11 great day trips from Windsor

by Jan

Whether you’re looking for country parks, historic sites or family attractions, there’s no shortage of fabulous day trips from Windsor.

If you visiting royal Windsor, you’ll find plenty of things to do, including a visit to the Queen’s weekend residence, Windsor Castle.  However, if you’re a local or spending longer than one day, you’ll need to know the best day trips from Windsor.

We are lucky enough to live near Windsor, so know all the best places to visit nearby.  In this post, I’ll share the top places to visit near Windsor and how to get there.  We’ll help you plan your visit so that you can have the best time in and around Windsor.

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Day trips from Windsor: Great Windsor Park

Firstly, one of the closest day 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.  In fact, it’s so close to the Windsor town centre that you can walk there!

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, it’s 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.

The Copper Horse, Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, UK

Virginia Water Lake & Savill Gardens

Virginia Water Lake, Egham, Surrey, UK

Another of the best day trips from Windsor is a walk at Virginia Water Lake,  which is part of the Windsor Park Estate.  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 beautiful Valley Gardens or Savill Gardens.  Both of these have a collection of stunning rare plants and flowers 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.

Read more about a visit to Virginia Water Lake.

Day trips from Windsor: Runnymede

For some history and heritage near Windsor, you can’t beat a day trip to Runnymede, Egham.  This is the site where the Magna Carta was signed by King John of England in 1215.  The famous document is now one of the most influential documents in British history and is a powerful symbol of liberty.

Once in Runnymede you’ll see two famous memorials, the Magna Carta, and the JFK memorial.  You can also enjoy the new pieces of commemorative art at the site.  

National trust sign, during Family Walk, Runnymede, Surrey

There is a National Trust car park within walking distance from the memorials or you could combine your visit with a longer circular walk, taking in the Runnymede Air Forces Memorial too.  Click here for more information on a walk to Runnymede.

Alternatively, if you take a walk along the river, you’ll come to the Runnymede Pleasure Ground, a riverside park and gardens.

Runnymede is a great day trip from Windsor, especially if you want to step on the small piece of England owned by the US!

Day trips from Windsor: Eton

Eaton Bridge, Windsor, Berkshire, UK

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, Eton is now 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.

Day trips from Windsor: Fun on the River Thames

There’s plenty of choice when it comes to day trips from Windsor on the River Thames.  Firstly, you could take a walk on The Thames Path, which follows the river all the way to the Cotswolds.  Kids will love the section near Windsor, as there are so many swans and ducks.

Alternatively, you could go on a river cruise with French Brothers Boats.  If it’s a sunny day, hire a rowing boat or have a guided kayak tour with London Kayak Tours.

Day trips from Windsor: Thorpe Park

View of Thorpe Park roller coaster, Surrey

For thrill-seekers, one of the best days out from Windsor is to Thorpe Park Resort in Chertsey.  This awesome theme park is home to the UK’s fastest rollercoaster, Stealth and is one of the ultimate destinations for adrenaline junkies.

Thorpe Park is a popular choice for teenagers and adults who want to scream their way round the 30 thrill rides.  (It’s not my cup of tea at all!)

How to get from Windsor to Thorpe Park:

Thorpe Park is about 9 miles from Windsor, so the easiest way to get there is by car.  However, there is a Thorpe Park shuttle bus which collects visitors from Staines train station every 15 minutes.

Day trips from Windsor: Black Park Country Park

lake at Black Park, Buckinghamshire, UK

For nature lovers, Black Park Country Park is a great day out from Windsor.  Although it’s in the neighbouring county of Buckinghamshire, it is only 7 miles from Windsor.   Start with a walk around this pretty woodland park or a visit to the lake, before heading to the adventure playground.  Admission to Black Park Country Park is free.

If the kids are looking for more adventure, head to the Nets Adventure.  You can bounce your way around the tree tops.  Other family attractions at Black Park Country Park include Go Ape, Segway and a Bike Hub.

Click here for more information on the Nets Adventure.

Day trips from Windsor: Liquid Leisure

On a sunny day, one of the best places to visit near Windsor with kids is Liquid Leisure.  Based in Datchet, just 3 miles from Windsor, Liquid Leisure is home to Europe’s largest inflatable aqua park.

