What could possibly be more English than a stay at the historic market town of Windsor, favourite weekend destination of the Queen herself? Home to beautiful parks, fabulous shopping and not forgetting its fairy-tale–worthy castle, this picturesque Berkshire town is truly regal. Just west of London and with the River Thames running proudly through its heart, Windsor will soon host one of the most anticipated weddings of the century: when Prince Harry ties the knot with Hollywood starlet Meghan Markle in May 2018.
Read our guide to the 10 best things to see and do in Windsor.
Explore Windsor Castle
Topping the list is Windsor’s primary claim to fame: Windsor Castle. It’s at this striking 11th-century building where our beloved Queen Liz spends part of her year. The palace is said to be the longest-occupied royal residence in the whole of Europe.
Stride up the magnificent ‘Long Walk’ path towards the castle, possibly spotting a red deer on your journey. Head inside to breathe in its luxurious interior and be sure to gaze at Queen Mary’s exquisite Dolls’ House, too!
Adventure to Legoland
Though you’re unlikely to glimpse Her Majesty hurtling top-speed on the Dragon Ride rollercoaster, for an enchanting day out, head to Legoland. With iconic scenes and UK cities built painstakingly out of Legos, this day out is escapism for all the family.
Take a carriage ride through Windsor’s Great Park
For a taste of the high life, choose a classy carriage ride through Windsor’s stunning Great Park. You can practice your royal wave as you glide through the lush trees and immaculate lawns. Horseback riding is also an option if you’d rather gallop your way through the pretty scenery.
…and wander through Savill Gardens
This gorgeous spot is a little gem in the sprawling acres of Windsor’s Great Park. With colourful flower beds and arching trees, these well-cared-for gardens are a pleasant place to stroll and take in some terrifically English horticulture.
Go to the races at Ascot
No visit to Windsor would be complete without a glamorous day out at the Ascot racecourse. The thrill of placing a bet on your favourite horse, clinking champagne glasses and thundering hooves lets you feel like a royal for the day. Don your most flamboyant hat, though, or they might not let you in.
Visit Eton College
The fanciest school in all the land, Eton College has educated royals and politicians alike. With its upright architecture and castle-style crenellations, it’s not hard to believe some of the country’s richest spent their school days scampering these imposing corridors. The school offers a seasonal program of guided tours and provides a true taste of how the other half lives.
Cross Windsor Town Bridge
The majestic River Thames guides boatmen (and women) on their merry way through Windsor’s heart, flanked by bobbing geese and the Queen’s very own swans. A wonderful way to take in its charm is from Windsor Town Bridge. Opened in 1824, the three-arched bridge joins Windsor with its neighbouring Eton. Cross on foot or cycle along to admire the view.
Sip real ale at a traditional English pub
For a true slice of England, there’s nothing like sitting down to a roast lunch with a refreshing pint of best bitter. Though Windsor is home to many a characterful bar, the Two Brewers and the Duchess of Cambridge are among the most popular for moreish fare and thirst-quenching local beers.
Take an open-top bus tour
Though living like a local is the Holy Grail of holiday-making, it can also be brilliant fun to embrace the fact you’re a tourist. Catching an open-top bus is actually the perfect way to take in the Windsor’s loveliness while having a nice sit-down. You’ll spot the highlights from a flattering angle (especially if you choose the top deck), so wrap up warm and hope for sunshine, and you can take in Windsor in more depth than many residents ever have before.
Shop ’til you drop
One of the key reasons to visit beautiful Windsor is to enjoy the town’s glorious selection of shops. For some retail therapy, head over to Windsor Royal Shopping, located inside a Grade-II listed Victorian railway station. Lots of the original features (like the Jubilee Arch and Queen Victoria’s Royal Waiting Room) remain intact, turning this shopping spree into a walk-on role in a period drama.