A right royal bargain with the Windsor Express
There must be a catch, surely?
It’s almost too good to be true – a double-decker bus with great views across London, free wi-fi and power chargers, coffee shop style tables, comfy seats, friendly drivers and get this a £2 fare all the way from the heart of Central London to Windsor and onwards to Legoland. That’s around 1/12th the price of the fare on the train and the rest…Wow, wow, wow – but it’s true – there’s this dynamic, fantastic chic-looking bus that connects royalty – in Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria and the heart of Windsor – with, among other picture postcard tourist bonanza spots – the Royal Albert Hall en route.
The remarkable Windsor Express takes approximately 1 hour 25 minutes from Victoria to Windsor and a further 20 minutes to Legoland. For those in the centre of London, that’s not much longer than schlepping on the tube to Waterloo or Paddington for the train to Windsor and a lot cheaper, of course. Did we tell you, the fares are only £2, by the way? There’s also a great App as well showing live tracking of the buses and the service, which is run by renowned customer-centric company, Reading Buses, is the home for some of the chirpiest drivers in the UK! It’s a bus ride that’s fit for a King.
Wonderful Windsor unlocked
Windsor, an historic, idyllic town nestled on the banks of the River Thames, offers a charming blend of rich history, cultural attractions, and scenic beauty. One of its most iconic landmarks is Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. Visitors can explore the State Apartments, marvel at the stunning St. George’s Chapel, and witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a centuries-old tradition.
The town’s picture postcard streets are lined with traditional shops, cafes, and pubs. Stroll down Peascod Street and Thames Street to experience the lively atmosphere, indulge in local cuisine, and shop for unique souvenirs. For a leisurely walk, head to Alexandra Gardens, a serene park along the riverbank, offering breathtaking views of Windsor Castle.
Windsor Castle enjoys a history spanning over 1,000 years. It has served as a residence for British monarchs since the time of William the Conqueror. The castle is home to St. George’s Chapel, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and the final resting place of many monarchs, including Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. The chapel also hosts significant royal ceremonies such as weddings and funerals. Windsor Castle has withstood various challenges, including a devastating fire in 1992. Extensive restoration work followed, ensuring the preservation of this historic landmark.
A visit to Eton College, located just across the river from Windsor, is a must for history enthusiasts. This prestigious boarding school, founded in 1440, has produced numerous notable alumni, including many British Prime Ministers.
The Windsor Royal Shopping Centre, situated in a converted Victorian railway station, provides a blend of high-end shops and independent boutiques. Visitors can peruse a diverse range of products, from fashion and jewellery to artisanal goods.
A great, long languid walk of beauty
For those seeking outdoor activities, the Long Walk is an iconic three-mile avenue leading from Windsor Castle to the Copper Horse statue in Windsor Great Park. The park itself offers vast green spaces, woodlands, and a lake, providing a perfect setting for picnics, leisurely walks, or even horse riding.
The Long Walk was originally constructed by King Charles II in the 17th century. It was later extended during the reign of Queen Anne and has since become synonymous with Windsor’s royal heritage. Lined with beautiful elm trees on both sides, the Long Walk presents a grand and majestic approach to Windsor Castle. The unobstructed view enhances the sense of grandeur and drama as visitors approach the royal residence.
At the end of the Long Walk stands the Copper Horse, an equestrian statue of King George III. Created by Sir Richard Westmacott, the statue offers a commanding view of Windsor Castle and is a prominent feature in the landscape. The Long Walk is often used for ceremonial occasions and processions, adding a regal sense to the area. The route has been witness to various historic events and celebrations throughout the centuries.
The Savill Garden, located within the stunning Great Park, is a horticultural masterpiece that spans 35 acres of diverse landscapes. Established in the 1930s, this enchanting garden is celebrated for its captivating blend of contemporary and traditional design. Visitors to the Savill Garden can explore themed areas such as the Spring Wood, Summer Gardens, and the New Zealand Garden, each showcasing a rich tapestry of plants, trees, and flowers from around the world. The Savill Garden also boasts a spectacular rose garden, vibrant herbaceous borders, and serene water features.
Don’t duck out of the Duck Tour!
On a clear day there’s nothing better than messing about in boats, surrounded bv swans and with great views of the grandiose riverside residences. French Brothers runs classic 40-minute or two-hour round trips from Windsor Promenade. Alternatively, hop aboard an “amphibious vehicle” for the Windsor Duck Tour.
Beer, Browns and Ballet
In the evening, Windsor comes alive with a variety of restaurants, nightclubs and pubs offering diverse cuisines, including a bit earlier, of course, the quintessentially pursuit of afternoon tea, possibly at Leaf, or the Castle Hotel, Madame Posh or Browns. Whether enjoying a traditional British meal or international flavours, Windsor caters to every palate. The town’s vibrant cultural scene, historical landmarks, and natural beauty make it a delightful destination for folk seeking a traditional British experience. The Theatre Royal is worth a visit – in the coming weeks, there’s some great performances, including “Windsor of Oz ballet”, “Some guys have all the luck”, “The American Four Tops”.
Another fab place to visit is Windsor and Eton Brewery, which was established in 2010 and has become a local gem, embodying the rich brewing tradition of the region. Known for its innovative approach, Windsor and Eton Brewery produces a diverse range of craft beers, each with its unique flavour profile and character. From traditional ales to contemporary brews, the brewery caters to a broad spectrum of beer enthusiasts. The brewery’s taproom provides a welcoming space for patrons to enjoy freshly brewed pints and explore the craftsmanship behind each beer.
Famous folk aplenty
In terms of famous residents of Windsor, there’s almost too many to mention. Of course, the current King and the late Queen Elizabeth II, among other members of the Royal Family are synonymous with Windsor, whilst the notorious King Henry VIII is buried at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle alongside his third wife, Jane Seymour. As indicated, Eton College, close by, educated numerous prominent figures, including Princes William and Harry, as well as several British Prime Ministers, such as David Cameron. Meanwhile, Charles Dickens, the renowned Victorian author, spent time in Windsor and featured the town in some of his works. Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, also lived in Windsor.
The legendary musician Sir Elton John owns a property in Windsor. He and his partner, David Furnish, have been known to be part of the local community. The acclaimed actress Dame Judi Dench has been associated with Windsor and the nearby area. She has attended events in the town and is known to appreciate its historic charm.
Pieced together with perfection
Windsor is also home to the Legoland Windsor Resort, a popular destination for families. With its thrilling rides, impressive Lego sculptures, and interactive exhibits, it offers a day of fun for visitors of all ages. The park features intricate Lego sculptures and models, showcasing the creative use of millions of Lego bricks to depict famous landmarks, characters, and scenes.
Legoland offers a mix of thrilling rides, interactive attractions, and live shows, catering to visitors of all ages. From roller coasters to water rides, the park provides a diverse range of entertainment. A highlight of Legoland is Miniland, where visitors can explore miniature replicas of iconic cities, including London and Paris, all constructed with Lego bricks.
The park is divided into various themed zones, each offering a unique Lego experience, such as Pirate Shores, Knights’ Kingdom, and Adventure Land.
This really is a fabulous trip – a relaxing journey through the otherwise hustle and bustle of Central London to one of the most amazing towns in the world and continuing to Legoland with its unbelievable Miniland and pulsating rides for all ages. The regal 702, Windsor Express, though, is no rollercoaster ride but one where there’s consistency of top notch customer service throughout and at both ends the destinations are also cutting edge! It’s a trip with so much variety, that, like those famous coloured Lego bricks, is pieced together with perfection. To plan your trip, go to….Windsor Express – Reading Buses (reading-buses.co.uk)