Every Sunday, Active England Tours pick up its walking guests from Paddington Station in the centre of London and make the scenic trip to Windsor Castle. This is day one of an iconic trip that takes our guests on a journey through some of England’s most beautiful heritage sites, from Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park to Oxford, Blenheim Palace, Shakespeare’s Stratford, Bath, Stonehenge, and Downton Abbey, travelling for the most part through the iconic Cotswolds.
How to get to Windsor Castle from London
The trip to Windsor from London takes 45 minutes. We collect our guests at Paddington Station and within the hour find ourselves walking through Windsor Great Park, the stunning old hunting ground of the Kings and Queens of England.
What to see at Windsor Castle
Few sights impress quite like the approach to the world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle. We visit the Royal Polo ground (the Guards Polo Club), where both Prince Harry and Prince William can sometimes be spotted. The game, played from horseback, originates over two-thousand years ago when it was first invented as a cavalry training exercise. Learn about the history, the rules, and the royal family’s involvement with this ancient sport.
After a quick stop for lunch at the Savill Gardens, we take the Long Walk from the statue of George III (made out of melted down cannons from the Napoleonic wars) down to the Castle itself.
Visiting Windsor Castle
Our guests see the castle in all its glory, including St. George’s Hall where dignitaries and ambassadors from around the world convene at one long table for the State Banquets. As a working royal palace, the Castle is often used by The Queen for State ceremonies and official entertaining. Wander beneath the ornate grandeur of the State Apartments, furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection.
The experience is spectacular, with guests typically spending up to two hours immersing themselves in the intrigue and the history of Her Majesty The Queen’s official residence.
Legends of Windsor Castle
It wouldn’t be England without legend and folklore and Windsor Castle is no exception. These are the top five legends surrounding the Castle.
- The sculptor who designed the statue of George III haunts Windsor Great Park, as he apparently forgot to put stirrups on the horse. (This is not true, as horse and rider were based on the Roman riding style where stirrups we not used.)
- When Sir Christopher Wren built the Guildhall building, he made sure the pillars in the centre didn’t touch the ceiling (after an argument with the planners). Also not true – the foundations of that building are very heavy, and what is more likely is that over time they sank and the pillars moved about 1/2 an inch away from the ceiling.
- Hitler took a liking to Windsor Castle and wanted to make it his home if he succeeded in invading England, so instructed that it was not to be bombed. Simply not true; Hitler would have liked nothing more than to bomb the seat of England’s monarchy.
- The Crown Jewels were moved to Windsor Castle for safe keeping. Not true, although the deer in Windsor Great Park were moved to the grounds of Balmoral as the park was given over to agricultural production.
- There are numerous reported ghosts in the Castle, including Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Queen Victoria. Bear this in mind, should you happen to catch something out of the corner of your eye…
Windsor Castle is the first iconic English landmark in the eight-day tour, which also includes trips to Churchill’s Blenheim Palace, Shakespeare’s Stratford, the home of Downton Abbey, the Roman Baths, the remarkable Stonehenge, as well as Avebury, White Horse Hill and the Ridgeway, the magnificent towns and villages of the Cotswolds, and the most famous University in the World, Oxford.
Start exploring some of England’s oldest and most beautiful sites.
Take a trip to Windsor Castle from London when visiting England as part of your tour.