Things to do Around Windsor
Windsor Great Park (5 minutes walk)
The Great Park extends from Windsor towards Ascot, it is well famed for it beautiful landscapes and rolling hills. The main view of the Castle is from the Long Walk, a 3 mile tree lined roadway, extending from the castle into the park, ending in the statue of the Copper Horse.
Windsor Great Park covers 4,800 acres, parts of which are open to the public. Its present area was determined in the 1360s and was popular with Saxon kings as a hunting forest. The park is shrouded in mystery and legend and for over 1,000 years the story of Herne the Hunter has been told. His ghost still appears wearing the antlers of a stag, riding a phantom black stallion at the head of a pack of black hounds. He appears to warn of times of trouble and gallops through Windsor Great Park only to disappear into thin air.
The park today is the perfect place for picnics, walking, cycling and horse riding.
The Guards Polo Club was founded in 1955 with HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as President. The Club is now the largest polo club in Europe, in terms of membership and number of grounds.
Polo matches are played on most weekends through the summer at Smith’s Lawn in Windsor Great Park. The Cartier International match at the end of July is the highlight of the season.
Savill Gardens & Valley Gardens (15 minutes drive) www.savillgarden.co.uk
Within Windsor Great Park, Savill Garden covers some 35 acres and was formalised in 1932 by Sir Eric Savill who, as Deputy Ranger, was responsible for its creation. Today the garden is well established and is considered to be the finest of its type in the northern temperate region of the world. There are wonderful displays of colour all year round with spectacular spring plants; the formal rose garden and herbaceous borders in the summer; the fiery colours of autumn and the misty vistas of winter.
There is also a unique temperate house which shelters frost tender plants from the rigours of winter and is a fragrant delight in spring. There is an excellent restaurant as well as a well stocked gift and plant centre.
Tel: 01753 860222
Runnymede (10 minutes drive)
Just 3 miles south-east of Windsor, on the banks of the River Thames, is the famous meadow of Runnymede. It was here in 1215 that King John sealed the Magna Carta. This charter established the principle of the constitutional monarchy and affirmed the individual’s right to justice and liberty. The American constitution is based on the Magna Carta and to commemorate this the American Bar Association erected a memorial in 1957. This can be seen on the hillside overlooking the water meadows.
Nearby on an acre of ground given to the USA by Her Majesty The Queen is a memorial erected in 1965 to the memory of the assassinated President John F. Kennedy. High on the hill is a memorial erected as a tribute to “the men and women of the Air Forces of the British Commonwealth who lost their lives in the Second World War and who have no known grave”. There are 20,455 names recorded on the stone panels and courtyard. This most peaceful place offers magnificent views across the Thames Valley.
Dorney Court (15 minutes drive) www.dorneycourt.co.uk
Dorney Court is a fascinating experience. Built in 1440 and lived in by the present family for over 450 years, the rooms are full of history with 15th and 16th century oak and beautiful 17th century lacquer furniture. The adjacent 13th century church of St James, with Norman front and Tudor tower, can also be visited.
Dorney is the ancient word for “island of bees” and Dorney is famous for its honey which is still produced today. The very first pineapple to be raised in England was grown at Dorney Court and presented to Charles II in 1661. Please check their web site for full details on opening times.
Ascot racecourse (15 minutes drive) www.ascot.co.uk
One of England’s major racecourses and the venue for Royal Ascot Week races held during June every year. The Queen and many royals will attend the races during the Royal raceweek. This is a must see event, combining horse racing and perhaps, even more importantly, a high society social event.
Thorpe Park (20 minutes drive) www.thorpepark.co.uk
Stains Road, Chertsey, Surrey. Theme park with many rides for all ages (although it is mainly targeted at the teenage/adult market) , includes a children’s farm.
Wentworth golf course (20 minutes drive)
The world famous golf course, well worth a quick drive around to see the amazing location and surrounding houses, most costing millions of pounds.
Sunningdale golf course (20 minutes drive)
Another world class golf course.
Cliveden House (20 minutes drive) www.nationaltrust.org.uk
The luxury hotel and National Trust estate, Cliveden House, formerly the family home of the Astors and the scene of the infamous Profumo affair. Cliveden House overlooks the Thames in Berkshire and is notorious for the Profumo scandal in the 1960s in which the then defence minister, John Profumo, used the hotel to meet Christine Keeler, who was also having a relationship with a Soviet spy. The property has been owned by the National Trust since 1942. A night’s stay at Cliveden House costs up to £750. An extremely lovely place to visit and wander around. Tel 01628 668561. Taplow, Berkshire.
Odds Farm Park (25 minutes drive)www.oddsfarm.co.uk
Voted “Best family attraction in Buckinghamshire” for two years running by the Good Guide to Great Britain. A visit to Odds Farm Park provides an opportunity to meet many rare and interesting animals – and have a great day out at any time of the year. This park was created particularly with children in mind and provides lots of opportunities for them to observe the animals closely in an enjoyable atmosphere. As one of 20 approved rare breeds centres in the country, we combine this with the breeding and conservation of many of Britain’s rarest farm animals.
Phone or fax 01628 520188 Open seven days a week. Odds Farm Park, High Wycombe, Bucks HP10 OLX
Bekonscot Model Village (30 minutes drive) www.bekonscot.org.uk
Wonderful model village, well worth a visit for a few hours. Includes mini train ride around the village.
Open Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5pm from February to October.
Telephone 01494 672919
The Hell-Fire Caves (25 minutes drive) www.visitbuckinghamshire.org
West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.Tel: (01494) 533739 Chalk caves excavated in 1750’s, they extend to over half a mile underground. A visit is ideal for picnics, walking and roaming.