What's on in Windsor
Windsor Castle Exhibitions
No trip to Windsor could possibly be complete without a visit to amazing Windsor Castle, the family home to British kings and queens for over 1,000 years.
The size of the Castle (5 hectares/13 acres) is breath taking, in fact it is the largest and oldest occupied Castle in the world and it’s where Her Majesty The Queen chooses to spend most of her private weekends..
You might even time your visit when she is in residence! Look at the flag flying from the Castle’s Round Tower; if it’s the Royal Standard The Queen will be there too.
Windsor Castle offers something for everyone, and with so many areas to explore please allow at least 2.5 to 3 hours to see it all.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO (all included in your ticket price):
Visit the magnificent State Apartments furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Canaletto.
Take in the splendour of St George's Chapel, the burial place of 10 monarchs including Henry VIII and Charles I, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England. Please note, worshippers are welcome to attend the Sunday services at St George's Chapel but the chapel is closed to general visitors on Sundays.
Be amazed at Queen Mary's Dolls’ House, the largest, most beautiful and most famous dolls’ house in the world, created in the 1920s and filled with thousands of objects made by leading craftsmen, artists and designers of the time.
Join a free Precinct Tour with one of the Castle’s wardens when you first arrive and get the most out of your visit to Windsor Castle.
Imagine being entertained by royalty in the Semi-State Rooms, the spectacular private apartments open to visitors from September to March each year. Richly decorated, they are used by The Queen for hosting her guests. The additional five rooms that make up the Semi-State Rooms will close to the public on Sunday, 25 March 2018.
Stand to attention whilst watching the Changing of the Guard! A colourful spectacle of British Pageantry (see below for schedule).
With so much to see and do in Windsor Castle, visitors wishing to leave the Castle for refreshments and shopping in the town centre may obtain re-entry permits from the Castle shops or the audio return point.
MEET THE EXPERTS: CONSERVATION DAY
On 27 January, experts in conservation from across the Castle will be on hand throughout the State Apartments and St George's Chapel to share their extraordinary work with visitors. Whether repairing delicate porcelain, applying gold leaf, or restoring paintings, the conservators' skills can reveal fascinating insights into the precious collections and interiors of Windsor Castle. See the Royal Collection website for further details (www.royalcollection.org.uk).
CHANGING THE GUARD
The privilege of guarding the Sovereign has been carried out since 1660. Weather permitting, the ceremony begins at 11am and lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Please check the Royal Collection Trust website for latest information. There is a link to the British Army website from here too with confirmation of the full schedule.
January 2018: Changing the Guard will take place at 11:00, weather permitting, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays throughout January.
February 2018: guard mounting will take place, weather permitting, on the 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24 & 27 February.
FAMILY ACTIVITIES AT WINDSOR CASTLE
• Free family multimedia tour (for children aged 7-11)
• Free family Activity Trail
• Family Saturdays and school holiday events and activities.
Windsor Castle offers an exciting family programme every Saturday throughout the year, linked to the amazing history of the Castle, the magnificent art on display and the royal residents past and present who have lived here.
The programme includes storytelling and dressing up in replica historic costume and armour, and art and craft workshops where families can get creative together.
Family Saturdays – Conserving the Castle in addition to trails and a children's audio guide, an exciting family programme is also offered every Saturday throughout the year linked to the history of Windsor Castle, art works on display and royal residents past and present. This month families are invited to visit the Moat Room for art and craft activities inspired by the work that goes into maintaining the Castle as a royal home. On 27 January, families can join the Learning Team for a special 'Meet the Experts : Conservation Day' where mini conservators can piece together a 3D vase.
For more details and a full list of family activities visit https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/whatson/windsorcastle?type=2187
French Brothers run boat trips on the River Thames from Windsor, Runnymede and Maidenhead. Choose from a short return trip or a full-day cruise.
French Brothers were the winner of Best Inland Canal/Riverboat Operator in the 2012 Group Travel Organiser Magazine Awards, and have recently been awarded Tripadvisors certificate of excellence.
Day visitors to Windsor can choose either a short 40 minute return trip or a longer 2 hour return – both offer amazing views of the Castle. Discounted tickets can be booked online, with further discounts available for groups of 20 or more. Groups of 20+ should
contact the bookings office.
There are 2 scheduled services offering visitors to Windsor the opportunity to arrive in style – by boat with regular sailings from Maidenhead and from Runnymede. An additional service is available from Runnymede that travels to Hampton Court.
There is an extensive programme of special events such as Sunday lunch cruises and trips on a fantastic Victorian steam boat. These can all be booked online at www.frenchbrothers.co.uk
Ascot Racing - Christmas
Ascot Racecourse is synonymous with quality, excellence and a truly memorable day out. It was Queen Anne in 1711 who first saw the potential for a racecourse at Ascot (in those days called East Cote). Whilst out riding near Windsor Castle she came upon an area of open heath that looked, in her words, “ideal for horses to gallop at full stretch”.
