Ever since Kensington Palace announced the engagement of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle, it seems everyone has been abuzz about the Royal Wedding next May. While the exact date hasn’t been set yet, if you’re thinking about traveling to Windsor for the festivities, you’ll want to book your accommodations as early as possible. AD consulted expert travel agent Ellen Lecompte, whose agency, Lecompte Travel, specializes in small group private access tours of the U.K., for tips on where to stay and what to do in and around Windsor.
Where to Stay
According to Lecompte, who has visited the area many times and has connections to royal circles, there are two obvious places to stay in Windsor. The Harte & Garter Hotel is “literally across the street from the castle. You would look out your window and see everything,” she explains. “The other one is the Castle Hotel, 100 yards the other way, right across from Guildhall. You saw it a lot in TV coverage because Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall got married there.”
Lecompte warns it might be near impossible to find accommodation in Windsor proper for the wedding, adding, “I think you’re better off going to a nice country house hotel and using it as a base to explore the countryside. The most elegant, I think, is Cliveden House. Astor bought it in the 19th century when he was making his bid to become a lord. It’s very elegant—just marvelous—and very convenient. You’d be able to catch some of the atmosphere and buzz.”
Stoke Park—a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World—is another great option just 15 minutes from Windsor. The historic property has appeared in Bridget Jones’s Diary and two James bond films.
What to Do
“One place people don’t generally know about, and particularly this time of year it’s wonderful, is the Savill Garden within Windsor Great Park,” Lecompte confides. “At that time of year, the rhododendrons will knock your socks off. They’re stunning.”
Lecompte loves shopping in Windsor because the prices are better than in London. “High Street has everything from your basic Marks & Spencer—which is perfect for getting sweaters and things—right up to some of the designer names,” she says. “Barbour has a great shop on the corner right near the Castle Hotel.”
Where to Eat and Drink
“The Harte & Garter is where I would go,” Lecompte affirms. She also recommends the Windsor & Eton Brewery for local beer and Browns Windsor, where she “had a delicious dinner.” The Royal Oak, a casual gastropub in the shadow of Windsor Castle, is another good option, according to Lecompte. “The Castle Hotel has a very nice dining room,” she concludes.