Windsor Town - What's Around The Castle
Olde Worlde Cobbled Area Next To Windsor Castle & Much Of Interest In Rest Of Town
|Guildhall Windsor Town|
Windsor Old Town
The town of Windsor grew up around Windsor Castle. Immediately opposite the main gate of Windsor Castle is the old medieval part of Windsor Town, a few streets of cobbles.
Today this area is purely for the visitors, a mix of shops, restaurants and pubs where you won't find any locals. There is often a costumed Nell Gwynne or similar for which you can pose for photos besides if that kind of thing is your cup of tea. Although it has all the hallmarks of a tourist trap, its worth at least 5 minutes of anyone's time.
In Church Street, within the Old Town, there is a plaque recording the execution warrant for Charles I in 1648. The building is said to be the place where Shakespeare wrote "The Merry Wives of Windsor". Look out for the house of Nell Gwynne, favourite mistress of Charles II. Typically, next to the Nell Gwynne Chinese Restaurant.
Next to the Crooked House Tea Rooms (pictured below) you will find Queen Charlotte Street, the shortest street in Britain.
|Tea Room Windsor Old Town|
Adjacent to the Old Town sticking out prominently into the main road and next to the Tea Shop right is the Guildhall. The Guildhall pictured top was designed by Sir Christopher Wren whose family came from Windsor. The Guildhall was built by Sir Christopher Wren (architect of St Paul's Cathedral in London) in 1690.
The story of the Guildhall is that the councilors did not believe that Wren's design could stay up, and insisted that the central columns be added in the interests of safety - Wren built the columns, but made them an inch short of the ceiling.
In 2005 the Guildhall was the location of the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles being the nearest place to the castle that is licensed to hold weddings. In the same year it also hosted the first ever same sex marriage in England between Elton John and David Furnish.
|Windsor Central Station|
Windsor Shops & Central Station
Directly opposite the Old Town are two large old coaching inns now hotels and a bank with ATM's. Down in front of the Castle down to Windsor Central Station and beyond is a whole string off restaurants for all budgets. The further you go down the hill the more upmarket they become.
Windsor Central Station pictured right is full of coffee shops and places that do light lunches spilling out onto the pedestrianised interior.
If you walk into the Central Station there are exits into the local shopping centre. There is a large Waitrose supermarket here too.
At the end of the station complex is the one platform for trains themselves. The actual station part of the complex is very small, most of the room being taken up by retail opportunities. There is an old steam train here and you can continue walking over an elevated walkway to Alexandra Gardens by the River Thames. This is where the coach park, Windsor Wheel and river trips start from.
Windsor Theatre - Theatre Royal
In the shadow of Windsor Castle at the bottom of the hill from the Castle is the local theatre, the Theatre Royal Windsor.
The Theatre Royal is a commercial theatre. The repertoire is wide, ranging from the classics and traditional pantomime to first productions of new work some of which subsequently transfer to the West End.
Most people going to the theatre are locals, but there is nothing stopping visitors attending. Tickets are often available on the door.
Performances are every evening except Sundays with matinees normally on Thursday and Saturdays in the afternoon.
The present building was completed in 1910 but theatre in Windsor can be traced back as far as 1706.
Windsor Great Park
From back at the top of town behind Windsor Castle is Windsor Great Park. This is the remnants of the private hunting grounds that used to stretch for miles and miles back in medieval times. Its still a substantial piece of real estate owned by the Crown Estate, contaning several farms, forestry land, polo fields and much else besides. Much of it is open to the public.
To get to Windsor Great Park go down the High Street past the Guildhall until the main road bends right. At this point turn left into Park Street and follow it the very end where you enter Windsor Great Park. There is a good pub at the very end of Park Street by the park gates.
As you enter Windsor Great Park you get a different view of Windsor Castle on your left. Turning right there is a spectactular sight. The Long Mile stretches as far as the eye can see going dead straight. If you wish you can follow this as far as you like. Windsor Great Park is an immense place. Its about 90 minutes walk to Virginia Water a very scenic place with its own railway station (15 minutes walk further on) with trains back to London.
Near here is Smith's Lawn where polo matches take place during the summer most Sundays which attract a crowd - especially if a royal is playing.