The highlight of the year is Royal Ascot in June with five days of tradition, pageantry and style. Indeed Queen Anne's gift to racing, founding the Royal Racecourse, is marked by the tradition of opening Royal Ascot with the Queen Anne Stakes.
Outside of Royal Ascot, spectacular racing takes place throughout the year, each raceday offering a unique theme and atmosphere including the King George VI Weekend in July, a Beer Festival in October and a Fireworks Spectacular in November, as well as four dedicated family racedays and much more. It’s a perfect family day out with free admission for all accompanied children under 18.
Key Racedays in 2018:
• Royal Ascot (Tuesday 19 to Saturday 23 June)
• King George Weekend (Friday 27 and Saturday 28 July)
• The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and Concert (Saturday 11th August)
• Festival of Food & Wine Racing Weekend (Friday 7 and Saturday 8 September)
• Autumn Racing Weekend & Ascot Beer Festival (Friday 5 and Saturday 6 October)
• Four dedicated Family Days throughout the year (Sunday 25 March, Saturday 14 July, Saturday 3 November and Saturday 22 December).
And it’s more than just racing! In addition to the themed racedays mentioned above, Ascot Racecourse is also home to other events such as the Luna Cinema.
For more information or to book call 0844 346 300 or visit www.ascot.co.uk
Ticket prices: Ascot Racecourse ticket prices start for £18 per person and generous group and advance discounts are available. Visit www.ascot.co.uk for more information on ticket prices and ticket types.
Light, Camera, Action
It is no surprise that this area is frequently used by filmmakers given its proximity to London and with Pinewood and Shepperton Studios just 20 minutes away. Bray is the home of Bray Film Studios, made famous in the 1950s and 1960s by the Hammer House of Horror Productions including Dracula. More recently it was where Alien was made in 1979.
Here is just a small selection of the most well known films and TV series the borough has been proud to host over recent years.
A View To A Kill (1985)
My Fair Lady (2010)
Inspector Morse (TV 1987) – St Michael’s Church and the Crown pub.
Carry on Don’t Lose Your Head (1966)
Help! (The second Beatles' film 1965)
Yaadein (Bollywood film 2001)
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Sense & Sensibility (TV 2008)
Sliding Doors (1998)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
To Kill a King (2003)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
A Tale of Two Cities (1980)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
The Fourth Protocol (1987)
Inspector Morse (1987)
The Secret Garden (1993)
The Madness of King George (1995)
True Blue (1996)
Wind in the Willows (1996)
Mrs Brown (1997)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Casino Royale (2006)
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Maidenhead Town Hall
Carry on Again Doctor (1969)
Carry on Behind (1975)
Carry on Doctor (1967)
Doctor in Clover (1966)
Doctor in Distress (1963)
The Oakley Court
The Rocky Horror Show (1975)
St Trinians (1957)
The Curse of Frankenstien (1957)
Theatre Royal, Windsor
Mr. Thunderbird: The Gerry Anderson Story (TV 2000)
The Professionals (TV 1977-81)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The Vice (TV 1999)
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Layer Cake (2004)
The President’s Daughter (2004)
Bride & Prejudice (2004)
Windsor Great Park
Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic (TV 2007)
Tomb Raider (2001)
Harry Potter (2003 & 2004)
Midsomer Murders (TV 2004 & 2008)
As You Like It (2005)
Miss Marple (TV 2008)
Robin Hood (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010) and Part 2 (2011)
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
47 Ronin (2012)
French Brothers Boats (The Nuneham)
Eindsor & Eton Tours
The Windsor and Eton area is a fascinating place to tour and is full of sightseeing opportunities.
There are many fun ways to discover more about its history: an open-top bus tour, a boat trip on the River Thames, a horse-drawn carriage ride in Windsor Great Park, a kayak tour or as part of a blue badge guided walking tour.
Tickets for many tours are available in person from the Royal Windsor Information Centre and via the Windsor Online Shop.
You can even download our free self-guided heritage trail [PDF] to Windsor and Eton or discover one of our new walkways.
The Royal Borough has a rich heritage for you to discover. Our professional and knowledgeable Blue Badge Guides have achieved the highest guiding qualification in the UK. Any group – large or small – can be guaranteed a fun and informative tour of Windsor and the local area. Find out more about guided tours.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Experience the Windsor area from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. Two companies operate rides: Windsor Carriages in Windsor town centre and the Long Walk/Windsor Great Park and Ascot Carriages in Windsor Great Park (The Savill Garden). Carriages can also be hired for private events.
A City Sightseeing open top double-decker bus tour is a convenient, fun and interesting way to explore the Windsor and Eton area.
The circular tour route lasts for 1 hour with pre-recorded English commentary. Two buses now offer multi-lingual commentary.
Tickets are valid for 24 hours allowing visitors to get hop on and off the bus at the 11 stops of interest along the route.
Windsor Duck Tours offer fun tours on new, purpose-built, amphibious vehicles whereby you can combine a road adventure with 'splashdown' into the River Thames.
