I’m just back from a wonderful weekend in Windsor with my family, staying in a gorgeous apartment. I wanted to show you how we navigated the royal town in these covid times, and why Windsor is definitely still open for weekend of fun.
I was invited for a weekend in Windsor by Sentinel Living Apartments. They have three apartments in the centre of the city, and we stayed in this one, just off the central Peascod Road on William Street. More on that below, but for now, let’s take a look at what you can do in two days in Windsor.
Friday night in Windsor
Takeaway and games night
On the Friday night we decided to stay in and enjoy our apartment with some Champers, a few games, and a local takeaway from Sunny Valley Chinese. Turned out to be a wonderful idea.
We had a nice big table to set all the food out, and enjoyed a feast from the comfort of our apartment.
I’d bought the Throw Throw Burrito game in the recent Amazon Prime day. It was fun, but the actual level of fun depends on how much you want to throw a plastic burrito in your parents face. That one didn’t last long.
It was so lovely to just be able to catch up somewhere clean and spacious, and just for us. Our apartment had two bedrooms, and a bathroom each too. We had a large living space and it was only one floor up the stairs.
If you go from November onwards you’ll be able to see the impressive Windsor Christmas decorations from your window! They weren’t quite turned on yet for us.
The apartment was located right opposite a highly recommended mezze restaurant, and there were more nearby, but we were so cosy and happy in our apartment, and had a few bottles of wine, we decided to stay, ready for action the next day!
Saturday in Windsor
Windsor Castle & window shopping
The great thing about having an apartment in Windsor in these unprecedented times, is that you can also breakfast there.
Mum and dad had picked up a few delights from a bakery on the way, but there was a Gail’s over the road from our apartment, and a Marks and Spencer’s a few minutes away if you need. Otherwise, there’s a plethora of restaurants that’ll offer you breakfast, and a Cafe Nero downstairs.
Right, ready to explore Windsor?
We wandered up Peascod Road, looking in the shop windows. There’s something about wearing a mask, sanitising in every shop and worrying about touching anything that kinda ruins that whole shopping experience.
Instead, we window shopped. Eyeing up a few house bits in the Daniel homewares shop, debating getting a Queen mask in the WIndsor souvenirs shop, and admiring the talent of the buskers, who we came to realise were there all day long.
Visit Windsor Castle
We went into Windsor Castle at about 11:30am on a Saturday. Normally peak time, but we found we had plenty of space to look around, and enjoy the state rooms and chapel. We didn’t pre book but did check online the night before that it’d be ok – looked like they had plenty of space.
Of course, masks were obligatory when you were inside but there was plenty of grounds to wander where you didn’t have to wear them. Mum and dad modelling both ways there.
Unfortunately the Doll’s House was closed because of Covid, This area had been a highlight for me when I’d visited Windsor for the day back in March.
Still, plenty more to enjoy at Windsor Castle.
The flying flag proved that Queen Elizabeth was actually in residence while we were there, making it all the more exciting. We were looking round her house, WHILE SHE WAS IN IT.
Windsor Castle audio guides were still available, the cafe was definitely open for business, and we enjoyed roaming through the state rooms. Unfortunately the whole Changing of the Guards excitement has been cancelled for now, but we did see a few wandering the grounds.
The big excitement at Windsor Castle this season is that Princess Beatrice’s wedding dress is on display. Poor old Bea had to scale back her wedding thanks to COVID, but we can ‘feel like we were there’ with the story of her dress, and her impressive Valentino shoes to enjoy.
We looked round St George’s Chapel, and actually walked over the gravestone and remains of Henry VIII, buried deep below the chapel.
Make sure to get your ticket stamped so you can return to Windsor any time you like within the next year – bargain!
Exploring Windsor Town
We decided to have more of a look around Windsor after our tour of the castle. It’s a good opportunity to see more of the outside, get some perspective on how huge it really is, and to enjoy the fact it’s the world’s oldest working castle, just right in the middle of a busy town.
Normally castles are up on a hill, or out in the sticks – but here we sat across from the castle at the Horse and Groom’s outside tables with a pint of cider admiring the view. As with all pubs now in England, it’s a one-way system inside and table service too. Lucky for us it was a nice enough day to sit out.
There’s a really good fudge shop in Windsor, Fudge’s Kitchen, where you can sample the fudge they make on the premises. Make sure to get in there if you can wait in the queues. Unfortunately with only two in the shop at a time, I wasn’t into it enough to queue behind the 10 people ahead of me. Do go if you can though!
