If you’re looking for a quick day trip idea from London, I’d recommend the little market town of Windsor. It’s certainly a place you’ve heard of before due to its royal connections and Windsor Castle. But having visited London a few times now, I had never made the trip to Windsor until my most recent trip earlier this month.
The drive from London is just under an hour, and the train will also get you there in that time.
Not quite a day trip for me, as I stayed overnight in Windsor, which made for a leisurely way to explore the historic town for a couple of days. I’ll share exactly where I stayed in this post a little later (so keep reading!).
What I loved about Windsor is that it’s very walkable, picturesque, and has some surprisingly bright and modern venues that I adored for being nestled in an old market town.
Before you go, check out some of the other posts from my England and Scotland adventure:
Things to do in Windsor, UK
- Take a tour of Windsor Castle. Sadly, it was closed when I was there as England was still in a 10-day mourning period following Queen Elizabeth’s passing. So I was only able to walk around the outside. But thankfully I had visited in the past during another trip to London.
- Grab coffee, dinner, or drinks at The Ivy Royal Windsor Brasserie. I adored this colorful place. It was the first spot I popped into in Windsor as I was dealing with jet lag and looking for a strong cup of coffee. I can attest that the pops of color will wake you up and put you in good spirits. I had much more pep in my step after.
- Take a photo of the Crooked House of Windsor at 51 High Street. This wonky building has had many past lives since its build in 1687. It’s been a teahouse, a butcher shop, a boutique, and more. Legend has it there is an underground passage that connects to Windsor Castle, potentially built to hide illicit royal affairs. Or it could have just been a tunnel to deliver food to the castle kitchen from the market. I guess we’ll never know!
- Enjoy the small park just off the corner of Baldwin’s Shore and High Street (just before the Museum of Eton Life). Barnes Pool is a pretty creekside garden that is a perfect quiet spot for morning coffee. While there, a man joined me, also taking pictures, and he said he was using the photos for a painting once he got back home. And I can see why he’d want to capture the park on canvas. It’s hard to show in a photo, but the light from the water had a lovely warmth.
- Another park to add to your list is Baths Island + Pleasure Ground. I didn’t get a chance to visit, but from the photos on Google, it looks like a picturesque park along the River Thames that I’d love to stroll through.
- Do as the British do and book Afternoon Tea at the historic Oakley Court hotel. One look at this beautiful hotel and you’ll understand why I’m recommending it.
Bonus Trip – Head to Blenheim Palace
If you decide to stay in Windsor as I did, I highly recommend making an additional day trip to Blenheim Palace, one of the largest estates in England. The beautiful home and gardens, owned currently by the Duke of Marlborough, were built similarly to the Palace of Versailles. Plus, it’s only an hour away from Windsor!
Me being a little bit of a history nerd, I wanted to share some of the interesting tidbits and facts I learned during the tour:
🎩 Winston Churchill was accidentally born here two months early. His mother went into labor after horseback riding on the grounds. He was only 3 pounds and wasn’t expected to live beyond a few hours.
👑 The Crown still owns the land, and the Dukes of Marlborough pay rent by creating a new copy of the French flag presented to the King/Queen each year.
🌟 Much of the palace interiors’ grandiosity can be attributed to Consuelo Vanderbilt, an American socialite, and heiress of the prominent Vanderbilt family.
🕴During WWII, M15 housed themselves in the palace after receiving intel that Hitler wanted the place for himself after he invaded, so they knew he had no plans of bombing it.
If you’re a Churchill fan, the palace also has an exhibit dedicated to him. You can see portraits (and a lock of hair!) of Winston as a baby, paintings he did, letters he wrote, a vast collection of his clothing, and even a life-size figure that was cool and eery to see.
Adult tickets for the palace range from £20.50 to £40. Book your Blenheim Palace tour today.
Where to stay in Windsor, UK
I ended up staying at the Castle Hotel on High Street, the main road in Windsor. I liked it because it felt very central, with many restaurants nearby, and everything was within walking distance.
But if I were to go back, I’d love to look into getting a room at the historic Oakley Court Hotel, which is a beautiful Victorian mansion house nestled on 35 acres of land just outside of Windsor.
Places to eat in Windsor, UK
I was pleasantly surprised by how many great options Windsor had for places to eat because it’s such an old historic market town. Below you’ll find the list of restaurants I flagged on my Google Maps. You have old pubs, brasseries, and even a cute sushi spot to choose from.
- The King & Castle
- The Carpenters Arms
- Intoku Japanese & Sushi Restaurant
- The Two Brewers
- The Royal Windsor
- Cote Windsor
- Millar’s Eatery Windsor
- River House (for guests at Oakley Court hotel)
Hopefully, this guide is helpful as you plan your visit to Windsor, UK. I found it a lovely English town full of history, with some modern, colorful surprises along the way.
If you’re looking for day trip ideas from London, definitely put Windsor on your list. Message me if you have any questions about my visit. I’m always happy to help!
Let’s go places,
Have you been to the town of Windsor in England? If so, share some of your favorite spots in the comments below.
All photos in this blog post are mine. Feel free to share but please credit me with a link to the blog. Much appreciated, and thank you for your support!