The appeal of London isn’t just the wonderful attractions of the city itself, but also all the amazing places just a short journey away. We’ve already sung the merits of Paris and Brighton in this regard.
Windsor, just 21 miles west of the capital, is another exceptional day-trip.
Home to stunning parks, a proper palace and even a theme park for kids – there’s a world of things to see and do on a daytrip to this royal enclave.
Windsor’s gorgeous riverfront is the perfect backdrop for a relaxing stroll. Wind your way along the Thames path, which goes all the way back to London, feeding the swans, ducks and Canadian geese.
Then join a boat trip for a view from the water – or the more adventurous can hire a rowing boat. Finally, don’t miss the Alexander Gardens, an attractive Victorian park which runs parallel to much of the riverfront.
A trip to Windsor isn’t complete without a visit to Windsor Castle (pictured above) – the official residence of The Queen.
The Castle is a working palace and visitors have the unique opportunity to walk around the state apartments and rooms at its heart; seeing items from the royal collection, such as paintings by Rubens, Holbein and Lawrence and more personal treasures like Queen Mary’s dolls’ house.The Magna Carta Memorial in the lovely meadows at Runnymede
Runnymede – just 3 miles south-east of Windsor, on the banks of the River Thames – was made famous by the sealing of the Magna Carta by King John in 1215. Nowadays it’s a beautiful meadow owned by the National Trust. Climb Cooper’s Hill to see the area’s three great monuments: to commemorate the signing of the Magna Carta, to honour assassinated US president John F Kennedy and the Air Forces Memorial at the top of the Hill.
For kids, Windsor’s historic attractions may be slightly overshadowed by the appeal of Legoland. This theme park has over 50 interactive rides, building workshops and live shows. To avoid the inevitable queues, it’s better to visit mid-week and out of the school holidays.
And we’d recommend a picnic (though there’s plenty of food on offer), as Legoland’s 150 acres of stunning parkland make a lovely setting for lunch.
Trains to Windsor from London depart from Waterloo and Paddington and take 40-50 minutes. Windsor can also be reached from Victoria by Green Line bus in around an hour (depending on traffic).
If you’re looking for a convenient London hotel for your getaway near any of the above stations, do consider the following highly-rated hotels:
Park Plaza on the River near Waterloo station: already featured for its great triple rooms and attentive service near the culturally-rich South Bank – very handy for some lovely historic pubs and the London Eye too.
Hotel Indigo near Paddington station: also good for Little Venice and to cash in your Priority Club Rewards loyalty scheme points, since it’s one of the better rated IHG Group London hotels on TripAdvisor.
Hotel 41 near Victoria station: pure luxury from Red Carnation Hotels, the expertly-managed group famed for its high standards and motivated staff. This 5 star London hotel is particularly good for special occasions.
Photo credits: Hotel 41, Plaza on the River.