Windsor is located west of London and is home to the magnificent Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the monarch of Great Britain. Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, Windsor Castle has since been the home of 40 monarchs. In addition to the castle, the town of Windsor itself is also charming and is worth exploring. This post covers all you need to know about making a day trip to Windsor from London, including how to get there and what to do once there.
How to Get to Windsor from London
At only about 30 kilometers from London, Windsor is one of the easiest day trips you can take from London. You can either self-drive, take a bus or take a train to Windsor.
The journey takes a little less than an hour or so depending on traffic. You may need to pay toll depending on the route you take.
The Green Line 702 bus service to Windsor takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Buses run hourly from London Victoria and you can get off right near the Castle at the Royal Theater. In addition to Victoria, it also stops at Hyde Park, Royal Albert Hall and Kensignton in London.
Check out the site HERE
You can also check out the National Express buses as well to compare prices. The journey with National Express is a little longer at around 2 hours.
See HERE for more.
Both options are direct and require no changes.
The South Western Railway line takes you from London Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside in 55 minutes. This train runs every 30 minutes.
The fastest way to get to Windsor is to take the train from London Paddington station to Slough and then take another train from Slough to Windsor and Eton Central. This route takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 50 minutes depending on the connection. This route also has trains training every 30 minutes more or less.
Spending Your Day in Windsor
The biggest not to miss attraction in this day trip from Windsor to London is the castle and this is probably where you might spend most of your time on this one day trip. The castle itself has several places to visit so expect to spend lots of time here.
Built in the 11th Century, Windsor Castle has been home to English royalty for over 900 years. The castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation.
The grounds are extensive and you can walk around and see some of the famous spots that you may have seen on TV, especially during Queen Elizabeth II’s and the Duke of Edinburgh’s funerals.
- I cannot recommend buying tickets in advance more! We made the mistake of not doing this AND went during a bank holiday weekend (a long weekend in Britain) and the lines were so long that they wrapped around the perimeter of the castle. We unfortunately spent way too much time waiting in line.
- Tickets are timed so you will have to work backwards and keep ample time for travel
- The ticket on Saturday is slightly more expensive than the rest of the week
- St. George’s chapel has restricted opening times and since this is one place you don’t want to miss, you may want to check these opening times prior and book accordingly
See HERE for the link to buy tickets.
Visit to the State Rooms
A visit to the state rooms is included in your entry ticket to Windsor Castle and will give you a glimpse into royal life. You will tour the ceremonial rooms where the Royal Family hosts official visits by Heads of State from other countries, investitures, and awards ceremonies. You will also see some of the semi state rooms that are more residential in nature. The architecture, artifacts and furniture inside were all spectacular! (Picture are not allowed inside the state rooms).
Another must see that is included in the ticket is Queen Mary’s dolls house which was was built between 1921 and 1924 for Queen Mary (grand mother of King Charles III). The details here were amazing! The house even has electricity, running hot and cold water, working lifts and a fully stocked wine cellar.
St. George’s Chapel
St. George’s Chapel has been in the news quite a bit in the recent past with the weddings of Megan Markle and Price Harry, Princess Eugene and the funeral and committal service of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II respectively. It’s also now where the bodies of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, her sister Princess Margaret and her parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother remain.
Construction of this Gothic masterpiece began in 1475 under the reign of Edward IV. No pictures inside here either but it was absolutely surreal to be inside the chapel.
Changing of the Guard
Don’t miss the changing of the guard if you are visiting Windsor Castle. You can usually see this colorful spectacle of British pageantry on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. It occurs at 11 AM with the new guard marching on to Winsor Castle through the town of Windsor from the barracks close by at 10:45 AM.
See HERE for the schedule.
Wander Around the Town
Windsor is so cute! Despite having a mighty castle as a resident, the little town itself hasn’t lost any of its charm! Quaint and colorful buildings line its streets while the Union Jack flags fly all over the town. I was most fascinated by all the pubs and shops named after members of the royal family.
Relax by the Thames
Windsor has some 20 miles of Thames riverside and it’s a lot more peaceful than London. You can either relax by the riverside or take a boat tour. There are a few companies offering this service. Alternatively, you can also hire a motorboat or row boat and do it yourself.
Another great way to enjoy some time by the river is to grab a meal to a riverside restaurant.
Stroll Through Eton College
Eton College is a prestigious secondary public school in Windsor. It was founded by King Henry VI in 1440, and has since served as the secondary school for many royals, prime ministers, and leaders. In fact, Prince William attended this school back in the 1990s. They do offer a guided tour on Friday’s from May to September.
More information can be found HERE.
Grab a Beer at Windsor & Eton Brewery
Windsor & Eaton is a small craft brewery in Windsor with a great selection of local beers on tap. You can also tour the brewery on their guided tour offered in the afternoons.
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See my other posts on England HERE