Windsor - Little London Whispers

Windsor

Windsor is on full Royal Wedding alert, with less than a week to go until the big day. The town is in a state of excitement as are we. Every side street was festooned in bunting. Harry & Meghan masks popping up all over the place and the preparations for the town’s very special day in abundance. There is nothing like a Royal Wedding to make people happy.

Just across the bridge from Windsor is Eton. The charming high street is walking distance from the castle. It is worth having an amble through, it boasts a couple of small restaurants, coffee houses, a contemporary art gallery and a very good quirky card shop. Known predominantly for Eton College, the school buildings are stunning and, if you are lucky, you might catch the boys rushing to lessons in their distinctive Etonian tails.

Breakfast in Windsor

Esquires: A lovely cafe on the high st. On a sunny day they open the windows. Time it well and you could probably watch the changing of the guard from here. We sat at the window, sun streaming in, right bang opposite the ‘famous’ crooked house. Coffee is large, even small is large, and it’s really good – as was the croissant. A perfect start to our day.

Culture in Windsor

The only culture you need in Windsor is the castle.  Not only is it the Queen’s favourite residence, but it totally oozes history through every brick. Founded by William the Conqueror, it has been home to 39 monarchs, and is the oldest Royal residence. It is also the largest working castle in the world. It is so astonishing in its grandeur, elegance and beauty, it takes your breath away. You need a few hours – we took 4, to even scratch the surface.

We obviously made a bee-line for St George’s Chapel, the star location for THE wedding. Stunning, surprisingly intimate and steeped in historical memorials, it is the perfect choice for the fairytale wedding.

The Staterooms are dripping in Van Dykes, Rubens and portraits of the great and the good of British History. You can even see the bullet that killed Lord Nelson from the Battle of Waterloo – I mean really!!

Eating in Windsor

Eating Out: Whilst we would always try and recommend a local business, we just couldn’t find anywhere that came close to offering all are requirements. Cote Brasserie has an amazing location right on the river, near the bridge going into Eton. It sits right on the river, that on a lovely day, this is the perfect place for lunch or dinner.

The other places worth mentioning would be The Christopher Wren Hotel, again on the river. It is a stunning building, with a brasserie overlooking the river. We didn’t eat here, as it looked a little un-atmospheric, but it certainly has an A1 position, so maybe worth a try.  It could have just been the time of day.

If you are looking for afternoon tea, pop your head into the Bel & Dragon. Located just at the bottom of the hill opposite the castle, they are offering A Royal Wedding Tea, and a Markle Sparkle and Ginger Royal cocktail to top it off.  We’re going back.. right now, going back!

Pubs in Windsor

We didn’t make it into any.. However, reliably told these are the ones worth trying. The George for fish & chips and The Two Brewers, adjacent to the Long Walk for a good pint. There is of course the newly re-named Prince Harry, which is topical, as we know Prince Harry loves a pint. Finally the Saville Garden which has just re-opened, after a revamp, could be worth popping your head into.

Snacking in the Castle

Definitely make the effort to stop for ice cream. It was delicious. It was better than delicious, it was mouth-wateringly good. Full of flavour, the strawberry ice cream actually had frozen strawberries in it! Yum

Snacking outside the Castle

A true highlight of the day was The Fudge Kitchen on the High St. OMG it was so delicious. In the interests of ‘research’ we had to try several flavours including their ‘Royal Wedding Lemon & Elderflower’, gimmicky, but good. The salted caramel – there are no words, and the dark chocolate – the best we’ve ever tasted. Made in the traditional artisan way, you can even go ‘backstage’ and watch it being created, which sadly involved more sampling. 100% worth a visit.

Fresh air in Windsor

Windsor Great Park and the Long Walk. There’s no where like it, the view, the beauty and if you are lucky you will spot some deer and quite possibly the Queen.

Dorney Lake in Eton. Dorney was the home for the rowing at the London Olympics 2012.  Since then it is still used for rowing, but it is also a beautiful park. More easily accessible by car, than if you have gone by train.

LLW tips:

  • Go by train. It arrives straight into the centre of town. We drove because we wanted to drive the Royal route & got a spot in the centre of town. Either way, get there early to avoid the very long queues into the castle, which at the moment must be at least 3 hours long by 10.30am!
  • Have a big breakfast, & take a snack for the castle. If you take as long as us, it just helps you to keep going. Still have the ice cream, but we’d have liked a little something extra.
  • Definitely do the audio guide in the castle.They are adaptable for adults, kids, families. Bursting at the flags with information, they are an absolute must.

Verdict:

She said: Couldn’t have loved it more.
He said: Really enjoyed the history aspect.
Teen said: Yes, I love Windsor for the shopping !
Kids said: Loved all the history, the guns & the stories.

Extras:

There is a Duck Tour. We loved the one in London, so not sure what this is like, but a fun idea if you are there for a few days!

If you are heading for the wedding on Saturday, find your spot here with Royal Wedding Carriage route