What to do in and around Windsor
THE LONG WALK
This is a much filmed walk leading from Windsor Castle to the Copper Horse and is used by the Royal Family to enter and leave the Castle. The Frogmore Royal Mausoleum which can be seen in the distance was built by Queen Victoria to house Prince Albert and herself.
NELL GWYNN’S HOUSE
Burford House on Church Street which dates back to 1640 was the residence of Nell Gwynn, a famous actress and who (as she called herself) was King Charles II’s Protestant Whore. A tunnel is reputed to connect Burford House with the Castle.
RIVER TRIPS FROM WINDSOR
French Brothers operate trips from an area near Eton Bridge offering 35 minute trips which go upstream to Boveney Lock and 2 hour cruises going to Monkey Island, Maidenhead.
Salters offer trips to Staines and Marlow.
The boats are furnished with licensed bars.
WINDSOR & ETON SIGHTSEEING TOUR (hop on hop off)
The sight seeing buses provide 50 minute tours incorporating Windsor Castle, The Long Walk, Eton College and much more with a pre-recorded commentary.
HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE TOURS
The carriages leave from the taxi rank outside the Castle walls for a 30-minute tour through Windsor and down the Long Walk to Home Park or for the 1-hour tour continuing on to Great Park, via the deer park. Both tours return to town by the same route. The carriages seat 4 or 8 people. In the summer the 4-seater is open-top, in winter the 8-seater is enclosed. Visitors can find the carriage outside the castle, opposite the Queen Victoria statue on the High Street
Renowned for the signing of the Magna Carta by King John in 1215. The Charter established the principle of constitutional monarchy and affirmed the individual’s rights to justice and liberty (in theory anyway). The American constitution was subsequently based on this Charter.
Also located at Runnymede meadow is the Kennedy Memorial.
WINDSOR GREAT PARK
This contains over four thousand eight hundred acres of woodland, farmland, open fields and glades which used to be part of the Great Royal Hunting Forest. Although Crown property, much of it is now open to the general public and forms a delightful setting for picnics and quiet strolls. Also within the Great Park there lies the world famous Legoland.
Developed under the patronage of Kings and Queens, The Savill Garden was created in the 1930s by Sir Eric Savill. Regarded as one of Britain’s greatest ornamental gardens, it never fails to charm visitors who come to explore its contemporary and classically designed.
The gardens are open throughout the year and are situated close to Windsor Great Park. Reputed to be one of the Late Queen Mother’s favourite gardens and spanning over 40 acres, they are considered to be one of the finest gardens of its type in the northern temperate region of the world.
The most eye-catching new addition to The Royal Landscape is the award winning Savill Building, opened in June 2006, with its undulating roof, shaped like a leaf, merging with the tall trees surrounding it.
THE THEATRE ROYAL
This is one of the most elegant theatres in the country with its auditorium richly decorated in red, gold and white surmounted by a magnificent chandelier. Many West End productions have evolved at this theatre and many are transferred there. The quality of performances are usually no less than outstanding. The Royal Family are frequent visitors to their local theatre, often bringing their Ascot parties.
One of the finest private race courses in Britain, magnificently located next to River Thames. Travelling to the race course by boat from Eton Bridge is a particularly enjoyable experience.
This is one of the most famous racecourses in the world with the first race meeting having been held there more than 270 years ago in the presence of Queen Anne. Royal Ascot combines the very best horse racing with traditional pageantry and style in a perfect setting. It forms the highlight of the summer social calendar, an atmospheric cocktail of priceless thoroughbreds and spectacular fashions.
This is undoubtedly one of the finest Tudor houses of its type left in Britain.
The Palmers have lived at Dorney Court since 1628 but the house has been on the site since 1513. It is believed that it was at Dorney Court that the first pineapple grown in Britain was nurtured and it was presented to King Charles II by the royal gardener by the name of Rose.
The Grade 1 listed building is designated as being of outstanding architectural and historical interest.
This world famous public school (meaning private) has educated boys, including no fewer than 19 British Prime Ministers, including our newly elected one. Until recently, the School was also attended by Princes William and Harry, together with a host of foreign Princes.
Eton was founded in 1440 to provide an education for seventy poor scholars – and still does provide these seventy scholarships today – no doubt more than made up for by the 1200 boys who have to pay fees in excess of £20,000 per annum.
Tours of the College are available daily in the afternoons and “Lower School” the room where the tour begins must be one of the oldest classrooms in the country. Pillars inserted to avoid calamity are said to have come from the timbers of Spanish Galleons sunk in the Armada.
The public can also visit the College Chapel on various musical occasions. Excellent performances are enhanced by the fan-vaulted ceiling, which is not as it looks, medieval, but a repair completed in 1959. The Chapel lost its glass through bomb damage but some of the finest work of the modern artist, John Piper took its place. This series alone, on the parables and the miracles, makes the visit well worthwhile.
You can also see the Museum of Eton Life, containing many mementoes of the school’s history through the ages and a short film covering Eton’s activities. Interesting as they may be, an extra pleasure can be to study the rather dazed bewilderment of some of the overseas visitors not usually exposed to the British passion for tradition.
The addition of the designer collection of shops within the Windsor Royal Station has enhanced the town’s reputation as one of the most stylish shopping centres outside of London with top fashion designer names, high street outlets and three department stores plus a treasure trove of specialist shops offering rare antiques, collectors’ items and gifts.
A WINDSOR TALE ….
This is true story. Once upon a time in the year 1770, a pharmacy called Woods of Windsor began in the shadow of Windsor Castle. In those days, the resident apothecary served not only needs of the Royal Family in the Castle but also the Court, distinguished visitors and the townspeople of Windsor.
Exactly two centuries later, in 1970, Roger and Kathleen Knowles acquired what was by then a run down pharmacy and while cleaning out the attic discovered old recipe and prescription books dating back to the founding of the business. the new owners found that they had uncovered a treasure trove of original perfume formulae and began to produce fragrant perfumery, gentlemen’s toiletries and scented pot pourris packaged to reflect the historic environment in which they had been originally created. The old books were bound to preserve them for posterity.
Since this discovery Woods of Windsor has expanded to over 40 countries and the original shop in Windsor is now the company’s flagship store. Built in 1699, it stands on the corner of Thames Street and Queen Charlotte Street which at 51 feet 1 inch is England’s shortest street.