Windsor Castle, Windsor & Eton day trips

What to do in Windsor and Eton, getting to Windsor, restaurants and hotels

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle


Windsor is easily accessible from London and is an ideal day trip. There is much more than just Windsor Castle, you could easily spend two or three days here.

 

Eton is on the other side of the River Thames from Windsor and historic Runnymede is little more than a mile away and there is a vast network of paths in Windsor Great Park to be explored.

 

Once royal hunting grounds, Windsor Great Park is now home of Polo matches, formal gardens and Virginia Water, a local beauty spot. There is also a theme park - Legoland - and a horse race track with evening meetings in the summer.

Windsor Castle

Of course the main attraction for first time visitors is Windsor Castle and is the 'must see'. Most people will take around two hours to explore Windsor Castle, so there is lots of time to explore the delights of the Windsor area.

 

Windsor Castle is in the heart of Windsor, (the town grew up around the castle).

 

There are two rail stations within five minutes' walk, each of which has several services an hour to London.

Detailed Windsor Castle what to expect page

Elsewhere in Windsor & Eton

Windsor is much more than just the castle; there are a wealth of things to see and do which will keep many visitors occupied for a couple of days.


The nice thing about Windsor is that most things are either in the town or in very close proximity. Like most town with significant tourist numbers there is a hop on, hop off open top sightseeing bus as well.

 

In the evening there is a wide choice of restaurants to suit every taste and budget, a theatre performs every evening except Sunday, and Windsor race course has regular race meeting during summer evenings.

Some ideas are:


Eton College has educated 18 former British Prime Ministers including the Duke of Wellington, Walpole, Pitt the Elder, MacMillan and Douglas-Holme. The School Dress still consists of a black tailcoat and waistcoat, and pinstriped trousers which dates from the 1850s.

 

Tours of the College are a fascinating experience, which includes the Cloisters, the Chapel, the oldest classroom in the College and the Museum of Eton Life.

Map Of Windsor & Eton

Windsor riverfront is a good place to relax. Alexander Gardens, a traditional Victorian park borders much of the River Thames at Windsor. The Thames path can be followed all the way back to London or even Oxford. Feeding the swans, boat trips, rowing boats are just some of the evergreen activities you will find here.


Windsor Old Town is right next to the main Windsor Castle entrance. Tourist shops have grown up around the heritage of the area; if you are minded to it is easy to pick up some souvenirs, often with a royal theme. Beyond this there is plenty to enjoy from the buildings themselves, dating from the medieval era onwards; plenty of photographic opportunities.

 

Windsor also has its own working theatre, a traditional historic venue opposite the castle where plays are often run that then transfer to the West End in London.


Runnymede, just three miles south-east of Windsor, on the banks of the River Thames, is the famous meadow of Runnymede. It was here in 1215 that King John sealed the Magna Carta. This charter established the principle of the constitutional monarchy and affirmed the individual's right to justice and liberty.

 

The American constitution is based on the Magna Carta and to commemorate this the American Bar Association erected a memorial in 1957. This can be seen on the hillside overlooking the water meadows.


Legoland Windsor has over 50 interactive rides, live shows, building workshops, driving schools and attractions and is set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland, Legoland Windsor is a different sort of family theme park. Shuttle buses run out to the park very frequently from Windsor.


Windsor Great Park offers some great walks, with the perennial attraction of the Red Deer in their enclosure. A diverse area including the Guards Polo Club which hosts polo every weekend in the summer, as well as stunning parks such as Virginia Water, a tranquil spot in every season.

 

Getting to Windsor

Windsor is just 20 miles west of Central London and very simple to reach by public transport.


Most visitors will take one of the two train options, but there are alternatives including a bus service that may be more convenient for some hotel districts in London.

 

If you are staying at nearby Heathrow there is a frequent local bus between Heathrow and Windsor.

Full Windsor transport details ...


The most painless way of visiting Windsor from London is on a day tour. For time poor visitors the most popular is the Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath tour that visits all three world class attractions in one long hectic day.


Full details of the different kinds of tours available from London are on our Windsor Tours from London page.

 

Windsor hop-on,hop-off sightseeing bus

Windsor and Eton is very walkable and you do not really need a sightseeing bus, but it is a fun way to see what Windsor and Eton has to offer. In fact you can walk across to Eton from Windsor in a fraction of the time a vehicle takes.


Windsor Hop On Sightseeing Bus

What you do get is a good orientation of Windsor and Eton perched high up on the double deck bus. Especially if you are visiting independently and for a day or longer the commentary can set the scene nicely for your stay.


There is a single route with full commentary that covers Windsor and Eton. If you never got off, the tour lasts for around 45 minutes. The tour doesn't visit Runnymede or Legoland.