You can choose from a giant inflatable obstacle course in the lakes of the main aqua park or try something new like the Ninja Warrior challenge or Aqua High Ropes.

How to get from Windsor to Liquid Leisure:

Liquid Leisure is near Datchet, just 9 miles from Windsor.  It is near junction 5 of the M4 and junction 14 of the M25, so easy to access by car.  If you are using public transport, head for Sunnymeads Station, which is a 10-minute walk from Liquid Leisure.

Day trips from Windsor: Legoland

For younger kids, one of the best day trips from Windsor is a visit to Legoland.

Legoland is a fun-filled theme park, with more than 55 interactive rides and attractions.  It has rollercoasters, water rides and interactive adventures, which are nearly all suitable for younger visitors.

Lego fans will also enjoy Miniland and its large-scale models of some of the most iconic landmarks from around the world.

How to get from Windsor to Legoland:

Legoland is only 2 miles from Windsor.  You could take the 01, 702 or 703 bus, or get a taxi.

Day trips from Windsor: Swinley Forest

If you’re a nature lover, one of the best places to visit near Windsor is Swinley Forest.  Just 12 miles from Windsor, this large area of beautiful woodland offers a great choice of walks and trails.

For cycling enthusiasts, Swinley Forest offers 24km of mountain bike challenges for all abilities.

Here are more details about the many things to do in Swinley Forest:-

Hiking in the woods with Kids

Children will love the two adventure playgrounds at the Look Out in Swinley Forest.  For younger children, there’s an accessible playground in a natural setting.

However, for older children, there’s a more challenging junior play area, with its own wooden fortress.  Plus, behind the playgrounds is a fantastic den-building area.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for an adventure at Swinley Forest sign up for Go Ape or a Segway tour.

The Look Out Discovery Centre at Swinley Forest

If you’re visiting Swinley Forest with younger children, head to the Look Out Discovery Centre.  Here they can have hands-on fun in the interactive science centre.  Based at the edge of Swinley Forest, it’s a great place to entertain toddlers and little kids on a rainy day.

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.

How to get from Windsor to the Look Out at Swinley Forest:

It is easiest to get to the Look Out by car.  However, you can get the train to Bracknell and then take a bus to Birch Hill.  The Look Out is 10 minutes’ walk from here.

Day trips from Windsor: Coral Reef Waterworld

One of the best rainy-day trips from Windsor for kids is a visit to Coral Reef Waterworld, near Bracknell.  Coral Reef is one of the largest interactive indoor water parks in England and is fun for all the family.

Teenagers and older children will love the hot tubs, waterslides and four waterslides with flashing lights.  For younger children you’ll find a pirate ship and toddler splash zone.  They even have an erupting volcano.

And, if you don’t want to go in the water,  you could watch from the café or retreat to the adult-only spa area.

As you’d imagine Coral Reef is one of the most popular family attractions near Bracknell, so try to avoid peak times.

Day trips from Windsor: Hampton Court Palace

Beautiful yellow Tulips in front of Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, UK

If you enjoyed your visit to Windsor Castle, why not take a day trip to another of the best historic houses in South East England, Hampton Court Palace.  The magnificent royal place was the former home of King Henry VIII.

You can explore inside the palace, visit the stunning gardens or get lost in the maze.  For younger children, Hampton Court has an amazing playground, Magic Garden.

If you have time, cross the road to 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.  Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the free-roaming deer who live in the park.

Travel further afield

Bath

View of River and Pultney Bridge in Autumn, 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 need to change at Bristol.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

For another historic day out from Windsor, head to 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.  Afterwards, you could visit the cathedral city of Salisbury.

Winchester

looking up at Winchester Cathedral stain glass windows

Winchester is a small, pretty historic city on the edge of the South Downs National Park.  As well as a magnificent medieval cathedral, Winchester has several other historic sites.  It is a fantastic place to visit near Christmas, when it hosts its world-class Christmas market.

Winchester is an easy drive from Windsor on the M3 and takes about 1 hour by car.  If you are using public transport, there are regular trains, which take about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Have you tried any of these days trips from Windsor?  We’d love to hear your comments below.

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