What to See and Do in Windsor
Here is a list of almost everything that you can do in and around Windsor. If there is anything missed out, its probably so bad its not worth visiting! And if it is worth visiting, please let us know.
1. In Windsor (Times in brackets are approximate times from Langton House)
Windsor Castle (8 minutes walk) www.royalresidences.com
Windsor Castle is one of three official residences of The Queen and has been home to the Sovereign for over 900 years. The Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. The imposing towers and battlements of the Castle loom large from every approach to the town, creating one of the world’s most spectacular skylines. No other royal residence has played such an important role in the nation’s history.
From September until March the semi-state rooms are also open to the public. These were created by George IV in the 1820s as part of a new series of Royal Apartments for his personal occupation. They continue in use by The Queen for official entertaining. Damaged in the 1992 fire, they have been restored to their original appearance and contain furniture and works of art chosen by George IV. The semi-state rooms include The Green Drawing Room, The Crimson Drawing Room, The State Dining Room and The Octagon Dining Room.
When the Queen is in residence the Royal Standard flies from the Round Tower. At all other times you will see the Union Flag.
Windsor Castle is open daily from 9:45am to 5:15pm with last admission at 4pm. (Times for summer months, winter times may vary slightly)
The purchase of tickets allows you to register on your first visit for a year’s unlimited admission.
Recorded Info. Tel: 01753 831118;
Castle Info. Tel: 01753 868286.
For a special day at Windsor Castle, add a guided tour of the Great Kitchen to your visit. The tour takes you to areas not normally open to the public and provides a fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes life of the Castle.
More information at www.royalcollection.org.uk
Recommended Visit Time of at least 2 hours, usually 3 or 4 hours.
The Changing of the Guard
The Changing of the Guard takes place in Windsor Castle at 11am every day (except Sundays) during summer, although it is only during alternate days during the winter, and includes a colourful marching band in full regimental regalia along the High Street and Castle Hill. The new Guard march to the Castle before 11am; the old Guard return at 11:30am. The Guards can all be seen from outside the castle, but to actually see the Guard changing you must be in the Castle. Please see local information as to which days this wonderful pageant occurs.
Eton College (15 minutes walk) www.etoncollege.com
The world famous all boys school, recently educating the future king of England amongst other European nobility.
Eton College was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI to provide free education for 70 poor scholars who would then go on to further their education at King’s College, Cambridge. Life in the early days was harsh, rats ran free and the boys had to wash outside using only cold water. From these 70 scholars, the school has expanded to about 1,300 boys aged from 13 to 18 who are admitted by competitive examination, and has become one of the most exclusive schools in the world.
Eton has educated 19 former British Prime Ministers including the Duke of Wellington, Walpole, Pitt the Elder, MacMillan, Douglas-Holme and David Cameron. The School Dress still consists of a black tailcoat and waistcoat, and pin-striped trousers which dates from the 1850s. Tours of the College are a fascinating experience, which includes the Cloisters, the Chapel, the oldest classroom in the College and the Museum of Eton Life.
Set amidst the extensive Home Park of Windsor Castle, Frogmore House is surrounded by fine and picturesque gardens. The house dates from the 1680s and was purchased for Queen Charlotte in 1792. Here the queen was able to indulge her love of botany and laid out the garden with many rare and unusual plants.
At one time the house belonged to Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent. After her death, her son-in-law, Prince Albert, commissioned the building of an elegant mausoleum to hold her remains.
Queen Victoria was particularly fond of Frogmore’s peaceful ambience and it became her favourite retreat. Victoria and Albert’s love of Frogmore led them to break with tradition and build a much larger and grander mausoleum for themselves.
Thames river cruise (15 minutes walk) www.boat-trips.co.uk
The opportunity to see Windsor from the most ideal viewpoint, giving the passengers the famous and dramatic aspect of the castle. Trips from Windsor Promenade, either up or down river. Trips last from 35 minutes to 2 hours.
Tel: 01753 851900
City Sightseeing www.citysightseeing.co.uk
Open top site seeing tour of Windsor & Eton. Professionally guided tour, 1 hour circular route. Tourist tacky but still the best way for an overview of the town. Operating daily from March – December. Tel: 0871 666 0000
Guided Walks of Windsor & Eton www.windsorwalks.co.uk and www.windsor-tours.co.uk
Blue Badge Guides
You can enjoy a lighthearted Sunday stroll and saunter led by a qualified Blue Badge Guide. You will discover hidden haunts, nooks and crannies; places you never knew existed. Travel back in time, relive the past and experience the present whilst exploring the two famous towns of Windsor and Eton.
