By Rhiane Kirkby
Given it provided the perfect stage for the wedding of the year, the historic town of Windsor needs little introduction. But it does provide an interesting option for a family day out—with the added bonus that it’s really easy to get to on public transport from London.
Come out of the train station—or the town car parks—and you can’t miss the 948-year-old castle. There’s something here for all the family—see the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s dolls’ house, Harry and Meghan’s wedding chapel and the impressive Changing the Guard ceremony (11am Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays). There are arts and crafts and role-play events throughout the summer—and although I can’t promise a glimpse of royalty, you could be lucky.
Outside the castle, on the second Thursday of the month, there’s a new event going on: tea and cake with a British Army Veteran. Given they’ll be recounting their war experiences it’s not really one for children, but it could be a half hour well spent for those (over 17) with an interest in history.
If the great outdoors is your thing, Windsor Great Park is a fantastic place to spend the day. With a royal history spanning over 1,000 years, there’s plenty to see and do. You can follow in the horse hooves of Meghan and Harry’s carriage down the Long Walk, explore the ancient woodlands and forest trails, and have a picnic on the banks of the stunning Virginia Water lake. Younger children will love finding all the animals on the 30-metre-high Totem Pole, or discovering the play area on the Obelisk Lawn. There’s a really spacious new café and restaurant in the Virginia Water Pavilion and an Environmental Centre where you can see up close all the wildlife that call this park home.
If rain threatens to spoil play, worry not—Windsor town centre is a great place to explore. There are loads of gift shops and child-friendly cafés. And if little legs are tired of walking you can escape to The Jelly Lounge—the pay-as-you-go family club. An amazing, interactive soft play area will surely revive them—and a high-quality caffeine hit may do the same for you!
Of course, no Windsor review would be complete without a mention of Legoland. The theme park is obviously a day trip in itself—especially when you consider the entrance fees—but it’s a big hit with children big and small. It’s easy to get to even if you don’t have a car as there’s a shuttle service from local train stations and a coach service from London. And you can, of course, maximise your time there by staying overnight in the resort. Pirates, pharaohs, knights and Vikings grace this land and amongst this year’s new attractions are underwater reefs, a mini America and a Round the World tour.