The tour does a circuit of Home Park, the back garden of Windsor Castle. You can peek over the wall into this private area from the top of the bus, get a feel for Windsor Great Park and some of the Queen's farms.

 

There is a stop at the Queen's Royal Farm Shop which most visitors don't get to see. The second part of the tour passes through Datchet by the River Thames and then performs a circuit of Eton.


Tickets can be purchased from the driver and last for 24 hours.

 

Frequencies are every 20 minutes in Summer and 30-60 minutes at other times. The main start and finish is immediately in front of Windsor Castle, by a statue of Queen Victoria - you can't miss it.

 

Windsor hotel accommodation

There is a choice of hotel accommodation right in the town centre and there is a great choice also around neighbouring Heathrow Airport.

 

Heathrow has direct public transport links with Windsor and the proximity means that taxi transfers are not too expensive either.

More details of Windsor Town centre hotels

 

Restaurants & food

Windsor has the full range of food options from cream teas in grand historic buildings to fast food.

Opposite the castle down the hill is Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Burger King and McDonald’s all in a row. Further down the hill by the theatre are more 'quality' options covering many cuisines.

 

At Central Station there is a large covered area with continental style cafes and coffee shops, a magnet for the Castle visitors to take a small break.


Down by the riverfront is everything from ice cream stalls to Fish & Chips to Sir Christopher Wren's Hotel where you can take a cream tea or something more substantial on the hotel's river terrace.

 

Over the other side of the river bridge is Eton. Eton is lined with restaurants and pubs serving food for all budgets and tastes. Windsor itself is a very affluent part of England, restaurants and shops in the town centre tend to be upmarket, but many of the useful chain stores found in most towns are there.


Christmas Day Tours departing from London

Most Popular Public Tours From London 2017/2018

With Adult Fares Stated & Links To Tour Detail Pages

Visiting Stonehenge and/or Bath and/or Windsor

Stonehenge Morning Or Afternoon Half Day Tour- £49

Stonehenge & London Day Tour - £52

Windsor Castle Windsor Morning & Afternoon Tours - from £44

Windsor & Hampton Court (Apr to Oct) - £78

Windsor, Bath & Stonehenge (inc Lunch, no adm Roman Baths) - £89

Windsor, Bath & Stonehenge (no Lunch, inc adm Roman Baths) - £89

Windsor, Bath, Stonehenge & Salisbury - £89

Windsor, Bath & Stonehenge (Small Group - Max 16 people) - £139

Stonehenge & Bath (Stonehenge admission only) - 3.5 hrs in Bath - £57

Stonehenge & Bath (Stonehenge & Baths adm) - 3.5 hrs in Bath - £64

Stonehenge & Avebury - from £59

Windsor, Stonehenge & Oxford - £92

Windsor, Stonehenge & Salisbury - £69

Bath, Stonehenge & Salisbury - £89

Stratford, Cotswolds, Bath & Stonehenge - £101

Visiting Cotswolds and/or Oxford and/or Stratford and/or Warwick

Oxford, Stratford & Warwick Castle - £87

Stratford & Cotswolds (inc Anne Hathaway’s) - £79

In-depth Cotswolds Only Tour + Lunch - £88

In-depth Cotswolds Only Tour + Lunch (Small Group) - £139

Blenheim Palace, Downton Abbey Village & Cotswolds Tour - £78

Stratford, Cotswolds, Bath & Stonehenge - £101

Windsor, Stonehenge & Oxford - £92

Downton Abbey & Blenheim Palace - £139

Visiting Canterbury, Leeds Castle & Dover

Leeds Castle, Dover & Canterbury with river cruise - £87

Leeds Castle, Dover & Canterbury (Small Group Apr - Oct) - £145

Dover Castle, White Cliffs & Canterbury - £69

Special Theme Tours

Stonehenge Special Access (Walk Among Stones) Tours

Downton Abbey + Highclere Castle Tours

Harry Potter Tours

Small Group Tours (Maximum 16 people)

Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath - £139

Stonehenge, Glastonbury & Winchester - £139

Salisbury, Stonehenge & Avebury - £139

Lacock, Bath & Stonehenge - £139

In-depth Cotswolds Only Tour + Lunch (Small Group) - £139

Oxford, Cotswolds & Stratford - £139

Leeds Castle, Dover & Canterbury (Apr to Oct) - £145

1, 2 & 3 Day Breaks To Paris, Scotland & Amsterdam

Day Trip to Paris - from £155

3 Day Paris - from £249

Day Trip to Edinburgh - from £174

2 Day Edinburgh - from £250

3 Day Edinburgh & Scotland Weekend - from £279

3 Day Edinburgh & Scotland Weekday - from £419

3 Day Amsterdam - from £239


Special Offer Day Tours From London