Adults £5, Advantage Card Holders £4.50, under 15s free.
Windsor Land Train
A new “attraction” or at least another way to get about Windsor is the Land Train. Started in 2009 this small train will take you from the coach park into the centre of Windsor.
Horse Drawn Carriage
Half hour and one hour trips by horse drawn carriage on the Long Walk and around Windsor. Tel: 01784 435983. Can be found most days outside the Castle.
Legoland (5 minutes drive or by shuttle bus) www.legoland.co.uk
The world famous leisure park, incorporating many educationally themed attractions, the entertainment is certainly hands-on. Parents and children can experience the thrills of the Dragon Roller Coaster, Pirate Falls and the Adventurers Wave Surfer, plus children can take to the road to earn their very own LEGOLAND Driving Licence. See our very own Langton Houses’ Parents Survival Guide to Legoland.
The Windsor Guildhall is a Grade I listed building and is over 300 years old. It was designed by Sir Thomas Fitz and after his death completed by the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren, whose father was Dean of Windsor. The foundation stone was laid on 5th September 1687 and the building was completed on 17th October 1689. On close inspection you will notice that the central columns do not touch the ceiling and tradition has it that the councilor’s of the time, against Wren’s wishes, insisted on adding the columns in the interest of safety. Wren, not to be outdone, and to prove that his original plans were safe, left the columns an inch short of the ceiling. Recent venue in 2005 for the weddings of Prince Charles and Camilla as well as Elton John to David Furnish and now partly used for the Windsor Town Museum.
Windsor & Royal Borough Museum
The museum is a registered, family-friendly and accessible small local history museum in a Grade I listed building situated in the Guild Hall. Come and discover the history of the town and the area. Listen to the stories of people who lived and worked here
Sports Centre (10 minutes walk)
Gym, wave and exercise pools, water slides, sun beds, aerobics, housed in a modern and airy building, built on the site of the world famous Ricky Tick R & B Club, burnt down in the 1960’s. One of the starting points for Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones amongst many others and regulars included Rod Stewart, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck.
Windsor Theatre (10 www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk
Opposite the ancient walls of the castle, this recently renovated Victorian Theatre presents many classic and contemporary plays and a wonderful Panto every Christmas.
Windsor Arts Centre (4 minutes walk) www.windsorartscentre.org
Housed in the old Victorian fire station, this arts centre is famous for its alternative acts and vegetarian menu. This hive of cultural activity offers a year round program of events in all artistic areas and to all ages. Activities include music, dance, drama, comedy, films and exhibitions. There are also a variety of workshops and classes for those interested in exploring their creative potential or developing their artistic talents.
Household Cavalry museum – Combermere Barracks (8 minutes walk)
A working barracks housing the Blues and Royals Cavalry Regiment. The small museum houses a history of the regiment and would be of interest to anyone interested in military history. Currently closed and relocating to London.
Bowls green (5 minutes walk)
Hidden in the shadow of the castle, this quintessential symbol of Englishness nestles in a quiet area close to the river Thames but still in the heart of the town.
Royal Windsor Racecourse (15 minutes walk) www.windsor-racecourse.co.uk
Summer only, Monday evenings mainly. A beautiful racecourse, one of the only figure of eight courses left in England, is next to the river Thames and undoubtedly one of the most picturesque parts of Windsor. Famous for a short trip out of London and frequented by many local stars. Tel: 01753 498400
Windsor Royal Station www.windsorroyalshopping.co.uk
Set amidst the grandeur of the refurbished Victorian railway station, Windsor Royal Station offers more than 40 exciting shops ranging from quality fashion to quality homeware and gifts. With continental style cafes and restaurants it is the perfect place to sip a cappuccino, soak up the atmosphere and watch the world go by.
Windsor Roller Rink, Cycle Hire and Skate Park(5 minutes walk) www.extrememotion.com
Alexandra Gardens, Alma Road, Windsor. Tel 01753 830220. Open 7 days a week. 10am – 10pm (seasonal)
Now with mini-golf. Good place to sit and have a drink while watching the children tiring themselves out!
Local Night Clubs :- Liquid, Vanilla
Available from Windsor Information.
National Tourist Information
British Tourist Authority Web Site www.visitbritain.com