Things to do in Windsor Summer 2022
Posted on 1st May 2022 at 14:27
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Windsor – The Queen’s favourite weekend retreat and a popular day-trip destination for Londoners. After all, it's just under an hour’s train ride from the capital. It’s also packed with royal heritage, lush nature spots and plenty of food and entertainment.
Heritage & history
If there is one thing that Windsor is known for, it has to be the royal castle – the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Founded in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, it has been home to 39 monarchs and is loved by our current queen. The castle has gold-coloured walls, elegant ceiling frescos and Queen Mary’s Doll’s House – the work of over 1,500 fine artists, with running hot and cold water, electricity, and even working lifts. Visit St George’s Chapel, built in the late 1400s, this is a majestic example of English Gothic architecture. It’s also the location of many royal weddings and the burial place for several kings and queens. Open year-round, take a tour around the state apartments used today by the Queen and other royal family members.
Eton College, just a kilometre away from Windsor Castle, is another site well worth a visit. Founded in 1440 by Henry VI, it has been the place of education for generations of foreign aristocracy and Prince William and Prince Harry. It also boasts splendid red-brick architecture with vast green grounds. Tours can be booked to visit the college grounds on Friday afternoons, where you can visit the schoolyard, the college chapel, the upper and lower school, and the Museum of Eton Life.
Other heritage sites include Frogmore House, a 17th-century country house and royal retreat enveloped in picturesque gardens, and Dorney Court, a stately Tudor manor house and a popular location for film shoots, including the massively popular Bridgerton and even the album Bohemian Rhapsody.
While you’re at the castle, why not explore the Long Walk and Deer Park? Stretching from the George IV Gateway at Windsor Castle all the way to the Copper Horse Statue on Snow Hill, the Long Walk is a straight 2.64-mile tree-lined pedestrian avenue that cuts through the deer park enclosure. Introduced in 1979 by the Duke of Edinburgh, the herd of 40 red deer has grown to roughly 500 – all of whom roam freely around the park and are accustomed to visitors. You’ll even find some of them willing to partake in the odd selfie.
The Long Walk and Deer park are part of the 5,000-acre Windsor Great Park, which also encompasses The Savill Garden, filled with rare blooming flowers and plants from around the world. These are arranged in stunning and colourful displays; the Valley Gardens, with its enchanting woodland and canopy of sweet-smelling flowers; and the Virginia Water lake, with cascading waterfalls, tranquil glittering waters, lakeside walks and abundant wildlife.
A 40-mins cruise along the Thames, listening to a commentary about the town’s various sites and history, is fun too. On this, you’ll enjoy views of Windsor Castle, Eton College, Mill House, Windsor Racecourse and the Brocas Meadows. You’ll also hear the Thames lapping soothingly against the boat while you slip under hanging willow trees.
Culture & entertainment
One feature of Windsor we certainly can’t ignore is the massive Legoland resort. You might as well add some variety to your trip and diversify to something which isn’t Royal or History-related and will prove much more exciting for the kids, anyway. With over 55 interactive rides, live shows, building workshops and driving attractions, Legoland is jam-packed with fun and skilful Lego models to impress both kids and adults alike.
While you’re exploring the town centre, Windsor Royal Station is a great stop to make. This Victorian train station also has upmarket retailers such as Mint Velvet, Hobbs, and Jigsaw.
Theatre Royal Windsor has been putting on regular shows since the early 1700s. It showed classic historical pieces, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Mozart’s premiere of The Magic Flute. Now, there are big-name productions and a variety of genres from panto to comedy, dance, musicals and drama.
If you’re looking for something a little more interactive, the Norden Farm Maidenhead Art Centre is another Windsor culture hub. Not only do they show live productions from standup comedy to music shows, but they also host a variety of creative workshops, such as life drawing, mindfulness, acoustic guitar and crochet.
Food & Drink
From fine dining and afternoon tea to salt of the earth pubs and street food, Windsor is packed with enough eateries, coffee shops and drinking establishments to please everyone.
For a lunchtime pastry or coffee break, Artefood is a brilliant little authentic Italian bakery where you can admire the view of Windsor Castle from a comfy chair with a coffee and pastry in hand. They offer freshly made Italian pastries, both sweet and savoury, charcuterie and cheese boards, ice cream, pasta dishes, sandwiches, pizzas, and more - and all with a warm smile.
For a refreshing afternoon pint, why not kick your feet up at one of the local breweries? Windsor & Eton Brewery offer brewery tours as well as a selection of home-brewed beers and regular events such as trivia nights, live music and a summer comedy festival. The Two Brewers, right next to the Castle entrance, offer English beers, fine wines and locally sourced food in an old compact 17th-century pub down one of Windsor’s oldest streets. The Corner House has ales, ciders, wines, spirits and fresh food that you can munch away at in their cosy inside or on the rooftop terrace for these warm summer nights.
The newly opened Ivy Royal Windsor Brasserie is an exciting addition to The Ivy Collection restaurants and blends in perfectly with the spirit of Windsor. The interiors exude elegance and sophistication, with red and gold features on sumptuous furnishings, curated artworks and stunning murals. They offer a variety of British and international food, with menu items like jubilee cure smoked salmon, goat’s cheese and courgette tart and lobster linguine. Located next to the Castle, it’s the perfect place to watch the changing of the guard ceremony, all whilst enjoying mouth-watering dishes and celebratory drinks.
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