Travel Like The Royals: Exploring Windsor In Celebration Of Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Wedding
The upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is almost upon us and the whole of Windsor in Berkshire, England is pulling all the stops to make the celebration one to remember.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have decided to hold their marriage at St George's Chapel, at the grounds of Windsor Castle, the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world. It’s also Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite weekend home, where Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles held their televised blessing in 2005, and where Harry was christened when he was just 3 months old.
While you won’t surely be able stop by and visit Windsor this coming weekend because of all the brouhaha surrounding the royal wedding, you can always plan a visit in the coming weeks and months to retrace the steps of the couple’s procession throughout the historical town.
If you have no plans of visiting Windsor before, well, let us convince you. Windsor is a beautiful country town that is home to many things royal, and offers a perfect experience of both the city and the country. Here are some of the must-see and must-visit places in the quaint market town of Windsor.
Your first stop, of course, should be the Windsor Castle, the royal residence of the House of Windsor that was built way back in the 11th century. It is the longest-occupied palace in Europe, hailing from the time of Henry I, and has survived many tumultuous periods for the crown including the English Civil War in the 1640s to 1650s. It has since been the home of 39 monarchs.
Now, even if it remains as a functioning royal home, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Britain. Entrance to the Castle includes a multimedia tour that guides and educates you through the various highlights of the castle. Some of these include the St. George’s Chapel, which is open to the public and hosts services every day; the State Apartments, furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection; and Queen Mary’s Doll House, the largest and most beautiful collection of dolls in the world.
And don’t forget to witness the changing of the guards held ever 11:00!
Windsor Great Park
Next on your stop should be the sprawling, breathtaking 2,020-ha royal park. Although the Windsor Great Park is historically the private hunting ground of the Windsor Castle, most of the park is now open and free to the public for a nice walk or just lounging around. And it’s not just a park, mind you. It’s the “Great” park after all! There are many distinct features that can be checked out inside the Windsor Great Park, including huge statues like The Copper Horse, which is the statue of King George III that stands atop Snow hill. There are also a variety of activities to be enjoyed such as cycling, rollerblading, horse riding, and even fishing.
When at the Great Park, make a stop at the Savill Garden as well—although it charges a small fee for entrance. The garden was designed and built by Eric Savill in the 1930s, and is filled with an extraordinary showcase of flowers and trees sourced from all over the world.
Probably one of the most historic rivers in the world, the River Thames is an absolute must-visit in Windsor. The best views of the Windsor Castle are from the river’s Eton bank, and a number of restaurants could be enjoyed at the riverside. You can also lay a mat on the riverside, enjoy nature, and watch the ducks.
If you’re not content with sitting at the river appreciating the spectacular view, you can also get on board motor boats or rowing boats from the riverside, and take river cruises upstream to Maidenhead or downstream to Hampton court.
One of the rarest gems inside Windsor is the Frogmore House, a 17th-century English country house owned by the Crown Estate inside the Home Park. The house is currently uninhabited, although it is sometimes used by the royal family to host private and official events.
Image from by Gill Hicks from Wikimedia Commons
Visiting the Frogmore House is complicated as it is only open at specific days during the year. This year, it is only open on three Charity Open Days, on June 5 to June 7. All proceeds of the tickets go directly to the three charities: The National Gardens Scheme, The Armed Forces Charity, and the Prisoners' Education Trust. It is also open to pre-booked groups of 15 on specific dates on August.
Those who have been to the Frogmore House speaks highly about the estate. The rooms are beautifully adorned with Victorian memorabilia, the mausoleums of Queen Victoria and Albert could be visited, and the tours come with a knowledgeable guide for information and security purposes.
And if you’ve been up to date with the royal wedding happenings, when Prince Harry and Meghan released their official engagement photographs, it could be seen that the photos were taken at the Frogmore House.
Legoland Windsor Resort
And if you’re coming with the kids—or the kid’s at heart—don’t forget to stop by the Legoland Windsor Resort, the biggest Legoland park in the world. There are tons of attractions and rides as per normal theme parks, but the real appeal of the place is in the castle hotel and resort hotel, where the elaborately designed themed rooms and accommodations will bring out the fun in anyone.
This year is especially a treat for those who wish to visit Legoland Windsor Resort since the Miniland Explore the World is finally complete. The attraction has just opened in March and features miniature replicas of four countries, whose landmarks are reconstructed entirely with lego bricks. They even created a LEGO Windsor Castle and a royal wedding scene to commemorate the royal wedding! You can check the recreation of the Windsor Castle made from 39,960 Lego bricks at the Miniland attraction, as well.