There are plenty of fabulous day trips from Windsor, whether it be historic buildings, theme parks or walks in the great outdoors.
If you are staying in royal Windsor, there are plenty of things to do, with your number one priority being the Queen’s weekend residence, Windsor Castle. However, if you’re staying for more than a day allow some time to visit the local area. In this post, I am sharing some of the best day trips from Windsor, England.
This article will tell you all the things to do near Windsor and how to get there. It will help you plan your visit so that you can make the most of your time near Windsor.
Explore Great Windsor Park
One of the best days trips from Windsor is a visit to Windsor Great Park. This royal park is just south of the town and covers over 4,800 acres of beautiful parkland and ancient woods.
Windsor Great Park dates back to the 13th Century and was the private hunting ground of the royals for many centuries. Today it is open to the public and is one of the best green spaces nearby.
If you start at the gates of Windsor Castle, you can walk the 2.65 miles to the Copper Statue of King George on Snow Hill. This iconic tree-lined avenue provides a long, straight walk, often seen for royal special occasions.
The Long Walk leads through the Deer Park, so keep an eye out for free-roaming Red Deer.
Read on for more great walks at Windsor Great Park.
Take a walk round Virginia Water Lake
Another of the best day trips from Windsor is a visit to Virginia Water Lake, which is about 7 miles from Windsor town centre. This is a popular outdoors destination for families, as there are so many things to see around the lake. Some of the best attractions at Virginia Water Lake include a cascade, ancient Roman ruins and a Totem Pole.
The walk around Virginia Water Lake is about 4.5 miles. However, you could do a shorter out and back walk to the Totem Pole.
Alternatively, you can extend your walk to the stunning Valley Gardens or Savill Gardens. Both of these have a collection of stunning rare plants and flowers throughout the year.
There is plenty of wildlife and nature at Virginia Water Park and the landscape is stunning throughout the year.
Admission to Virginia Water Lake and the Valley Gardens is free (apart from parking). However, there is an admission charge to the botanical gardens, Savill Garden.
Visit historic Runnymede
One of the best historic days out from Windsor is to Runnymede, near Old Windsor and Egham.
Runnymede is best known as the site where the Magna Carta was signed by King John of England in 1215. This is now one of the most influential documents in British history and is a powerful symbol of liberty.
On a visit to Runnymede, you can see the two famous memorials, the Magna Carta and JFK memorials. There are also two commemorative artworks in the meadow, “Writ in Water” and “The Jurors”.
There is a National Trust car park and tea shop within walking distance from the memorials.
Alternatively, you could combine your visit with a longer circular walk, taking in the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial too.
Runnymede is a great day trip from Windsor, especially if you want to step on the small piece of England owned by the US!
Take a tour on the River Thames
Windsor lies on the River Thames. You could take a walk from Windsor or Runnymede on The Thames Path and admire the nature and wildlife. Remember your bread as there are plenty of hungry swans along the route.
Cross the bridge to Eton
Just walking distance from Windsor town centre is the small, historic village of Eton. This is most famed for its public school, Eton College.
Originally, King Henry VI founded Eton College as a charity school for poor boys. However, nowadays it’s the chief educator for the British Royal Family and aristocracy. Today, Eton is the most famous public school in the world and both Princes William and Harry attended.
Connected by a footbridge across the Thames, Eton village is easy walking distance from Windsor Castle. Eton itself is a charming village and has an interesting selection of independent shops, galleries and restaurants.
Have fun at Legoland Windsor
One of the best options for a day trip from Windsor with younger children is a visit to Legoland.
This amazin theme park has more than 55 rides and attractions. You’ll find a selection of roller coasters, water rides and interactive adventures to suit everyone. Legoland has enough attractions to entertain children all day and is a particularly good day trip for younger children.
Whilst you are there, take time to visit miniland. This is a model of the most iconic landmarks from Europe and the USA made out of 42 million Lego bricks.
Seek some thrills at Thorpe Park
For thrill lovers, Thorpe Park Resort makes a great day trip from Windsor. With over 30 thrill rides it is one of the best theme parks in South England. Plus, it is home to the UK’s fastest rollercoaster, Stealth.
Thorpe Park is on the outskirts of Chertsey, just a short distance from Windsor. It is a fantastic attraction if you are looking for things to do with teenagers near Windsor.
Now, theme parks are not my cup of tea, but this is a great day trip from Windsor for anyone who loves an adrenaline rush!
Enjoy the trails at Swinley Forest
If you are a nature lover, one of the places to visit near Windsor is Swinley Forest. Just 12 miles from Windsor, this large area of beautiful woodland is part of the Crown Estate.
With over 1000 hectares of land, you’ll find a great choice of walks and cycle routes. Swinley Forest is a popular destination for cyclists and has a network of mountain bike trails through the trees.
Here are some of the many things to do at the Look Out in Swinley Forest:-
The Look Out Discovery Centre at Swinley Forest
.One of the highlights of Swinley Forest for children is the Look Out Discovery Centre. Based at the edge of Swinley Forest, you’ll find some great activities for toddlers on a rainy day. Younger kids will love the interactive science exhibition inside the Visitor Centre.
The Visitor Centre has a café, with indoor and outdoor seating and toilet facilities. You’ll also find plenty of picnic benches and a picnic lawn.
Get on your bike
Swinley Forest has a great cycle network, which is suitable for all ages. You can hire bikes for anyone over 6 years from the Swinley Bike Hub.
In front of the Discovery Centre, the Look Out has two great adventure playgrounds for children These include a play area for younger children and a more challenging junior play area, with its own wooden fortress.
In addition, behind the playgrounds is a fantastic den-building area.
Have a splash at Coral Reef
Across from the entrance to the Look Out is Coral Reef Waterworld. This is one of the largest interactive water parks in England. It has four waterslides, a pirate ship and an erupting volcano.
There is also an adults-only spa area for adults who want to escape from the children.
Coral Reef has recently been modernised and is one of the best attractions for families near Bracknell. Consequently, it is advisable to avoid peak times, such as weekends.
Step back in time Hampton Court Palace
Another of the best historic days trips from Windsor, is a visit to Hampton Court Palace. This magnificent Tudor building was the former home of King Henry VIII. You can go in the palace and visit the royal residence and state rooms or take a tour of the gardens.
It’s possible to lose yourself for ages in the fabulous Hampton Court maze.
Across the road from the Palace is Bushy Park, another of the great royal parks. You’ll find plenty of things to do at Bushy Park, including memorials, a playground, woodland gardens and wildlife. Look out for the free-roaming deer who live in the park.
Travel further afield
A day trip to Stonehenge
For another fantastic day out from Windsor, you could visit the iconic landmark of Stonehenge, near Salisbury in Wiltshire. At just over an hour from Windsor, this is an easy journey on the M3/A303.
Stonehenge is a a collection of prehistoric Sarsen standing stones on the Salisbury Plains. It is now a World Heritage Site and one of the best day trips in South-East England.
A day trip to Bath
Less than two hours’ drive from Windsor is the beautiful, historic city of Bath. You’ll be spoilt for choice for things to do in Bath.
Start with a visit to the Roman Baths, the original ancient spas used by the Romans. You could then visit Bath Abbey or go and look at some of Bath’s Georgian architecture. There’s plenty of museums, but also a lot of relaxing outdoor spaces, such as Victoria Park Gardens.
If you are using public transport, you will need to change at Bristol.
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