Windsor is a town located about thirty kilometers west of London in Berkshire, one of England's most exclusive counties. Besides the famous castle which is the Queen's second home, the city of Windsor has a vast 2 hectare park and is home to one of the largest and most popular theme parks in the UK: Legoland.
Finally, a few kilometers from Windsor, is the prestigious Eton College, where Princes William and Harry and 19 of Her Majesty's former Prime Ministers studied and which has several museums open to the public.
After Buckingham Palace, Windsor is the second royal residence where Queen Elisabeth II stays in a private and public capacity when she receives foreign heads of state. The queen stays there most weekends but also from March to April and a week in June when she comes to attend the very prestigious Royal Ascot horse race.
As in all royal residences, if the royal standard is hoisted and Union Jack, it means that the queen is present.
Founded in 1070 by William the Conqueror, Windsor is the oldest royal castle but also the largest castle in the world with its 1000 rooms and an area of 52 m000.
Only the northern part is open to the public where one can visit the State Apartments, furnished with the most beautiful works of art from the royal collection as well as the private apartments (Semi-State Rooms) created for King George IV and today used by the Queen for official receptions.
St George's Chapel is also located in Windsor Castle, dedicated to the patron saint of England. This Gothic-style building, built in the XNUMXth century, is an architectural gem with its fan-arched vault which is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England.
St George's Chapel is also the birthplace of the Order of the Garter, which is England's highest order of chivalry and is used for many ceremonies for members of the Royal Family: baptisms, weddings and funerals.
The chapel, the entrance to which is included in the visit to the castle, closes its doors at 16:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday in order to prepare for the sung mass provided by the choir of the Chapel of Saint-Georges, which begins at 17 p.m. If you arrive at the castle in the early afternoon, start your visit with the chapel.
Finally, next to the Saint-George chapel stands the Changing of the Guard which takes place Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:00 am, weather permitting! Please note that there is no changing of the guard on Sunday!
Address : Windsor SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom
Windsor Great Park
Formerly the hunting grounds of Saxon chiefs and later British aristocrats, Windsor Great Park is a 2 hectare park and royal estate with large herds of deer and trees over 020 years old.
Within this huge park where you can eat or have a picnic, there are many points of interest, namely:
Royal Lodge, which was the residence of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother from 1952 until her death in 2002, then the royal home of Prince Andrew and his wife Sarah Ferguson until 2019. (Closed to the public)
Cumberland Lodge, a XNUMXth century country house which is now occupied by a charitable foundation which organizes conferences.
Savill Garden, recognized as one of the most beautiful woodland gardens in England, it was commissioned by George V and created in 1932 by Eric Savill. Covering an area of 18 hectares, it is divided into 8 distinct parts and houses a magnificent rose garden inaugurated by Queen Elisabeth II in July 2002.
There is a charge for the visit and the price varies according to the seasons, for all the information I invite you to consult the Grand Site website.
Valley Gardens is a 1000m2 garden where exotic azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias and other flowers from all over the world are planted which offer a magnificent spectacle in summer during their flowering. Free entry.
Address : The Crown Estate Windsor Great Park SL4 2HT
In 1792 King George III bought for his wife Queen Charlotte, Frogmore House, a country mansion where the Queen wanted to retire with her unmarried daughters. Over the centuries, Frogmore House has welcomed members of the royal family including the future King George V and Queen Mary, but also King George VI and his wife who spent part of their honeymoon there.
More recently, Frogmore House was the official residence of Prince Henry of Sussex and Meghan Markle, renovated at great expense.
In the park, is the Royal Mausoleum or royal mausoleum where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert rest but also some members of the royal family such as the Duke of Windsor who reigned under the name of Edward VIII before abdicating, and his wife the Duchess, ex-Wallis Simpson.
Frogmore House is only open for visit for three days in the spring and during the month of August, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. But a reservation in advance is essential (and there are very few dates available).
The rest of the year, Frogmore House remains a private residence, out of sight and surrounded by 140m² of greenery.
