As a family, we have decided that this year we will tick off as many places in the UK that we can, that we have always wanted to go to. There is so much to see and do, and we want to go and do, rather than just make these ‘lists’ that never come to pass. We are ticking off Scotland later in the year (we’ve never been with the children), but decided there are a few things closer to home to make a day trip.
One of them is to go to Windsor and visit Windsor Castle; have you ever been? With the arrival of baby Sussex and the aftermath of the 2018 Royal Weddings, it is definitely a busy place to be and a popular choice for tourists. So if you are planning a trip too, I will just share what we did and my tips for making the day run smoothly.
All of the parking, for the town and the castle, are public parking. So once those spots are gone, they are gone. Even by mid-morning you have to wait to get parked. We arrived just before 10am, as the castle opens, and there was plenty of parking. But leaving it any later will mean you have to wait for quite a while.
Another reason to arrive early is to get ahead in the queues. There is airport-style security before you enter the castle, and as you can imagine, with a lot of people, it isn’t exactly the fastest. We still had a wait (all indoors), but when we came out of the castle two hours later, the line was all of the way out of the door and onto the street. So arriving early really is going to be best to avoid waiting around for too long.
Book Ahead for the Castle
As has been mentioned, there are some long lines to wait to even get in. And if you don’t already have tickets, then it means even longer queues before you join the other queues. So booking the tickets for the castle ahead of time is really important to save time. Make sure that you get your ticket stamped on the day, and that means you can then give your ticket fee as a ‘donation,’ and lets you go to the castle for free, for a year from the stamp date. If you’re local-ish, then it really makes sense to do so.
You can take photos galore on the grounds, of the guards, and so on at the castle. But if you were hoping to recreate Harry and Meghan’s Royal Wedding scenes and sharing on Insta, then you’ll be disappointed. You can’t take any photos inside St. George’s Chapel, or Windsor Castle itself. So you may as well leave your large close-up lens cameras and self sticks at home.
Best Photo Points
There are so many good spots for photos in the castle grounds themselves (I loved walking down the path that all the wedding guests walked down to), as well as in Windsor itself. But one of the best photo points of the castle, and in Windsor in general, is on The Long Walk. It is the other side of the castle (if you imagine one side is closer to the River Thames), but it is so stunning. It is worth the walk too as you might even spot some deer.
Quieter Nearer to Eton
Windsor is busy. There is no getting away from that. But if you walk a little further out towards Eton, it really is a lot quieter. It is worth the walk to see the Eton College students as it is like stepping back in time. But there are some quaint little shops, as well as pubs and restaurants, that are much quieter than right in the main town. So if you don’t want to wait to eat or get a drink, then it could be worth heading a little more towards Eton.
We had so much fun in Windsor and seeing all that there is to do. Just remember to factor in the cost of parking to your day out (not cheap), but there are plenty of things to see and do.