This is one of our favourite times to get out and explore, enjoying the opportunity to get indoor attractions all to ourselves while the rest of the world wakes up from hibernating over winter. We’ve taken a closer look at family activities in Windsor to help inspire your next day out or weekend away. There are magnificent castles, amphibious tours and more, all waiting to be conquered.
A weekend in Windsor
Windsor is the Queen’s choice when it comes to a weekend away, so why not follow suit and take the family there this winter? Windsor & Eton Riverside station is just 51 minutes out from London by train – once you’re there, try our suggestions for the best family activities in and around the town.
This magnificent fortress has been the family home of British kings and queens for more than 1,000 years, and is easily found just a 10-minute walk from the station. Far from being ready to retire from its duties, Windsor Castle remains the oldest occupied palace in the world, with the Queen spending most of her private weekends here. As you approach from the train station, look up to the castle’s Round Tower – if you see the Royal Standard flag, it means Her Majesty’s home.
You can buy a family ticket to Windsor Castle, which will grant you access to a wide range of rooms, royal artefacts and St George’s Chapel, where many a royal wedding has taken place.
Start your visit with a free 30-minute tour of the Castle Precincts, which introduces the history of the palace and shows off the beautiful countryside surrounding the grounds. The tour finishes at the entrance to the State Apartments – a sequence of rooms adorned with paintings of nobility who’ve graced the castle. Other highlights include the Semi-State rooms, dripping in gold and plush red trimmings and used by the Queen for official entertaining.
Kids will love watching the Changing of the Guard – a fabulous, foot-stomping spectacle that takes place with plenty of fanfare and triumphant tunes from the military band. It usually happens on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but check ahead online so you don’t miss out.
Windsor Duck Tour
From royal splendour to a river splashdown, this one-hour tour around the town is an exceptional way to take in the sights.
Board the bright yellow duck – part bus, part boat – which will guide you around the wonders of Windsor, switching from road to river faster than you can say ‘amphibious sightseeing tour’. There’s a live guide on board every Windsor Duck Tour, who will point out all of the major sights including Windsor Castle, the Long Walk and the Crown Estate.
Choose between the Mallard and Swan tours, depending on how much time you’d like to spend on the water. Both cost the same and pick-up is from just opposite the Theatre Royal, a short walk from the train station.
A family guide to Windsor wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the town’s other magnificent fortress: Legoland. It’s just three miles from the station, and a shuttle bus is available from the Theatre Royal stop at Thames Street.
This fascinating world of adventure is packed with 55 different rides and attractions, designed to help kids experience the ultimate fantasy playtime. From riding the rapids with Viking kings to exploring the Knights Kingdom, or finding hidden treasure in the Land of the Pharaohs, you’ll never run out of things to do. With so much outdoor activity to enjoy, the resort operates seasonal opening times and will be closed until 15 March.
It’s well worth booking in a visit for warmer times though, particularly as you can get 2-for-1 entry to Legoland with your train ticket. Why not make a weekend of it and book to stay at the Lego-themed hotel on site?
This town, just 15 minutes from the train station, is world-famous for Eton College and its high-profile alumni, who include Princes William and Harry, countless British prime ministers and even the adventurer Bear Grylls. Seasonal tours of the College and its grounds are available from May onwards.
An alternative activity that’s likely to get far more enthusiasm from younger members of the family is a trip to Eton Fudge Shop. This sweet haven does things the authentic way, hand-making all of its fudges from scratch using a traditional English recipe.
The crumbly, rich treats come in a range of family-friendly flavours like Eton Mess for the kids and Champagne and Strawberry for grown-ups. If you’re lucky, there will be seasonal fudges on offer too. Hot Cross Bun flavour anyone?
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