Having seen very little of each other since lockdown, my sister, Helen and I decided to have a few days away. Not wanting to travel too far and because she had never been there before we decided to go to Windsor. We booked the trip for June hoping that the weather would be good but unfortunately that was not the case. It was cold and wet but despite that we had a nice few days and I would definitely recommend a visit.
We met in London and got a train direct to Windsor from Vauxhall. The journey wasn’t very long (just over an hour) and we arrived at Windsor and Eton Riverside just after lunch. We found our hotel, a pub called The Windsor Trooper in St Leonards Road and we were shown to our room which was in a building behind the pub. Unfortunately the first room had a double bed (we had requested a twin room) but they were very helpful and gave us a different room which actually was more roomy and had 3 beds in it! The staff here were very helpful and friendly but the pub isn’t doing food at the moment so we didn’t eat there at all.
We dumped our bags and set off to get lunch and to explore the town. There are lots of the main stores that you see in any town but there were also quite a few unusual shops selling artwork or statues. Of course there were also lots of souvenir shops which looked, sadly, not very busy at all. There were numerous places to eat and lots of coffee shops and (much to my sister’s delight) lots of charity shops (some of them very up market!) Opposite our hotel was a Fire Station that had been converted into a bar and that was a nice place to have a drink that first evening. We wandered up to the Castle to find out about visiting and were very disappointed to find that it was closing (this was a Monday) for the day and it didn’t open on Tuesday and Wednesday as they did a “deep clean” on those days! So we didn’t unfortunately get to see inside the Castle Grounds, although you can get great views of the outside from the town and from The Long Walk (a 2.64 mile walk that goes from the Castle up to a statue of mad King George). This walk goes through part of Windsor Great Park and deer can sometimes be seen along this route (although on the day we walked there I think they were probably all sheltering under trees from the rain!) If we had gone into the Castle grounds we could have seen The State Apartments, Queen Mary’s Dolls House and the Semi State Rooms. We did get a glance of St George’s Chapel through the entrance and it did look as beautiful as it did when Meghan and Harry got married there.
That night we found an Italian restaurant called Enzo’s. The food was good and the atmosphere was very lively.
The next morning we went off to find the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Although we waited at the bus stop at the times shown it didn’t materialise. The website says it is running but it definitely was not seen during our stay there! It was unfortunate as the Bus takes you right through the Great Park and this would have been nice to see. However, the Duck Tour was running and so we embarked on that instead. There were only 4 of us on board (plus the driver and guide) so we had quite an intimate tour which was very amusing and the trip is 50% on the road and 50% on the river. The views of the Castle from the river are amazing and we also saw lots of lovely houses that are set on small islands in the river. The Windsor Duck Tour uses the only purpose built amphibious vehicle (the ones operating elsewhere are, supposedly, converted army vehicles). Once on the river it was amusing to see that the vehicle had to slow down for the multitudes of swans and Canadian geese that crossed it’s path. I have never seen as many swans as I did in Windsor. Hundreds of them are on the river and people go to the riverside to feed them and when they do, it is quite a sight to see! The 50 minute journey was really good fun. There are also other boat trips you can take on the river but I think The Duck Tour is probably the one that is the most fun.
We considered getting theatre tickets for the Theatre Royal (which had just re-opened) but it was a Shakespeare play and we weren’t that keen so instead we headed to the The Boatman (the only pub on the river in Windsor) and we had a delicious meal (if you ever go you must try their Eton Mess, so yummy!) The Boatman has a conservatory built right by the river so the views were spectacular as the sun went down and we stayed dry and warm (the roof can be pulled back in hot weather).
So our two days in Windsor could have been better planned and with better weather but we had a great time and it was lovely to meet up again and feel like we were getting back to normal. Well worth a visit!