The old Windsor Railway Station is a big ‘thing to see in Windsor’. It’s been renovated as a shopping precinct now, with lots of lovely smelling restaurants, and an amazing looking donut shop too.
One of the great things about having a Windsor Airbnb right in the centre of the town was that we could pop back for an afternoon nap after all this excitement. So we did.
Saturday evening in Windsor
Once we were refreshed and ready to go again we wandered down to the River Thames. We were actually on the lookout for the site of the legendary Ricky Tick Club which dad remembered from the 60s – and the last time he was in Windsor – but we couldn’t find it.
What we did find though was the Windsor and Eton Brewery. The beer is brewed on site, and there are three different tours you can join to learn more (although not in 2020). We sat outside and enjoyed a Republika, the first one my eyes fell on at the bar.
They had a delightful smelling Greek street food stand on site outside, and on busier days they have pizza too. I went in to use the toilet and saw the big area in among the brewing machines you could sit in the back. We preferred to be outside though.
We walked along the river and back towards town through Alexandra Gardens. Not every day you’re just wandering along and happen to see a model Hawker Hurricane in front of you. The designer, Sir Sydney Camm had lived in Windsor, and this was a life size replica to remind everyone of the sacrifice of the Battle of Britain in 1940.
We saw a ballet of swans gathered here. Dad and I agreed, it looked magical. It wasn’t until the next day, on our Duck Tour, that we learned this is where the come in the evening, to stay safe.
We walked the rest of the river, and then over the bridge into Eton, taking in the beautiful scene.
Our final destination for the night was the The Royal Windsor pub, near the Windsor and Eton Station. We shared a chorizo flatbread – more delicious and bigger than we expected – and a glass of wine in the beer garden to top off a great day.
We’d managed a whole day in Windsor sitting outside to eat and drink, in October.
Time to go home, relax and sleep in our comfortable and warm apartment.
Sunday in Windsor: Duck Tour
Another breakfast at home, with some delicious sourdough bread and Marmite. Can’t go wrong.
We had a chilled morning, leaving at the check out time of 11am. We dropped the keys back, parked mum and dad’s car in Victoria Street, and wandered down the other end of Windsor for an hour or so.
So many nice homewares shops.
After seeing the River Thames by night, we wanted more by day, and so got a brew from the Mamma Mia Italian restaurant by Eton Bridge to sit and watch the swans.
We were garnering energy for the big activity of the day – the Windsor Duck Tour.
You might think it too cheesy, but, I can confirm, it was a great £20 spent, and we learnt facts about Windsor and Eton we never would’ve otherwise. If you’ve never seen a Duck Tour before, basically, they’re these amphibious vehicles that can run on land and water, and take you on both.
Ben and I did one in Miami last year, and I’d done them in London and Dublin before, and now, Windsor.
They took us up to the Great Park to see the famous walking path to Windsor Castle, we went round the pretty village of Datchet (known in England for its extreme flooding) and then back into Windsor the other side. Then we went on the River Thames, retracing our steps from the night before.
The best thing about the tour was the commentary. The tour guides gave us some great facts about Windsor, and about living there, and a glimpse of the wealth of history it holds. We saw some beautiful views of the castle from the river, and it was fun seeing the town from the water.
Don’t forget your coat if you’re doing the Duck Tour – bit nippy with the wind rushing through!
And that was the end of our two days in Windsor.
Where to park in Windsor
We had one free parking space with the apartment, which my parents conveniently took. And so we parked our car in the Victoria Street Car Park just a two-minute walk away.
We ended up spending about £34 to park from 5:45pm on Friday to Sunday at 2:30pm. You will either have to keep going back and topping up, or you can just download the Ringo app and have a session running for the whole weekend, which it will keep topping up.
We were told this was the best central parking in Windsor, and seeing as it was the closest we had to reason to argue. If you look around you might be able to get free parking on a Sunday, but we were just in it for an easy weekend away.
Weekend in Windsor
We relaxed, we learned, we quacked on the Duck Tour, we ate some great food, we saw somewhere new – and we managed to socially distance throughout.
A big reason for being able to do that was having our own apartment. It really gave us peace of mind to know that it’d been thoroughly cleaned, was all new and nice, and that we had a retreat to come back to where we were confident to touch things, and take off our masks!
If you’d like to know more about where we stayed, then check out the Sentinel Living site here.
The accommodation for my weekend in Windsor was provided by Sentinel Living – great apartments in the centre of Windsor. We had a wonderful experience, and I thank them for bringing my family together in safety in this crazy year.