There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying the River Thames by boat. Hire a craft for an hour, a full day or longer.
Experience a guided kayak tour and explore the river. Hire a luxury boat with skipper provided, join a passenger boat with onboard commentary or enjoy a meal as you float down the river. The choice is yours!
Explore Windsor at your own pace by downloading our Heritage Trail. It takes in the historic parts of Windsor, around the walls of Windsor Castle, down towards and over the River Thames and into Eton. A printed version is also available from the Royal Windsor Information Centre for a small administration fee.
On 9 September 2015, The Queen became the longest reigning monarch in history: 63 years, 7 months and 3 days. In recognition of this monumental event, the Outdoor Trust created a new symbolic 6.373km Queen's Walkway linking 63 of the towns best attractions, parks, features and views.
Situated just across the river from Windsor via a pedestrian footbridge, the town of Eton has a rich community and diverse heritage.
The Eton Walkway, a 2 mile / one hour circular walk, connects 18 points of interest in the town starting at Windsor Bridge.
Or download Windsor’s History & Parks Treasure Trail, a unique way to explore Windsor and discover its historical past. You’ll get to go to places that you may never have known existed. Can you follow the route and solve the clues?
Windsor Castle Tours
Tours of Windsor Castle and St George's Chapel are self-guided. An audio tour, which lasts approximately 2 hours, is included in the ticket price and is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Russian. Guided tours of the Castle Precincts are available at regular intervals throughout the day. Precinct tours last approximately 30 minutes and depart from the Admissions Centre. The tours are included in the ticket price.
Conquer the Tower Tours and Tours of the Great Kitchen are available in the summer months. Special tours are also available for pre-booked groups.
Escorted coach tours to Windsor
If you are basing yourself in London whilst in the UK, why not visit Windsor and Windsor Castle on an escorted coach tour?
Companies offering full-day tours out of London include Evan Evans Tours and Golden Tours.
Eton Dorney: London 2012
Up to 30,000 spectators a day enjoyed the rowing, canoe and kayak events at Eton Dorney during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Dorney Lake welcomes visitors, particularly from the local community.
If events are taking place, access may be restricted without notice to either specific areas of the site or the whole site for safety or security reasons; visit www.dorneylake.co.uk for further information.
If you have an enquiry about accessing the venue as part of a group, please email Amanda Bryett from the Blue Badge 2012 Committee.
Windsor Theatre Royal
This beautiful Edwardian theatre nestles between Windsor Castle and the River Thames and is the only unsubsidised producing theatre to operate all year round in Britain.
The repertoire is wide, ranging from the classics and traditional pantomimes to first productions of new work.
This intimate theatre boasts Bill Kenwright as its producer and audiences are treated to new productions before they transfer to the West End or go off on tour around the country.
Theatre Royal Windsor has gained a reputation for the quality of its productions and is currently one of Britain's leading theatres. Its traditional pantomime is considered one of the best in the country.
Evening shows start at 8pm, Saturday matinees at 4.45pm and Thursday matinees at 2.30pm unless otherwise stated. Sunday concerts are often running.
For more information on our upcoming productions, ticket prices and special group rates, please call our Box Office on 01753 853888 or visit our website www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk
By bus and coach
Travelling to and around Windsor is relatively easy using public transport. From London the Green line coach station, which is located behind the London Victoria Train Station will bring you to Windsor. There are various stops and boarding points on the journey including Hyde Park Corner, Kensington High Street and Olympia. Visit http://www.rainbowfares.com/maps/index.htm for more information.
First Bus Service (route 77) runs between Heathrow Central Bus Station and Windsor.
Monday – Saturday the service runs twice hourly until late, on Sundays the service runs once an hour. The journey takes around 40 minutes.
The bus station is located directly above the Underground station at Heathrow Central.
A bus service runs from Windsor to Legoland during the park’s opening hours. The bus operates every 30 minutes and leaves from The High Street opposite the Parish Buses to local towns are operated by Beeline buses. Telephone 01753 524144 or contact the Royal Windsor Information Centre. Long distance coaches travel from London Victoria and Heathrow Airport to most major UK cities. For details and booking, contact the Royal Windsor Information Centre
Windsor has excellent rail connections and has two stations, both centrally-located and recently renovated. Up-to-date train timetables can be found on Railtrack’s website. You can also call the national rail enquiries 24-hour phone line on 0845 484950.
Windsor Central Station is located just opposite the Castle. Trains from this station connect with the mainline station at Slough, a few minutes journey. At Slough you can change for London Paddington or travel west towards Reading and Bristol. There is also a direct link to Oxford from Slough station. This is the fastest way to get from Windsor to London, although you will need to take a short underground journey from Paddington if you are travelling on into central London. Windsor and Eton Riverside Station is located at the bottom of the hill below the castle. Trains from this station travel directly to London Waterloo roughly ten to the hour and twenty past the hour, a journey of approximately 55 minutes. Eurostar services to and from Paris, Brussels and Lille arrive and depart from Waterloo.