Windsor provides a royally good dayscape from London, pun intended. A castle, royal guards, shopping and a boat ride along the Thames. What more could any princess hope for in a perfect city break for the solo traveler or family getaway?
You can start the day watching the Changing of the Guard, which occurs most days, during the high season, at 11am. Off-season the guard changes every other day, so call ahead. This is a great alternative to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and gets you more up close and personal.
Windsor Castle itself is the largest of the Queen’s homes and a bit pricey to visit at £17.75 (approx. $28) or you can pre-book your ticket before leaving the U.S. by. Another option is to get The London Pass or a visitor combo ticket to save a few pence along the way.
Top your day with a leisurely boat ride along the Thames. There’s a 40 minute ride for budget travelers at £5.70 (approx. $9.10) or a two hour ride if money is not an issue at £9.00 (approx. $14.40 )
While restaurants in Windsor run the gamut from the familiar pizza and burger chains to pubs and Thai and Italian cuisine, my best bet is Riverside Fish and Chips (1-2 River St., Windsor), just as you get off the boat ride. It’s a tiny stand with limited offerings but their spicy bean burger is one of the best I’ve ever had and at £3.75 (approx. $6.00) with a bottle of water, that’s cheaper than even pub grub.
The royal towns of Windsor and Eton are served by two train stations, Central and Riverside. Central is a shorter ride from London by about 15 minutes, while Riverside puts you closer to Eton if your intent is to visit the college town.
Tourist Tip: There are free public toilets at the bottom of River Street, heading towards the river on your left. They are clean and spacious and a good respite when walking around this royal city without a homebase for the day. By the way.
Don’t forget to walk around to the rear of the castle to enjoy the park and the massive panorama known as The Long Walk.
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