Chances are, you didn’t score an invite to the royal wedding, so you probably won’t be in Windsor next weekend while the nuptials are taking place. But if by some miracle you did make the guest list, you'll need an itinerary for when you're not fawning over Meghan Markle's wedding dress or trying to catch a glimpse of the queen. That's where we come in.
Whether you’re planning a trip to Windsor soon, or are just lusting over the magical locale, Windsor is equal parts historic and beautiful and all within a 30-minute train ride from London. Even if you're not heading to Windsor for the royal nuptials, it’s a pretty fantastic place to visit while in the U.K. anytime of year. Here are 10 things you must do if you ever find yourself in this special city.
Well, this is a given. The famed and whimsical property has housed monarchs for almost 1,000 years and is one of the hottest tourist attractions. But despite the crowds, it's well worth a visit. While there, you can climb the iconic Round Tower, where you can take in the views of London’s famous skyline and the span of the 13-acre property if you opt for the Conquer the Tower Tour.
Windsor Great Park
What’s a trip to the U.K. without enjoying the lush greenery that all the parks have to offer? Windsor Great Park used to be a Norman hunting forest, but is now fully explore-able in its 5,000 acre glory. Rooted in royal history, it’s chock full of monuments, wildlife, and plants. Enjoy the park on foot via the Long Walk, on horseback, or cycling. The perfect souvenir? Pick up a bottle of the royal Windsor Vineyard Sparkling Wine that is sourced from a vineyard located within the grounds.
Not too far from Windsor Castle and next to Winsdor Park, Ascot is home to many race days, though none more famous than the Royal Ascot series held each June. With an exclusive dress code and attending royalty, it’s the place to see and be seen while enjoying the races.
If your boots weren’t made for walking, see the city of Windsor via a double decker bus. The oh-so-touristy yet convenient way to tour the sites, CitySightseeing offers 11 stops throughout the city with translated audio explanations. There’s also Windsor Guided Tours, which offers an evening tour filled with “spooky tales of death and murders most foul,” for those not faint of heart.
Embrace academia and tour one of the oldest and perhaps most famous schools world-wide, dating back to 1440 when it was used to provide free schooling for the poor. Now connected with royals and aristocrats, notable grades include both Prince William and Prince Harry as well as Great Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron. While at Eton, you’ll definitely want to check out the National History Museum on campus, as well as take in the impressive architecture, too.
Dine Like a Royal
Embrace your inner royalty and head to a Michelin Star restaurant, like Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, which recently was awarded its third star. To secure your table for the ultimate date night and dining experience, you can make a prepaid reservation via their website for parties of two to six, for a cost of 325 euros per person. The unique experience, crafted as a Journey centered around nostalgic memories, aims to bring childhood holiday memories to life through dining.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, shopping is a must. Whether you’re looking for authentic and independent retailers or popular, trendy boutiques, you’re in luck. At the Windsor Royal Shopping Centre located opposite the castle, there are over 40 shops as well as restaurants, cafes, pubs and an artisan market.
The River Thames
A trip to Windsor wouldn’t be complete without some quality time spent on the River Thames. This iconic river flows throughout the entire Royal Borough, and a stroll along the Thames at twilight, or a sightseeing tour in daylight prove to be equally romantic. More active options include sailing, rowing, kayaking or traditional river cruises, including seasonal classic cocktail cruises that run in November, February, and March.
LEGOLAND Windsor Resort
Embrace your inner child and spend the afternoon at LEGOLAND. With over 55 rides and attractions to choose from, if you love LEGOS as an adult, you’ll love them even more now. While it’s mostly definitely geared towards children, it’s a great option to visit if you’re traveling with kiddos, while adults will still be able to marvel at the buildings built with Legos. Spoiler alert: they’re all better than even your best Lego masterpiece.
Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club
If you don’t take in a Polo match, did you really experience Windsor? Head to The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club (The Berkshire for short), where both Prince William and Prince Harry have played. It’s home to the Prince of Wales tournament, and tends to attract the best teams and players from around the world. You can even take a lesson via the Cool Hooves Polo Lesson, to learn the basics and safety of the sport.