Windsor: the place that never disappoints.
Windsor can be easily reached by train from Waterloo Station in London. It takes about 50 minutes and return tickets cost £11. Many people go to Windsor to visit the Royal Castle, but I have never been inside. If you are looking for a day out in fresh air, I suggest you visit this place.
Once you arrive at Windsor and Eton Riverside Station, follow the signs to the riverside walk and have a stroll down the river. You rarely meet any people here so it is very nice. You can either sit on the grass and watch the occasional swans and boats go by, or run in the fields and try to catch butterflies.
Eventually you will face the gates to the private grounds of the Castle. You have two choices now: either to go back to the station the same way (by the river) and walk up the high street in order to reach the Castle’s park, or you can walk through the cricket grounds (leaving the park’s walls on your left) up to the Castle then walk around it and follow the signs to The Long Walk park.
The Long Walk is the straight path that links Windsor Castle with Snow Hill in Windsor Great Park, which is famous for its huge population of deer. You can attempt to go straight there but I only managed to do half of The Long Walk before collapsing on the grass and had a nice lie down watching clouds, trees, and people go by.
From the castle gates to the foot of the statue of King George II (The Copper Horse), The Long Walk measures 2.64 miles in length (which is about 5 km). During the reign of King Charles II, double rows of elm trees were planted along the entire length of the route. There were 1,652 trees planted to create the basis of the landscape we know today. Charles wanted to remodel Windsor in a modern, popular style and the Long Walk was just one aspect of his improvement scheme. Later, in 1710, Queen Anne had a road constructed down the center of the tree-lined avenue so that coaches could head out into the park comfortably on a smooth surface. Over the years elms have been replaced by oak, horse chestnut, and London plane trees.
The Long Walk is still used by the royal carriages every year as part of the route from Windsor Castle to the Ascot Races. It is free from all except pedestrian traffic, and cycling is not permitted on any part of the Long Walk.
And now it’s time to have some food! Return to the river Thames where you can find numerous pubs, restaurants, and brasseries. My favorite place to eat at is Cote Brasserie Windsor – they have a few terraces facing the river so you can watch hundreds of swans while you eat. By the way, in the UK, all the swans belong to the Queen.