A Royal Es­cape

with the wed­ding of the year fast ap­proach­ing, there’s never been a more ex­cit­ing time to visit wind­sor

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Why go?

Few towns pack a his­tor­i­cal punch quite like wind­sor, with its hill­top cas­tle, her­itage build­ings, and a blue-blooded pedi­gree that stretches from wil­liam the con­queror to henry Viii, and from charles ii to charles and camilla.

and now it’s the turn of harry and meghan. The eyes of the world will be on wind­sor’s st ge­orge’s chapel when Bri­tain’s most el­i­gi­ble bach­e­lor mar­ries his amer­i­can fi­ancée on 19 may.

royal con­nec­tions

wind­sor Cas­tle was founded by wil­liam the Con­queror around 1070 and is the old­est royal res­i­dence to have re­mained in con­tin­u­ous use by the Bri­tish royal fam­ily. In­deed, as they walk down the aisle, Harry and meghan will pass the last rest­ing places of 10 kings of Eng­land in­clud­ing Henry VIII and his third queen Jane Sey­mour. The Queen’s par­ents, Ge­orge VI and Queen El­iz­a­beth the Queen mother, are buried in a side chapel with Princess mar­garet.

her­itage trail

Time your visit right and you can see the wind­sor cas­tle guards march­ing up the high street (weather per­mit­ting) every day ex­cept sun­day. close by, the area of quaint streets be­hind the guild­hall still has a me­dieval feel to it. pop into the his­toric Queen char­lotte pub for lunch or try the lo­cal guild­hall gin!

The Queen’s walk­way, which was in­au­gu­rated to mark the Queen be­com­ing Bri­tain’s long­est-serv­ing monarch, skirts the cas­tle walls and heads down­hill to the Thames. Take a river cruise or cross the bridge to­wards eton col­lege, where princes harry and wil­liam went to school.

shop till you drop

Eton high street is lined with bou­tiques and restau­rants, but wind­sor of­fers the ul­ti­mate in re­tail ther­apy. my favourite in­dul­gence is wind­sor Royal Shop­ping, a rein­car­na­tion of the Grade II listed ter­mi­nus that was built in the 1850s to de­liver Queen Vic­to­ria to the cas­tle. Look out for the Royal wait­ing Room.

Be­neath the sta­tion canopy is an at­mo­spheric mix of cafes, restau­rants and high-end fash­ion brands. on a bud­get? Then head down the steps to King Ed­ward Court for high-street brands in a re­laxed pedes­trian zone. and there are more high-qual­ity brands in car-free Peas­cod Street.

Don’t for­get wind­sor Farm­ers’ mar­ket too, which takes place on St Leonard’s Road on the first Satur­day of the month.

On the doorstep

you’ll only scratch the sur­face of what wind­sor has to of­fer in a day trip, so i’d rec­om­mend a short break to en­joy the area at leisure. Take a walk or a horse-drawn car­riage ride through some of the 5,000 acres of wind­sor great park, once part of a vast nor­man hunt­ing es­tate. set up your pic­nic be­side the long walk lead­ing to the cas­tle and you might even spot her majesty driv­ing past. go rac­ing at wind­sor or nearby as­cot. Take the chil­dren to le­goland wind­sor, which adds sev­eral new at­trac­tions this year. or re­lax among the scents and colours of the tran­quil sav­ill gar­den. you may not have an in­vi­ta­tion to the wed­ding of the year, but there’s still so much to en­joy in royal wind­sor.

travel essen­tials

Tourist in­for­ma­tion from wind­sor.gov.uk. For in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets to wind­sor Cas­tle, visit roy­al­col­lec­tion.org.uk. For self-drive boat hol­i­days pass­ing through wind­sor, go to leboat.co.uk.

Stand­ing guard at Wind­sor Cas­tle St Ge­orge’s Chapel, where Harry and Meghan will marry

The Long Walk of Wind­sor Great Park leads to the cas­tle Fancy a flut­ter? As­cot race­course is just down the road!

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