England Europe Travel Diary

Windsor and the British monarchy

Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest reigning monarch since Queen Victoria this year – she has been on the throne for almost 60 years since the passing of her father King George VI in 1952.

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That seemed to be a good reason for us to finally make it to Windsor, since moving to London in November last year.

Visit Windsor for a delightful day trip out of London

The trip was a delight. From where we live it is a two train journey, and you know how much I like trains!

You know you’ve left London when the train leaves the last urban station and signs of country life begin to roll past the window.

At this time of the year, there are no green pastures, but cows, horses and sheet stare listlessly at the passing train, moist and damp farmlands are ploughed clean, ready for the next sowing season to arrive, makes equally charming scene.

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Arriving in Windsor early winter is as pleasant as arriving in any other town. At this time of the year, when England is known to be wet and miserable, visitor numbers are at a minimum.

During summer, you could be queuing three blocks just to get anywhere near the castle gates, however, a quick stroll up the cobbled street saw us entering the visitor doors into the boundaries of Windsor Castle.

The change of guards at Windsor is less crowded than Buckingham Palace

We had arrived just in time for the change of guards. Those of you who have been to a change of guard at the Buckingham Palace you probably associate the experience with the squeezing,pushing and self-ie toting crowd.

The benefit of visiting at this time of the year is, we pretty much made it to the fence and watched it without obstruction.

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I’ve seen quite a few change of guards around the world, and in comparison to Moscow, Taiwan and the funky India / Pakistan border guard ceremonies (I haven’t seen this one but it’s well known!) this one is pretty average, and the blatant gesture that the whole thing is for tourists when the guard band played the traditional military march followed by the Star Wars and Games of Thrones themes, you know they are only there because you are.

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Nevertheless, it kept the crowd entertained and mildly inspired, before they marched off and we followed their retreating foot steps to visit the various rooms and shops in the castle compound.

Windsor Castle is the seat of the British Monarchy

Having also visited places like The Hermitage in St Petersburg, Windsor Castle really isn’t anything super fancy.

Of course, there’s gold trimming in everything, and the number of rooms and the amount of household items make you wonder just how anyone could tolerate living in such a ‘non- homey’ environment!

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And then, you see something – like a gold vase or a crystal studded wall clock – and you wonder just how much those things are worth, and how many hours it took someone to make just because the royals wanted something to show off… it’s no wonder revolutions the world over happened to over throw the royal families!

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I am not a royalist, not am I completely against the idea. However, you’d have to admit that the royals of the world, whether they still have any managing function or not, do draw in millions in tourism revenue for the country.

I mean, to be honest, there are really really rich people today around the world that are owning the same sort of extravagance and luxuries aren’t they?

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Windsor is not all about the Castle!

Besides the castle, Windsor is a lovely, normally quiet place. However being close to Christmas, the high street is filled with shoppers and the Christmas lights sparkle in all its colours and prettiness!

Shopping is pretty good here too (surprisingly) and go for a stroll the markets area near the Windsor & Eton Central for some more unique, crafty shopping.

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Also, don’t forget across the river is Eton – the location of the famous and prestigious Eton College, where many of the royal men and upper class boys (and these days, rich international kids) attend their education in tailed jackets and stripped pants!

Windsor is an easy day trip from London and it certainly is fantastic visiting in off-peak season because you get more of the town to yourself!

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