Windsor

Discover why Windsor is the Queen’s favourite weekend destination, complete with a stay at a Best Western Hotel.

Windsor is so connected with the British royal family that the name was officially adopted as the title of the current Royal House during the First World War. Generations of monarchs have lived at Windsor Castle over the centuries, and the town has been the choice setting for many important moments in British history. The royals have played a big hand in shaping the town and its culture, from the creation of the Royal Ascot racecourse by Queen Anne, to the vast Great Park, once a royal hunting ground.

These days, the twin towns of Windsor and Eton are a delight to explore, with their charming, cobbled streets and picturesque setting on the banks of the Thames. Whether you’re here to delve deep into the history, or  looking for something more outdoorsy, there’s a host of outstanding activities to entertain the whole family. Plus, lots of top-notch restaurants, swanky bars and cosy pubs inviting you to wet your whistle after a full days’ sightseeing.

There’s so much to see here, a day trip will never do it justice. Whatever brings you to Windsor enjoy a rest worthy of a royal at a Best Western hotel.   

windsor castle

Things to do in Windsor

Windsor may be compact, but it’s filled with fun activities to entertain the family, royal or not.

  • Windsor Castle and Great Park

No trip to Windsor would be complete without visiting its famous castle and royal Park. Founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, it’s been home to 39 monarchs since and is known as the Queen’s favourite weekend home. After a grand entrance on the iconic Long Walk, with sweeping views of the awe-inspiring castle, tour the lavish state apartments, admiring the castle’s treasures and impressive art collection. A ticket to the castle also includes a visit to St George’s Chapel, the setting for royal weddings and the final resting place of many a monarch.

  • Spend time on the Thames

Admire the delights of historic Windsor from the water, with a boat trip on the Thames. French Brothers offer cruises to Maidenhead, Hampton Court and Runnymede - where King John sealed the Magna Carta in the 12th century, creating the English parliament. You can also hire motorboats and rowing boats from the Windsor Promenade or head out on a guided kayak trip. If you prefer to stay on dry land, take a stroll along the Thames Path, to the renowned neighbouring village of Eton, famous for its fancy college, or further afield to the gastronomic capital of Bray.

  • Legoland Windsor

Entertain the kids with a fun-filled day out at Legoland Windsor. There are 12 exciting worlds to explore, featuring thrilling rides, interactive shows, and amazing Lego models to wow kids of all ages (and grown ups too). Kids can learn to drive their own Lego car, go on a deep-sea voyage, take a ride on a magnificent Lego dragon, train for a ninja battle, or brave the pirate falls all in one unforgettable day of adventure.  

food market

Eating and drinking in Windsor

Whatever ticks your fancy after a hard day’s sightseeing, from upmarket pub grub and mouth-watering international cuisine to waterfront fine dining, Windsor does not disappoint.

  • Two Brewers pub

After a day exploring Windsor Castle and the Great Park, try your luck nabbing one of only nine tables at the historic Two Brewers at the gates (or better yet, book in advance!) First opened at the tail end of the 18th century, Two Brewers offers a pleasing selection of beer and posh pub grub in a classic setting. If it’s booked up, fear not, there’s several other good traditional pubs in town.

  • Windsor Independent Market

Time your visit to Windsor right and you can enjoy delicious street food from around the world at Windsor’s monthly weekend-long food market on historic Peascod Street. From giant vats of paella, Peruvian delicacies and vegan treats to the best local food products and the freshest produce, there’s something to tempt every tastebud.

  • Michelin star dining in Bray

The picturesque village of Bray is a short drive, or two-hour walk along the Thames from Windsor. Despite its tiny size, it’s famous for being home to two of only five restaurants in Britain awarded three Michelin stars. At Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, diners are taken on an immersive and innovative culinary journey with personalised menus based on their own memories of being at the seaside. Meanwhile, down the road at the legendary Waterside Inn, patron chef Alain Roux presides over exquisite French cuisine, served right at the water’s edge.  

eton high street

Shopping in Windsor

Looking for unique souvenirs and local gifts? Or just some good old-fashioned retail therapy? Windsor has it all.

  • Windsor Royal Station

Shop till you drop in the crown jewel of Windsor’s shopping centres. Located opposite Windsor Castle in a converted Victorian Railway Station, Windsor Royal Station is home to over 40 shops, with a mix of high street names and independent retailers, as well as several restaurants, bars, cafes and even a resident arts and crafts market.

  • Eton High Street

Pop over the river into neighbouring Eton, and you’ll find a host of exciting independent shops on the High Street, perfect for perusing. There are treasure trove antique shops, including the popular Eton Antique Book Shop, contemporary galleries and unique gift shops to explore all within a stone’s throw from the celebrated college.  

  • Great Park Gift Shops

After a day exploring Windsor’s vast and varied Great Park, visit the Savill Garden Gift Shop and Plant Centre to pick up a memento of your trip. As well as plants and garden accessories from the Royal Gardens, you’ll find a range of beautiful gifts and seasonal local products.  

windsor guildhall

Culture and history in Windsor

Discover what makes Windsor such a favourite with the royals, by delving into the area’s remarkable history, or attending one of its many exciting cultural events.

  • Windsor Fringe

Second only to Edinburgh in terms of longevity, Windsor Fringe was set up as a cheaper and more diverse alternative to the classical Windsor Festival. During September and October, the Windsor Fringe hosts an array of live events and workshops covering music, film, drama, dance, art, comedy and more at venues around town, including The Old Court art space, The Guildhall, and the Windsor & Eton Brewery.

  • Windsor & Royal Borough Museum

Visit this family-friendly museum and learn about the fascinating local history through interactive displays and unusual artefacts – including a 100,000-year-old Mammoth Tusk. The museum is housed in the Guildhall, Windsor’s elegant townhall, where Prince Charles & Camilla tied the knot, and Sir Elton John celebrated his civil partnership.

  • Off to the royal races

The history and culture of Windsor is closely tied to horseracing – a royal pastime, and home to both the prestigious Ascot and Royal Windsor racecourses. Both courses play host to a fantastic array of events during the year, including the legendary Royal Ascot. Windsor Castle also plays host to the annual Royal Windsor Horse Show, said to be one of the Queen’s favourite events.

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