Royal Windsor Racecourse : l’hippodrome de Windsor
Windsor Racecourse, also known as the Royal Windsor Racecourse is one of two figure-eight courses in the UK where thoroughbred horses race.
It sits in an idyllic setting on the banks of the Thames just over a kilometer west of the castle and hosts races from April to October.
Address : Maidenhead Road, Windsor SL4 5EZ
Founded by Henry VI in 1440, Eton is a prestigious and elitist British school which today welcomes nearly 1300 boys aged 13 to 18 who have passed the entrance exam. After a very selective selection, the students benefit from a luxurious education, steeped in traditions and governed by a set of rites and traditions.
At the end of their schooling at Eton, a third of the pupils continue their studies in the famous universities of Oxford or Cambridge.
This prestigious boarding school has hosted many celebrities, including Princes William and Harry, Prime Minister David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Within this prestigious college are three museums, namely:
le antiques museum which presents a large collection of earthenware, Egyptian death masks as well as some mummified remains from ancient Egypt.
Le Eton's life museum presenting the history and traditions of the college through the testimonies of students and teachers.
Le natural History Museum dedicated to Berkshire and showcasing the fauna of the Thames.
These museums, with free admission, are open to the public on Sunday afternoons from 14:30 p.m. to 17 p.m.
The famous Eton College is a 15-20 minute walk from Windsor Castle across Windsor Bridge.
Address : Windsor SL4 6DW
Covering an area of around 29 hectares, Legoland Windsor is one of the UK's largest and most popular theme parks, entirely dedicated to the little Lego brick. The park has used nearly 55 million Lego bricks and offers 55 interactive tours, a set of shows, attractions and construction workshops.
Among the many attractions, the most popular Miniland presents the most beautiful and famous monuments from all over the world made entirely of Lego bricks. Of course many London landmarks are represented as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Big Ben or the London Eye !
Address : Winkfield Rd, Windsor SL4 4AY
Windsor town center
Located on the banks of the Thames, Windsor is with its pretty half-timbered houses from the 16th and 18th century a charming town where it is very pleasant to walk and shop. There are also some English brands that cannot be found in France such as Joules and Fat & Face.
The city that welcomes the royal family proudly displays its attachment to it, with its streets (Queen Charlotte Street) and its pubs in the name of the members of the royal family (Lillibet's café, The Prince Harry Pub, The Queen Victoria…).
To celebrate the 63 years of reign of Queen Elisabeth, the longest reign in British history, the city of Windsor inaugurates on September 9, 2015, in the presence of the Queen, the Queen's Walkway. The latter has a symbolic length of 6,373 km for the 63 years, 7 months and 3 days of the queen's reign and links 63 of the city's most important attractions (theater, churches, parks and gardens, elegant residential streets, historical monuments, etc. ).
For more information on the route and all the places you can download the brochure.
Cruise on the Thames
The French Brothers company offers cruises on the Thames to discover sumptuous houses along the water and offers a breathtaking view of Windsor Castle and Eton College.
If you have the card London Pass, you get a 20% discount on this cruise. As a reminder, the London Pass is a tourist card valid for 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 consecutive days depending on the package chosen and gives access to more than 80 attractions (monuments, zoo, excursions, etc.)
How to get to Windsor from London?
The city of Windsor is outside the charging zones of the London public transport network. Therefore, the Travelcard andOyster Card do not cover this area and you will need to purchase an additional ticket.
In order to benefit from a more advantageous price, anticipate your purchase and buy your ticket online by going to the website of trainline.
In addition, children over 5 years old will also need to have a ticket.
The castle can be reached from 2 London stations: Waterloo station and Paddington station. The journey time from these two stations is different.
- Departure from Waterloo station
Path : Direct Travel time : 55 min
Take the South West Train and get off at Windsor & Eton Riverside (Terminus).
- Depart from Paddington station
Path : 1 match Travel time : about 30 min
Take the First Great Western train, change trains at Slough Station and stop at Windsor & Eton Central station