and expanded. The end of the XV century became the period of the mass pilgrimage of people who came to New Windsor only to visit the shrine of Henry VI and touch the fragment of the True Cross.
Ten years after the Reformation, New Windsor was actively built up. At the same time, it was quite a poor and unattractive town. During the English Civil War, Colonel Venn had his headquarters here. After his departure, Roundheads occupied the city. Charles I was buried in New Windsor in 1649. The situation in the town did not change even after Charles II had come to power. The decline and devastation had been continuing until the beginning of the XIX century.
Kings returned to New Windsor in 1778. In 1840, Windsor Castle became the residence of Queen Victoria. A new status favored a quick construction of the railway and the rapid development of the city. It turned into the capital of the empire and attracted leaders of many European states. In 1974, the city received its modern name - Windsor. The royal castle became a record-holder on the amount of time its owners spend in their estate.
Modern Windsor is one of the most popular tourist cities in Great Britain. It has a pleasant atmosphere of calmness and appeasement, and thousands of travelers from all over the world come here every year.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit Windsor
As autumn comes, the weather gradually becomes worse. Windsor greets its guests with gloomy and rainy days. The air temperature decreases to +10 °С. The high humidity level makes strolls less comfortable. Winter months are the same, but the temperature decreases to -5 °С, and the days are considerably shorter. In spring, Windsor comes back to life and amazes everyone with its gorgeous parks. It's incredibly charming in this season.
If you want to attend a holiday during your trip to Windsor, we can recommend you to plan your vacation for the middle of May. That's when the famous Royal Windsor Horse Show is held. It gathers guests from all over the world. A visit to Windsor during Christmas and New Year holidays is not less fascinating. The city is decorated with millions of lights and sparks.
If you travel with another person and come to Windsor on a train (from London, for example), you can use the "2for1" discount. Usually, tourists choose it to visit attractions in London, however, it will also give you a discount at Legoland Windsor Resort. The "2for1" discount means that two persons can enter the amusement park with one ticket. You just need to print a voucher in advance (or take it in the tourist bureau) and show your train tickets at the box office. NB! The list of attractions the discount includes can change from time to time. You can clarify the up-to-date information on the website daysoutquide.co.uk.
Great Britain has left-hand traffic, and Windsor is not an exception. If you plan to rent a car, you should take this nuance into account. Besides, gas stations are hard to find on highways between the cities. Therefore, if you plan a long-distance trip, you have to make sure you have enough fuel.
Another piece of advice for the tourists who come to Windsor by train from London is regarding Windsor Castle. You can purchase the entry ticket in the box office of the castle. However, you should be ready to stand in lines (for at least one hour or more). Buying a ticket at the booking office of the railway station together with train tickets can save you time. Visitors with these tickets go through another line that is considerably smaller than the main one.
What should a tourist do in Windsor?
Unlike London, which requires at least one week of your time, if you want to see the main sights, it will take you a couple of days to see the most exciting attractions in Windsor. Many tourists even come here for just one day. However, we still highly recommend you to devote a whole weekend to this city. That's the plan for your holiday:
- Visit Windsor Castle - a current residence of the English Queen. Most tourists come to Windsor only to see the castle. It's considered to be the largest and the most beautiful one in Great Britain and amazes guests with its splendor. Spacious halls, royal apartments, a Throne room - it's easy to feel yourself like a member of a Royal Family in this atmosphere.
- Check out St. George's Chapel. This shrine is, without doubt, one of the main attractions on the territory of Windsor Castle. The marvelous Gothic architecture astonishes you at first sight. The chapel looks majestic and quite impressive. That's the place where thirty-five members of the Royal Family are buried.
- Go into raptures over the fabulous Queen Mary's Dolls' House. This is, perhaps, the most incredible attraction you can see in Windsor Castle. The unique dolls' house consists of more than forty rooms, has two elevators, furniture, various technical devices, electrical illumination, and even a water supply system. By the way, Queen Mary got this miniature masterpiece at the age of 57!
- Stroll along the shady alleys of the Royal Garden. The beauty of the park located nearby Windsor Castle is impressive. Besides, it's a pleasure to know that the Queen herself also walks down these paths. You may even ride a horse or rent a bicycle in the park, or throw a picnic and attend the Botanic garden.
- Take a photo in a costume from the Victorian era. There is a unique photo studio not far from Windsor Castle. Everyone who feels like it, can try on traditional English outfits: guards' uniform or a costume of Sherlock Holmes for men, and a lacy dress, gloves, hats with feathers for women. In addition to clothes, a tourist gets a decoration in the form of an English mansion and a goldish photo frame.
- Feel like a child again in Legoland Windsor Resort. A theme park with attraction is a must-visit place if you travel with children. It offers an enormous territory, beautiful decorations, and a wide range of attractions for children of various ages. There might be too many people in the park on weekends. Experienced travelers advise buying a q-bot in advance not to waste time in lines.
- Take a water-tour along the Thames river. Watching Windsor from water is a unique delight, especially when we are talking about the Thames. Tourists can choose from several types of cruise ships and barges. Many of them offer theme parties and lunch or dinner on the water. The combination of architecture and picturesque nature will bring many delightful emotions to travelers.
- Take a tour of the brewery. It's one of the most extraordinary and memorable attractions for adult tourists. A trip to a brewery will tell you more about the traditions of brewing, let you watch various production stages, and taste different sorts of beer that are produced in Windsor.
- Visit Eton College. The most aristocratic education establishment in Great Britain is located across the bridge from Windsor Castle. It's a college for boys and young men. The education is quite expensive even by English standards. However, it's considered to be prestigious and extremely noble.