Newest Review: ... to tell him about from the castle, the Queen's train, The Queen, which allowed a direct link with Brighton way back when and also Eton ... more
Pretty, some decent shops but way way too many tourists!
Windsor in general
Member Name: londongirl
Windsor in general
Advantages: range of shops, castle makes stunning backdrop for walking around, great afternoon teas
Disadvantages: Amount of tourists, tacky souvenir shops
Windsor is famous for its Castle, being set on the river Thames and for being full of tourists most months of the year!
I won't talk specifically about Windsor Castle as there are other reviews just on that. Windsor in general is a lovely place to visit to shop, eat, drink or just walk around. I prefer it in winter for the simple reason that in summer or school holidays the crowds are almost unbearable and it feels like you are walking round disney world or some other massive tourist attraction not just a town that happens to have a very famous Castle!
Windsor has most shops you would expect on the high street - Next, New Look, Boots, Marks and Spencer etc but also a few other shops which aren't on every single high street - like Lakeland which I love wandering around! It also has quite a few good independent shoe shops if you fancy something a bit different to the same old shops.
There are also some more upmarket shops in the old station concourse area. Here you will find Jaeger, Phase 8, Ghost, and more plus some more unusual shops such as Oil and Vinegar which sells (you've guessed it) Oil and Vinegar! It also sells olives, pickles and other speciality foods. You can choose a glass bottle and fill it with any flavoured oil that you like - they have all different shaped bottles and they make great presents for friends into cooking.
In the old station shopping area you also have places to eat such as Cafe Rouge, La Tasca and Bar Ha ha. They shops and restaurants are in keeping with the surrounding architecture and the place is quite pretty.
The actual High street has some very tacky souvenir shops and typical shops set up for tourists - ice cream shops, fudge shop etc (not that i'm complaining about fudge!) but i couldn't imagine living in Windsor - it is definately a place to visit for a walk round or to shop or come for lunch but I think it would frustrate me living there wihth all the tourists and tourist trap shops. Then again the Queen manages it so maybe its not all bad!
There are plenty of places in Windsor to have traditional afternoon tea - some catering more for tourists and some pretty ropey places. The Castle hotel does afternoon tea but having been in there once i probably wouldn't recommend it.
Part of me thinks I should keep this a bit secret but i'm going to be generous and share - the Christopher Wren Hotel and Spa does a fantastic afternoon tea and for a very reasonable £13.50 each person. You might not expect it to be so reasonable in such a nice hotel. The surroundings inside are elegent, and the staff are lovely and friendly. The only downside is you can't book so if you have to take a chance - however on a weekday in winter we have been the only people there! (not great for atmosphere but quite nice in someways to have the whole room to yourself!)
Eton is just across the bridge over the Thames from Windsor. I would recommend parking in one of the car parks in Eton if you can as it is such a short walk to Windsor and you don't have to try and find a space in Windsor or try the multi story. Eton itself is worth a walk up and down the high street if you are visiting Windsor. There are a few antique shops and individual shops and you will often see the boys from Eton school walking around in their tail coats even on a Saturday. I think you can even take tours around Eton school (perhaps in the holidays though) though i'm sure i've heard this i can't guarentee or know anything more about it! The Eton school buildings though are very attractive and make it a nice place for a slow wander about.