Flags are flying all around the town and not just because the new King of Britain has been crowned. Windsor has a royal feel just oozing out of it everywhere you turn!
And that’s not surprising with the castle, which has stood for centuries, overlooking you wherever you turn. It’s weird to think that the King lives there and you can actually visit!
Being situated just outside the capital, a Windsor day trip from London should definitely be on the cards for anyone interested in the Royal Family, history or just anyone wanting to escape the city for a while! It’s a lovely small town which is just the right size to spend a few hours wandering around.
A note from the writer: Hey! I’m Kirsty and I’m a UK travel expert. Although I live here I still travel around England as a tourist every year – there’s so much to see! Shout (or comment below) if you have any questions about your trip and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
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Let’s take a look at some things you can do on your day trip to Windsor…
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What to do on a Windsor day trip from London
Since Windsor is so close to London you can really choose to spend the whole day here if you like and take your time exploring the town. If you’ve exhausted all the Royal things to do in London then this will top you up with new experiences!
1. Windsor Castle
For many, including myself, the big draw is Windsor Castle and the Royal connection here and if you want to see some castles from London it’s a great one to tick off!
You can choose to have a tour inside the castle or just admire it from the outside. I mean, you can’t really miss it! We unfortunately didn’t have time for the inside tour when we went but are planning a return soon!
Inside the castle, you can view many state rooms including those built for Charles II – they are incredibly opulent, covered in gold and just like you’d imagine a royal castle would be like!
Queen Mary’s Doll’s House is one of the highlights of a visit to the castle which might surprise you – a doll’s house? Really?
Ah, but this one is definitely special being the largest one in the world! It was built for Queen Mary in 1924 and is full of amazing details.
Don’t forget to check out St George’s Chapel as well which is where many famous royal weddings took place, including Harry & Meghan!
Get your tickets to Windsor Castle in advance here
2. Changing of the Guard
Did you know that just like Buckingham Palace, there’s a changing of the guard ceremony in Windsor too? You’ll have to be organised if you want to include it as it only happens on certain days, unlike the London changing of the guard ceremony which is more regular.
At Windsor the ceremony takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays around about 11am.
You can watch from inside the castle or you can watch from the streets. The great part about watching from the streets is that it’s free and you get to see a real bit of history – this has been happening for centuries!
Unfortunately our day there didn’t coincide with the ceremony but you can get a taste for it from this video:
This YouTube video shows someone following the parade through the streets and as you can see – there’s a lot to watch!
3. Explore the Windsor Great Park
If you have time and the weather’s on your side you should definitely head to the Windsor Great Park.
It’s home to the Long Walk and also the deer park so you could catch sight of some wildlife while your’e there!
The Long Walk was actually created in 1682 as a long tree lined avenue and it’s a lovely place to walk to get some peace, amazing views of the castle and also have a picnic! The whole walk is 2.5 miles but if you have time you’ll get great views!
The deer park is towards the end of the Long Walk and as you approach the copper horse statue of George III.
4. Have afternoon tea
Afternoon tea isa nice thing to do at any time, but overlooking the King’s home in Windsor? Now that’s special!
There are a number of really nice places to have Afternoon Tea near the castle – I’d recommend checking out The Ivy or the Macdonald Windsor Hotel
5. River boat trip
Windsor is on the River Thames so it’s a great place to take a boat trip to get a unique view of the castle.
Some companies will take you on a tour of the land and the water like this quirky Duck tour – it’s perfect if you have kids with you and a lot of fun!
6. Head over to see Eton
You may have heard of Eton – it’s where many prime ministers and royalty go to school. It’s a boarding school for the very elite in the country – Prince William went there as did the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. So many names in history went there too.
Eton is just across the water from Windsor and you might be able to enjoy it as part of a tour – there are some hop on hop off buses that include Eton as part of the route.
7. Legoland Windsor
One for the kids (and big kids like me!) is Legoland Windsor which is just outside the town and a great place for all ages.
We visited when my kids were much younger but I remember a great time with plenty of rides that weren’t too scary for little ones and of course loads of lego! I loved the model village where there were all sorts of British landmarks built with the bricks.
Buses run from Windsor to Legoland – you’ll want the 701, 702 or 703. If you’re getting the train as well into the town then you can add it to your train ticket with GWR – check out how to do it here.
How to get to Windsor from London
Windsor is located just outside what is known as Greater London but in reality, for most tourists it’s quite close! It’s not on the tube network, but it’s still quite easy to get to.
You have the following options to get to Windsor from London:
- Organised tour (some tours go on to Stonehenge, Bath or both)
- Private taxi
For many people, getting someone else to take them to Windsor is worth the slight extra expense. And the nice thing is that some of these tours also incorporate other places like Stonehenge, Bath or Oxford or sometimes just other Royal Palaces like Buckingham Palace or Hampton Court
Here are some I recommend checking out:
If, like us, you’re exploring the UK by car then you’ll be pleased to know that parking in Windsor is actually really easy.
There is a large car park just outside the town called….. It’s technically a park and ride, but the walk in is only around 5-10 mins and so unless the weather is bad or you have walking difficulties, it’s easy to get there. It’s inexpensive, you can see Windsor castle from the car park and there’s a large park as well if you need to let kids or adults run around and let off some steam!
There are 2 different train stations for Windsor – Windsor & Eton Central and Windsor & Eton Riverside. The former is, as the name suggests, central and the closest to tourist sites. The latter is just by the car park I mentioned above and so the centre is easily reachable by foot
If you’re coming to Windsor from London you’ll want to take the train to the Riverside station and the direct train leaves from Waterloo. A last minute ticket for off peak travel is around £13.50 return (accurate as at September 2023).
The London Line 702 runs from just outside Victoria coach station to Windsor (and on to Reading) – it’s fairly regular and costs around £23 for a ticket that lasts all day so you can get back to London afterwards.
A taxi will also take you to Windsor and could be a good option if you need a more personal ride there or if you have a few of you looking to go.
While it is just outside London, it is still quite a way to drive with the traffic so it’s not a cheap option. You should be able to do it for around £80 but also factor in having to get back again too so possibly double that.
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🏴 England Travel FAQ 🏴
Do I need insurance for traveling to England?
YES! I always recommend people take travel insurance when exploring the world!
Check Travel Insurance Master for quote comparisons from different providers.
Do I need a car for visiting England?
YES – If you’re wanting to explore England fully then a car is worthwhile. It will get you to all the small villages, countryside sights and all on your own timetable
I recommend DiscoverCars to compare car rental prices in England
How to book accommodation in England?
For hotels I recommend Booking.com
For apartments and cottages check out VRBO
Will my phone work in England?
Perhaps – it depends if you have roaming enabled and beware this can be an expensive way to use your phone.
If you need a SIM for use in the UK I recommend GiffGaff which you can get and set up before traveling.
What’s the best guidebook for England?
I really like the Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Where to get flights for England
Skyscanner is my first port of call for finding cheap flights to England.
Do I need a visa for England?
Many countries don’t need a visa for visiting England as tourists (USA, Canada, Aus, NZ and Europe) – it’s always best to check first though.