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How to Spend 24 Hours in Windsor, England

How to Spend 24 Hours in Windsor, England

Picture of Annie Hopkins
Updated: 21 December 2017

The picturesque Berkshire town of Windsor is not only a favourite weekend getaway of Queen Elizabeth, but will also soon play host to the wedding of American actress Meghan Markle and everyone’s favourite cheeky redhead, Prince Harry. Known for its resplendent castle and rich history, with a great choice of pit stops for snacking and shops to explore, your Windsor itinerary will fill up in no time.

Here’s our guide to spending 24 hours in this pleasantly posh holiday spot.

Have brunch at Craft Coffee House

These guys are experts on bagels. Knock back a coffee (their house blend includes beans from Brazil and Guatemala, with notes of orange, nougat and caramel), then choose from their varied breakfast menu or imaginative bagel fillings. Craft Coffee House has the perfect friendly atmosphere to kickstart a day exploring this distinguished town.

Head straight for Windsor Castle

Topping your to-do list should be 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, keeping an eye out for 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.

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Windsor Castle | © Kathryn Yengel/Flickr

Wander Windsor Great Park

Some 5,000 acres in size, Windsor Great Park is a glorious place to while away an hour or two after you’ve had your fill of history and grandeur at the castle. Watch red deer on its pretty lawns, explore its small woods and even take in its lovely river, the Battle Bourne, which runs towards the Thames.

The Copper Horse statue, which depicts George III on horseback, marks the end of the Long Walk, an impressive pathway leading from the George IV gateway at Windsor Castle out to Snow Hill. A marvellous spot for a photo or two, capturing the castle in the distance.

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The Copper Horse, Great Park, Windsor | © tpholland/Flickr

Stroll through Savill Garden

Another part of the Great Park worth your time is Britain’s first ornamental garden, Savill Garden. The ten-pound entrance fee may deter some, but if rare flowers and plants float your boat, it’s a small price to pay for the incredible seasonal displays of colourful petals and arching branches. With a smart modern café and light, airy shop full of souvenirs to take home, Savill Garden is a Windsor destination in and of itself.

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Savill Gardens, Windsor | © Karen Roe/Flickr

Eat lunch at the Duchess of Cambridge

Billed as ‘a pub good enough for the royals’, the Duchess of Cambridge opened in 2011 and claims to take inspiration from the Royal Wedding of its namesake Kate Middleton and her groom Prince William. With a hearty menu including homemade pies, classic roast dinners and rich desserts, this is a truly British way to re-fuel on your Windsor adventure.

Relax by the riverside

A stroll beside the river can’t be a bad idea after that delicious lunch. Let your food sink down as you follow the Thames where it curves its way between Windsor and neighbouring Eton. Have a cup of tea at one of the many pleasant cafés dotted along the riverbank, or stop to feed the swans and watch the boats drift by. Cross Windsor Town Bridge for an even better view.

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Windsor Bridge | © Karen Roe/Flickr 

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.

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Eton College, Windsor | © Francesco Giordano/Flickr

Hit the shops

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.

Dine (a bit) like a queen at The Oxford Blue

There are countless gorgeous places to tuck into a well-deserved feast at the end of your day in Windsor and many, such as the Boatman and Gilbey’s, offer sumptuous British cuisine that won’t break the bank. If you are feeling frivolous, however, The Oxford Blue will cost a little more but should be money seriously well spent. Will elegant presentation and unique flavour combinations, this cosy restaurant has had five-star reviews across the board. Well, when in Windsor, we suppose…

What we thought… @amyloubro1 "It was scrumdiddlyumptious! … The butter!" 🤤 @neckerheadchef "The menu choices are phenomenal and you know what ever you choose is going to be sensational. I loved the the herb garden and selection of seasonal ingredients. Well done guys! First class!" 👏🏽 @bingers100 "This place is sharp! I even got to choose my own knife!" 🍴 @beautifulbybreakfast "They've thought of everything! We come here because we know we are going to have a food experience that we will be talking about for ages! I always say that you can judge somewhere on it's restrooms… and theirs are the best I've ever been in!" 🚽 ______________________________________________________ #food #theoxfordblue #pub #menu #foodie #foodlover #foodblogger #chef #cheflife #sunday #flatlay

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Sip some classy cocktails

To round off your evening, make a beeline for Gogos bar by the riverside. For a kaleidoscope of cocktails not unreasonably priced, this is a top-class starting point for your evening on the town. Remember, this town is a royal residence, so behaviour should be tip-top. Gogos’ mocktail options may be a sensible option, just in case you have to curtsey at a moment’s notice.