Have a Royal Windsor experience this summer
The official Diamond Jubilee celebrations may have passed, but the Queen is still enjoying her Jubilee year making 2012 the perfect time to enjoy a royal-themed holiday. Windsor, with its famous castle and long royal associations, has plenty to entertain fans of Great Britain’s best-known family. Here’s how to make the most of your stay.
Visit the Queen’s official home: The first stop for royalists should be Windsor Castle, which is the world’s oldest inhabited castle as well as being an official home of the Queen. Her Majesty is often in residence, but you can still enjoy tours of the state departments, explore St George’s Chapel where ten of the country’s monarchs have their resting place, and watch the changing of the guard at 11am. Throughout 2012, you’ll also have the chance to see an exhibition featuring portraits of the Queen’s reign, which includes 60 photographs from both official events and family get-togethers.
Explore by horse and carriage: On state occasions, you’ll often see the Queen and the rest of the royal family travelling through London in a horse-drawn carriage. Thanks to Orchard Poyle, you can now enjoy the same privilege, with horse and carriage sight-seeing tours around Windsor Castle and the surrounding area. Ascot Carriages also offers trips round Windsor Park in a Victorian carriage originally used by the Queen’s Equerry and Horsemaster.
Treat yourself to a royal experience: Get the star treatment at Millennium Hotels Windsor hotels venue, which offers a luxurious accommodation and dining experience to guests. Or why not enjoy a meal fit for a queen at Michelin-starred chef Antony Warrall Thompson’s Windsor Grill? You could even nip down to nearby Bray to eat at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck – voted best restaurant in the world in 2005.
Play the sport of kings: Feeling brave? Then follow in the footsteps of Prince Harry and try your hand at polo. Windsor is one of the country’s premier polo venues, and even if you don’t fancy actually getting on a horse there are plenty of opportunities to watch matches. You might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Queen in the Royal Box.
Spy out some hidden gems: It isn’t just the aristocratic associations that make Windsor a fascinating place to visit – the town beyond the castle gates is a lively community with an eclectic collection of boutique shops and picturesque residential architecture giving way to rolling countryside dotted with unspoiled villages. Why not take a walk along the Thames, or explore the network of footpaths and bridleways before returning to an evening at the Theatre Royal or Norden Farm Centre for the Arts? If you’re prepared to travel a little further afield, then Ascot Racecourse and Legoland are both on the town’s doorstep. Finally, don’t miss out on a tour of the area’s stately homes – Frogmore House and Taplow Court are both must-sees.
Photo Credit – Wikimedia:Mark Furney