Windsor Castle and Eton
Windsor Travel Blog› entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
I'm surprised how my parents and I skipped Windsor Castle on our last trip. But seeing as how it was a day's programme, it makes sense. We'd already spent a day in Hampton Court and another day trip to Oxford and Warwick that we wanted to be doing more city stuff than going out of Zone 1/2 again. I never paid attention to Windsor until I got back last September, and noticed just how many people post about this Castle on the TALF, and almost raised its value and beauty to epic proportions. So on this trip, I had decided that Windsor would be on the cards come what may.
Thanks to the lovely Frommer's guide that I picked up last minute and read up on the plane (yes, such immaculate planning this time!), I got a good idea of what to expect.
I'd forgotten that Windsor was near Heathrow (and we all know what a plane buff I am!). So at one point, I noticed lots of planes close enough that their livelry was legible and that's when it hit me... we're nearing Windsor. I knew I'd have a good time here just as the train approached the station.
Alighted the train and wandered around the colourful station before I made my way into the city centre with a statue of a Queen (sorry, I don't know which one!). Went to the castle there, entry procedure the same old thing and before I knew it, I was in Windsor. I know true Windsor Castle fans will hate me for saying this, but the REAL REAL highlight for me was that it was so ****ing close to Heathrow. What a JOY it was for me seeing aeroplanes fly over every 30 seconds. I saw so many, it was the coolest thing. Reminded me of when I was 6 years old, and I'd happily spend all our transit time at the Heathrow balcony watching planes land and take off.
Anyway, Windsor has, for lack of a better word STUNNING architecture. Very well guarded as well, but hey, the Royals live there so what else would we expect! Even during this winter period, the Castle has got this lovely garden growing around the Tower. I can only imagine how much lovelier it'll look during Spring. It had really really grown cold and that stupid thermals + sweater was not enough for yours truly. I didn't have anything else on me so I had to wear my raincoat. How pathetic!
First stop was St.George's Chapel, but before this I caught the Changing of the Guards. I've never really been a fan of the changing even @ Buckingham so I wasn't impressed, even here. And at least the guards at B'ham are a bit more colourful and touristy looking but sadly, the guards here looked like they were actually doing their jobs, LOL! But St.
The more and more I'm seeing of this Castle, the more it seems like 3-4 tourist attractions rolled into one. You have the architecture that has the same grandness of the Tower of London, the well maintained gardens reminiscent of Hampton Court, the Chapel whose interiors make it look like a miniature St.Paul's.... I'm seeing now why everyone recommends this place and some make that big trip outside of London to see it. I must thank alfie1920 for suggesting that I change my itenerary when I'd originally suggested I'd see Windsor first, and then Kensington.
I got done with the Chapel and headed towards the Castle itself. The view of the city seen from the walls reminded me of Stirling Castle. One thing that I don't like about this castle is the bad proximity to toilets. They're located it seems on extreme ends and one has to walk till the dolls house entrance to get to it. And being winter and all, let's just say I was making a fair few trips there!
The Dolls' House was lovely. LIKE LOVELY. Very well done, it's funny that no one had mentioned what a Doll's house was. I thought it was just a bunch of Cabbage Patch Kids-esque dolls all stuffed into a showcase with a big blurb next to each doll on how such-and-such was acquired. But by Joe it wasn't! All very well crafted miniature stuff. My favourite was obviously that doll house.
Continued on to the gallery of paintings, and into the China Room. This is one of a kind! How in the world do the Royals get so much money that even their china is such an asset! I was telling someone that those China are worth enough money for me and even my grandchildren to survive on. My favourite was that pineapple looking one. Although they all looked exquisite.
From here, I headed up the State rooms. My mind's fuzzy on which was which, but some of the highlights for me were those colourful rooms (one was green and one was crimson), and the other being that expensive music box.
It was already 1pm by the time I got done with the tour of the rooms. My, was it cold outside! Oh, and all those lovely lovely aeroplanes landing in LHR! Headed out of the Castle, went for a quick walk around town (I really liked this town) before settling in for a hot pie at a traditional pub lunch rsnt called the Gruce. This meal felt special. Nice ambience, friendly waitress and I got to sit on a wooden table next to a the fireplace, all so cosy and so...erm...I don't know...English?! gosh, I DO sound like a tourist!
I got done with lunch by 3pm, went for a walk along a park in Windsor before slowly making my way across the Thames to the town of Eton.
I was dog tired by 5pm when I finally got done with the whole Windsor/Eton experience. I could barely walk, and it was really cold by now. I was thinking of Quality Inn, the hotel we stayed at last August so I went for a quick walk around Talbot Square, before catching the tube back to Earl's Court. I was hoping I'd get out around London town on my last night (sigh!) but I was so tired I actually slept.
I went to Topman to see if there was a sale going on. There WAS, but not a v good one. Popped into HMV for a bit, then River Island before finishing up at Thorntons for my chocolate purchases. Caught the tube to Embankment and went for a walk across Westminister Bridge. Got a good view of the Abbey, Clock Tower and London Eye at night. It was simply gorgeous. I just love it, no matter how many times I see it!
Got back to the hostel around 10:30pm that night, had some microwavable M&S moussaka and slept by 1am after chatting for a long time to a friendly Aussie bloke Chris who'd come to England looking for a software job. It was fun talking to him and about life in the Australian outback.
Like my previous trip, I slept that night thinking it's over. I wasn't too exhausted this time which is a good thing. I really feel proud of this trip for a lot of reasons, the fact that I was coming back to one of my favourite cities, the fact that I knew my way around the basics (travelcard, hostel, M&S, etc), the fact that this trip was totally out of the blue but most importantly, the fact that in this trip, I spent it the way I chose - whatever, whenever and wherever took my fancy. I felt really fortunate I had the opportunity of coming to London again in about 6 months. Of course the fact that I was going to be on a plane to India in a week from now was a bit BORING (no more terminals and gates PUR-LEEZE!) but hey ho, we work - we toil - we sweat and we then live it out in London! I'm not complaining no more. :-)