It’s impossible to go to Windsor without paying a visit to the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. First built in the 11th century, Windsor Castle has been used by the country’s reigning monarch ever since the time of Henry I. Queen Elizabeth II uses the castle as her preferred weekend retreat and as the location for state banquets to this day. Open to the public too, visit the castle to wander through the impressive state apartments and grand reception room, admire the art and enjoy special events for adults and children.
One of the most famous boys’ schools in the world, Eton College was founded in the 1400s, while many of the school’s former pupils – known as Old Etonians – have gone on to become prominent figures. The school has produced 19 Prime Ministers and a number of Nobel Prize winners, while royalty from around the world choose to send their sons there. When in Windsor, have a wander past the school to soak up some of this history, or book a place on one of the public tours between May and September every year.
This is one of the most photographed buildings in Windsor, thanks to the distinctive lean of the structure. Officially called Market Cross House, the building is found on the corner of High Street and Queen Charlotte Street. It dates back to the 1500s, although it was demolished and rebuilt again in the 1700s. The reason for the building’s lean is thought to be due to unseasoned oak that warped following construction, but an alternative theory cites the demolition of nearby buildings as the cause. Nevertheless, it forms an iconic part of Windsor’s street scene. Originally rented by a butcher, the building has also been used by brewers, printers, coal merchants and florists over the years, and is now home to a jewellery shop.
Forming one of the most iconic views of Windsor, the Long Walk is a three-mile long tree-lined avenue in Windsor Great Park. The best way to experience the Long Walk on foot is to begin at the Copper Horse statue on a hill overlooking the park. Pass the Deer Park enclosure – where 500 deer roam free – and continue along the Long Walk all the way to Windsor Castle at the end. The Long Walk was also a prominent part of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s post-nuptials carriage ride around Windsor. It’s even possible to hire a horse and carriage in Windsor Great Park to get a flavour of this experience.
Windsor’s former railway station has since become a go-to shopping destination, thanks to the impressive architecture that makes shopping here an experience steeped in history and old-world glamour. The Grade II listed Victorian railway station is filled with original brickwork and tall metal arches in a partially covered section that floods pavement cafés with natural light. This is the place in Windsor to shop, go people-watching and generally immerse yourself in a spot filled with history.