Great Things to do in Windsor, England

Great Things to do in Windsor, England

Do you have that special place in the world that keeps you coming back for more?  For us, that town is Windsor, England, just a short jaunt away from London.  With its historic market town, proximity to the River Thames, parks, shops, and of course, Windsor Castle, Windsor has captured our hearts. 

We had an extended stay in Windsor several summers ago.  Mike had a big work project in London and Windsor was our home base during our time there.  While he was working hard, the kids and I lived like locals in Windsor and did all that there is to see and do.  And of course we used our base in Windsor to venture into London regularly.

Because we know this town so well and we think it absolutely warrants a visit if visiting London, we compiled a list of our favorite things to do in Windsor.

About Windsor

Windsor is a town in the county of Berkshire, about 25 miles to the west of London, sitting along the River Thames.

Map of Windsor in relation to London, in southeast England

The first thing you’ll see when arriving in Windsor is Windsor Castle.  It is the oldest continuously occupied castle in the world, having been built by William the Conqueror in 1070.  Throughout the town of Windsor you’ll see medieval, Georgian, and Victorian architecture, including one of our favorites, The Crooked House of Windsor.

The Crooked House of Windsor – it has changed businesses and exterior colors over the years

Great Things to do in Windsor

Windsor Castle

Of course no visit to Windsor would be complete without a tour of Windsor Castle.  Rising up above the town and set at the end of ancient Peascod Street, Windsor Castle remains the oldest continuously operating castle in the world!

Ready to tour Windsor Castle

As one of the royal family’s official residences, the King is “in” when the Royal Standard flag is flying high.  

We recommend using an audioguide during your visit to Windsor Castle.  The kids audioguide is fantastic as it brings history down to their level keeping it interesting all throughout the castle tour.

Seeing Queen Mary’s dollhouse was a treat for the girls while Braden was enamored with the hall of the arms and armor.  I loved seeing a suit of armor belonging to King Henry VIII.  He was very short and stout as was his armor!

Besides all sorts of treasures within the castle, the exterior grounds are beautiful and warrant some time spent outside.  You might even catch the Changing of the Guards!  We think this is a much better option that the crowded Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace in London.

Easy to catch as you’re visiting Windsor Castle

Your entry ticket also includes a visit to the 14th century St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, and this is not to be missed.  You will see where the King sits when he attends service here, can view the beautiful architecture inside, and stand right above where King Henry VIII and his favorite wife, Jane Seymour, are buried just below the church floor.

NOTE:  No photos allowed inside St. George’s Chapel.

Beautiful Windsor Castle – rain or shine!

The Long Walk

This is one of our favorite places to picnic in Windsor.  We grab provisions from one of the nearby grocery stores, Marks & Spencer or Waitrose, both of which are located on Peascod Street.  Both stores have great grab-and-go options including individual cups of wine, sealed for safe transporting!

Little Ava, picnicking on the Long Walk

The Long Walk is lined with ancient oak trees, great for playing hide-and-go seek and offering shade during the picnic.  The Long Walk is actually 3 miles long, extending from a Statue of King George III up to the castle gate.  You’ll get great views of Windsor Castle from this angle and can see the tiny guards moving about guarding the castle as well.

Braden running along the Long Walk, leading away from Windsor Castle

The Long Walk ends at Windsor Castle.  Through the gates you can see the guards!

The kids at the gate at the end of the Long Walk

LegoLand Windsor

This LegoLand is actually the largest in the world!  When we visited, the kids were very young and loved all the rides and Lego themed attractions.  It’s a great way to provide some family-friendly fun in between historical sites.

Cruise the River Thames

We took a pleasant little cruise with French Brothers, which was only about 40 minutes long.  It was a great way to view Windsor from the water and the perfect amount of time if doing so with kids. 

Little Braden & Ava on our River Thames cruise from Windsor

A lovely view of Windsor from the water 

Peascod Street

This deserves a mention due to its ancient past!  It is one of the oldest streets in Windsor and is pedestrian only.

If you start at the south end at the bottom of the hill and walk uphill heading north, you will see Windsor Castle straight ahead.  Full of shops, pubs, and restaurants, a stroll on Peascod Street is definitely worthwhile.    

Windsor Royal Station

This is where you jump on the train to head out of Windsor.  It’s just a couple of stops to London from here!

Besides being a train station, this is a shopping area as well.  It is mostly covered so if it’s raining, as it often does in England, you can still carry on.  You’ll find cafes and restaurants, specialty shops, and even some high end retailers here.

Walk the Footbridge to Eton

Eton is famously known for Eton College, a boys boarding school that both Prince William and Prince Harry attended.  The college is set on beautiful grounds and is lovely to walk around.  Eton is also a really quaint town with buildings looking as though they are from from Shakespearean times!

On the footbridge connecting Windsor to Eton

On the grounds of Eton College – it’s such a beautiful campus

Consider Staying Here!

Both times we have visited London, we have stayed in Windsor.  We like living like locals if we can while traveling and this is a great place to do so.  Laundromats, banks, stores, drycleaners, etc. are easily accessed in Windsor.  We especially like walking the quaint center with minimal people milling about before or after the tourists arrive for the day.  Coming back to the quiet town after a day of sightseeing in bustling London is also much appreciated.

We have stayed in Airbnbs and they are a fabulous option while traveling as a family.  The last time we stayed in Windsor we had lovely views of Windsor Castle from our balcony.

Our awesome view of Windsor Castle from our Airbnb


Read More!

Be sure to check out our post, Family Friendly Favorites to See and Do in London, for a great list of things to see and do in London.  We also have an article published with daily itineraries for visiting London, How to Organize Your Time in London.  

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