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Windsor Old Town - what's around the Castle

Medieval Windsor and sights of interest

Windsor Town signposts outside Windsor Castle
Windsor Town signposts outside Windsor Castle

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 (favourite mistress of Charles II) or similar for which you can pose for photos besides. In Church Street you can find Nell Gwynne's house (A.D. 1640), to be found next to the Nell Gwynne Chinese Restaurant.

Also in Church Street, you can visit Ye Olde King's Head - reputedly the oldest inn in Windsor and the place where Shakespeare wrote "The Merry Wives of Windsor". There is also a plaque recording the execution warrant for Charles I in 1648.

Guildhall Windsor   Windsor Shops & Central Station   Windsor Theatre   The Fudge Kitchen  

On the High Street stands the Crooked House of Windsor (or Market Cross House), first built in 1592 (rebuilt 1687), and so-called 'crooked' due to its delightful crooked angle. Next to it is Queen Charlotte Street, the shortest street in England.

 

Guildhall Windsor and Windsor & Royal Borough Museum

Guildhall Windsor Old Town
Guildhall Windsor Old Town

Adjacent to the Old Town, sticking out prominently into the main road and next to Market Cross House, is the Guildhall. The Guildhall was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1690 - architect of St. Paul's Cathedral in London - whose family came from Windsor.

The story of the Guildhall is that the councillors 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, to prove his architectural ability.

The Guildhall Windsor is now home to the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum. This small local history museum offers a colection of articles relating to the history of the town and the area, from prehistoric times through the Roman and Saxon eras, Victorian, right up to the present day.

The Guildhall was where Prince Charles and Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles were married in 2005. In the same year the Guildhall also hosted the first ever same sex marriage in England between Elton John and David Furnish.

Windsor Shops & Central Station

Windsor Central Station
Windsor 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

Windsor Theatre Royal
Windsor 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.

Theatre Royal, Windsor

The Fudge Kitchen

Along Thames Street a small shop can be found known as 'The Fudge Kitchen.' This shop not only sells delicious fudge made on the premises, but also allows people to come and watch it being made in the back room, during normal opening hours.

It is here in this fudge making area, where over 200 fudge flavours are made in store. Visitors can sample the fudge at the front counter. With views of Windsor Castle, and engaging, entertaining staff, this is a popular shop with visitors, loved by many.

The Fudge Kitchen, Windsor

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