Top 10 things to do in Windsor
1. Visit The Queen’s official home: Windsor Castle. The world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle, is an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen. Highlights include the State Apartments, St George’s Chapel, the burial place of ten monarchs, and Queen Mary’s Dolls House. The Changing of the Guard, usually accompanied by a band, takes place at 11:00 daily from April until the end of July and on alternate days for the rest of the year (weather permitting and except Sundays). The best viewing point is the Corn Exchange at the famous Windsor Guildhall.
Once inside the Castle, you can watch the actual changing ceremony outside the Guardroom in the Lower Ward at 11.00am. www.royalcollection.org.uk
2. Learn to play polo. The Royal Borough hosts polo at a number of venues featuring the world’s top professionals and plenty of opportunities to take part in half time ‘divot stamping’ – Pretty Woman style. National and International teams compete, with their entourage of ponies (never horses!) Lessons are also available where you can learn the rules and tactics and perfect your polo swing. No experience necessary. www.windsor.gov.uk
3. Dine out celebrity chef style. Looking for top notch dining? The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead offers Michelin stars, celebrity chefs and world-class cuisine. The latest addition is Antony Worrall Thompson’s Windsor Grill. A stone’s throw from The Long Walk, the Windsor Grill menu boasts an unrivalled range of prime Aberdeenshire steaks, handmade burgers, exquisite fish and seafood dishes and daily changing specials. In the nearby village of Bray you can choose from two, three-starred Michelin restaurants – The Waterside Inn run by Michel Roux and The Fat Duck run by Heston Blumenthal – once voted best restaurant in the world. These are two of only four triple-starred Michelin restaurants in the UK. www.AWTRestaurants.com ,www.waterside-inn.co.uk , www.thefatduck.co.uk
4.Take a walk along the River Thames.The Thames is one of the most historic rivers in the world. There is something particularly magical about the river here, offering easy strolls along the Thames Path, with great views of Windsor, Eton College and the castle. The 8 mile walk to Maidenhead is delightful .You can also take a short detour from the path to visit Dorney Court manor house. Just before Maidenhead the river passes under Brunel’s Maidenhead railway bridge The arch the Thames passes under is known as the Sounding Arch because of its spectacular echo – give it a try!
5. Tour Eton College. World famous Eton College opens its doors to visitors from April to October. Founded in 1440 by King Henry VI, the School dress still consists of a black tailcoat, waistcoat and pin-striped trousers introduced in the 1850s. Eton has educated 19 British Prime Ministers, Princes William and Harry and four times Olympic Gold Medal rower Sir Matthew Pinsent. Short guided tours of approximately one hour in length are available. Pre-booking is essential. www.etoncollege.com
6. Discover Windsor’s Olympic heritage. Book a private walking tour for your group with an expert Blue Badge tourist guide and discover Windsor’s Olympic heritage. Hear the amazing story of the 1908 Olympic marathon and why the official marathon route is 26 miles and 385 yards. Legend has it that the start of the marathon was moved to the Castle’s East Terrace because the then Princess of Wales wanted her children to see the race. See the only 1908 marathon route marker on Eton High Street and walk along part of the actual route. Also visit The Long Walk to see where the 1948 Olympic road cycle race took place. www.windsortouristguides.co.uk
7. The Savill Garden. The Savill Garden is part of The Royal Landscape, which also includes the Valley Gardens and Virginia Water. It is one of England’s finest woodland and ornamental gardens with 35 acres of trees, shrubbery, ponds and streams, lawns, meadows and formal beds which are home to some of the world’s most decorative plants. The new rose garden was opened by The Queen in June 2010. This exciting and contemporary garden is best visited from mid- June to September. www.thecrownestate.co.uk
8. Horse-drawn carriage ride through the Royal Landscape. Explore Windsor Great Park in style with a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride. Ascot Carriages offers scenic drives in a beautiful carriage previously used by the Queen’s Equerry and Horsemaster. Orchard Poyle runs tours from outside Windsor Castle and down The Long Walk to Home Park.www.ascotcarriages.co.uk, www.orchardpoyle.co.uk
9. Count swans with HM Swan Marker. Follow The Queen’s Swan Marker, the Royal Swan Uppers and the Swan Uppers of the Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies. The party use six traditional Thames rowing skiffs and The Queen’s Swan Uppers wear scarlet uniforms. When a brood of cygnets is sighted, a cry of “All up!” is given to signal that the boats should get into position. On passing Windsor Castle, the rowers stand to attention in their boats with oars raised and salute “Her Majesty The Queen, Seigneur of the Swans”. After weighing, measuring and a quick health check the swans are released back to the river Thames. www.royalswan.co.uk
10. Attend evensong at St George’s Chapel. The Choir of St George’s Chapel is one of the leading Church Choirs in the country. It comprises 24 boy choristers and twelve Lay Clerks singing alto, tenor and bass. They perform Evensong at 5.15 pm (sung every day except Wednesdays) in a service which lasts approx. 45 minutes. Founded in 1348, the choir sings regularly in the presence of the Queen and other members of the Royal family and has a large repertoire of music drawn from all ages and traditions. www.stgeorges-windsor.org.