11 great day trips from Windsor

by Jan

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 are staying for more than a day you must spend some time visiting the local area.  In this post, I am sharing some of the best day trips you can make 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 best 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 grounds.

Windsor Great Park dates back to the 13th Century and was the private hunting ground of the royals for many centuries.

You can actually take a 3-mile stroll down the Long Walk to access this park.  This iconic tree-lined avenue has been seen most recently for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The walk will take you past several royal monuments and will lead you to the Deer Park, where you can spot Red Deer roaming freely in their enclosure.

Windsor Castle view from the Long Walk, Berkshire, UK

Take a walk round Virginia Water Lake

Virginia Water Lake, Egham, Surrey, UK

About 7 miles from Windsor you can find Virginia Water Lake.  This is a popular outdoors destination for families, as there are a lot of distractions on the way.  Unexpected sights along the way include a cascade, ancient Roman ruins and a Totem Pole.

The walk around Virginia Water Lake is about 4.5 miles, but you could do a shorter walk to the Totem Pole or extend your walk through the Valley Gardens to Savill Garden if needed.

There is plenty of wildlife and nature along the way and the gardens are stunning throughout the year.

Admission to Virginia Water Lake is free (apart from parking).

For more information on a trip to Virginia Water Lake, read

A visit to Virginia Water Lake, Surrey

Visit historic Runnymede

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.

The Runnymede site has 2 famous memorials, the Magna Carta and the JFK memorial.  More recently there has been some commemorative art added to the area, “Writ in Water” and “The Jurors”.

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.  This makes a great day trip from Windsor if you want to step on the small piece of England owned by the US!

The Magna Carta Memorial, Runnymede, Surrey

For more information on a walk at Runnymede, read:

A walk to historic Runnymede, Surrey

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.

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.

Cross the bridge to 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.  King Henry VI originally founded Eton College as a charity school for poor boys.

However, Eton College is now the chief educator for the British Royal Family and aristocracy.  It is the most famous public school in the world.  Both Princes William and Harry attended.

As well as the college, Eton has a selection of shops, galleries and restaurants.

Have fun at Legoland Windsor

Legoland is a theme park, with more than 55 rides and attractions.  There are roller coasters, water rides and interactive adventures.  Legoland has plenty to do to amuse children all day and is a particularly good day trip for younger visitors.

Whilst you are there, you can take a stroll round “miniland”.  This is a model of the most iconic landmarks from Europe and the USA made out of 42 million Lego bricks.

Top tip:  You can often buy cheaper 2 for 1 tickets for Legoland in advance, or buy your tickets using Tesco Clubcard points.

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.

Seek some thrills at Thorpe Park

For thrill lovers, Thorpe Park Resort makes a great day trip from Windsor.  Thorpe Park is a short distance from Windsor in Chertsey.  This theme park has over 30 thrill rides, including the UK’s fastest rollercoaster, Stealth.

Theme parks are not my cup of tea, but this is a great day trip from Windsor for anyone who loves an adrenaline rush!

How to get from Windsor to Thorpe Park:

Thorpe Park is about 9 miles away, so the easiest way is to drive.  However, there is a Thorpe Park shuttle bus which picks visitors us from Staines Railway station every 15 minutes.

Enjoy the forest at The Look Out, Swinley Forest

If you want to spend some time away for the city in the great outdoors, The Look Out makes a great day trip from Windsor.

It is about 12 miles from Windsor and is set in 1000 hectares of Swinley Forest.  There are many trails you can follow through the woods and lots of places to stop and play, climb a tree or build a den.

As well as a walk in the lovely Swinley Forest, there are many other things to do at the Look Out:-

Hiking in the woods with Kids

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.

Playgrounds

The Look Out also has 2 great adventure playgrounds for children and a den building area.  It is divided into an infant play area and a more challenging junior play area, with its own wooden fortress.

Go Ape

If you are feeling adventurous, you could sign up for the tree top course, Go Ape or go on a Segway tour through the forest.

The Look Out Discovery Centre

If it’s a wet day, you could book your children in to the Look Discovery Centre, which is an interactive science exhibition for younger children.

How to get from Windsor to the Look Out:

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.

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 worlds in England.  It has 4 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 is a very popular local attraction, which has been recently modernised, so it is advisable to avoid key times such as weekends.

Step back in time Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, UK

Another of the 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 yourself round the gardens.

You can 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. There is much to see at Bushy Park, including memorials, a playground, woodland gardens and wildlife.  Watch out for the deer who will be roaming freely around.

How to get from Windsor to Hampton Court Palace:

There is a shuttle bus between Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace.  This runs during lunch times in the summer months.  It is pre-bookable on line with Surbiton Coaches.

Travel further afield

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

If you want to travel a little further, you could visit the iconic landmark of Stonehenge in Wiltshire.  This World Heritage Site has one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments.

Another of the more distant days trips from Windsor is a trip to the historic city of Bath.  There are plenty of things to do in Bath, including the famous Roman Baths.

Thank you for reading.

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide on the best day trips from Windsor.  Leave a comment if you give any of them a try and tell us what you think.

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