At around 1,000 years old Windsor Castle is not only the largest inhabited castle in the world but also the oldest continuously occupied castle in the world. There is no doubt that the castle dominates the town and has influenced the growth and the development of Windsor more than any other factor.
Since its construction the castle has been altered by almost everyone who has held the British crown and the result is a fascinating blend of styles and influences.
The public can enter the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s Doll House and St George’s chapel. The State Apartments are wonderfully adorned with valuable items from the Royal Collection while St George´s is a beautiful building with a wealth of history. 10 British kings and queens are buried here. In winter 5 Semi-State rooms are added to the range of accessible rooms.
Band concerts take place in the grounds of the castle in May and there are also occasional exhibitions in the castle.
You will know if the Queen is at home because the Royal Standard will be fluttering instead of the normal Union Jack.
The Changing of the Guard
This famous event takes place daily from April to July and every second day during the rest of the year, although it never happens on a Sunday. Anyone can see the Guards proceed up High Street and enter the castle but you have to be inside the castle grounds to see the changing ceremony. The Guards are often accompanied by a band although the weather can force alterations to the ceremony.
The actual changing ceremony takes places at 11 am so you should position yourself in a good vantage point 10 minutes before this if you want to see the Guards arriving to the castle.
Eton is home of the world famous Eton College, probably the most prestigious public school in the country. 18 British Prime Ministers has received their education here since its foundation in 1440 as a provider of free schooling for poor students. Guided tours of the college are available and there is a gift shop near the college. You may also see some students wearing the typical uniform of black waistcoat and tailcoat with striped trousers which has been in use for over 150 years. To get to Eton you just cross the bridge which spans the River Thames.
The main shopping and restaurant area, the pedestrianised Peascod Street, is also believed to be the oldest street in town, dating back to at least the 10th century. Here you will find a wide selection of gifts shops, restaurants and hotels. As you would expect, royal family based gifts are the most popular items for sale around town.
Legoland, like Windsor Castle, is one of the top 20 UK tourist attractions. Located in 150 acres of land and offering a huge amount of ride, shows and attractions this is a very popular destination for families.
Theatre Royal Windsor
This attractive and popular theatre offers a wide range of shows, including new productions which then move on to London’s West End. There are shows all year round in what is regarded as one of Britain’s top theatres.
Ascot and Royal Windsor Racecourses
Ascot Racecourse is home to some of the best and most competitive horse events in the country during both the flat season and the jump season. Royal Ascot is generally considered as the highlight of the flat racing calendar at a world level while The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July, The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in September and The Victor Chandler Chase in February are other much anticipated events in the horse racing calendar.
Apart from the racing events there are family days throughout the year, a Beer Festival and a Festival of Wine.
Royal Windsor Racecourse enjoys a wonderful location and has been holding race meetings since 1866. More of an old-fashioned day out then a trip to Ascot, you will find plenty of fun here at one of the Racecourses many themed events.
Royal Windsor Wheel
During the summer months tourists can enter into one of the capsules and then enjoy a view of the Windsor area from a height of 60 metres. Located in Alexandra Gardens it is open to the public between 10am and 10pm each day and is illuminated in the evening
The first Saturday of each month see St Leonard’s Road host this popular market, where you will find a wide range of fresh local produce on offer.
Windsor Great Park
This 5,000 acre park was once used exclusively by the owners of Windsor Castle for hunting purposes. The enclosed Deer Park section still contains many wild deer. Apart from some private lodgings the park is now open the public and has many lovely features.
The Long Walk leads from the 3 miles from a statue of King George III to Windsor Castle and the area around the statue affords a wonderful view of the castle.
A fabulous ornamental garden, The Savill Garden is a 35 acre wonderland of forest walks and hidden gardens. Within the wide variety of indigenous and imported plants contained here there are wonderful themed sections such as The Hidden Gardens, The Summer Gardens and The Azalea Walks.
Virginia Water Lake is a large man made lake which was constructed in the mid 18th century. Alongside the lake you will see a 100ft Canadian totem pole and some Roman ruins which were brought here from Libya in 1818.
Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo
The grounds of Windsor Castle attract military musicians from all over the world for this spectacular event. Apart from the music there are over 250 stalls and shops in attendance, equestrian shows from the Household Cavalry and the Royal Naval Field Gun Run.