What a historic area to take a horse riding holiday - the opportunity to ride in Windsor Great Park in with Windsor Castle as the backdrop must be on most horse riders wish list. Windsor is a town on the River Thames in southeast England, just west of London. It’s home to Windsor Castle, a residence of the British Royal Family. Built by William The Conqueror in the 11th century, the castle was extensively remodelled by subsequent monarchs. Public tours take in the State Apartments, which contain opulent furnishings, and paintings from the royal art collection.
In the castle grounds, boat trips provide views of the castle from the river. The Magna Carta was signed at riverside Runnymede in 1215. Windsor Great Park was once a royal hunting ground, and its 4,800 acres of gardens, woodland and grassland are open to the public. The Royal Windsor Horse Show (May) and Royal Ascot (June) horse races at the nearby Ascot Racecourse are often attended by members of the royal family. The Legoland Windsor Resort theme park is just outside town.
Things to do and see
This is a very royal borough - and everywhere is steeped in history relating to our royal family, non-riders will be kept occupied!
- Windsor Great Park -the Royal Park, 4,800 acres of parkland managed by The Crown Estate including a deer park, lake and waterfall, plus visitor centres. The park was, for many centuries, the private hunting ground of Windsor Castle and dates primarily from the mid-13th century. The Crown Estate Windsor Great Park SL4 2HT tel: 01753 860222
- Windsor Castle - Tour the historic royal castle full of spectacular art and antiques, plus grounds and chapel.It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Windsor SL4 1NJ tel: 0303 123 7334
- Queen Mary's Dolls' House - Miniature toy palace designed by Lutyens, with detailed furniture, working lifts and running water built in the early 1920s, completed in 1924, for Queen Mary, the wife of King George V. Located at Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle, Windsor SL4 1NJ tel: 0303 123 7304
- St George's Chapel, is a chapel designed in the high-medieval Gothic style. The fan-vaulted, 15th-century chapel holds royal tombs including that of Henry VIII, George V and Charles I. Windsor Castle, 2 The Cloisters, Windsor SL4 1NJ tel:01753 848888
- Runnymede is a water-meadow alongside the River Thames in the English county of Surrey, and just over 20 miles west of central London. It is notable for its association with the sealing of Magna Carta, and as a consequence is, with its adjoining hillside, the site of memorials. Windsor Rd, Old Windsor, Englefield Green, Windsor SL4 2JL tel: 01784 432891
- Dorney Court – A restored 450-year-old manor house, gardens with a small farm, gardens and horticulture centre, plus events venue. a grade I listed early Tudor manor house, dating from around 1440, located in the village of Dorney, Dorney Lane, Dorney, Windsor SL4 6QP tel: 01628 604638
- Savill Gardens - Ornamental collection of global plants, interconnecting gardens and exotic woodland, including a rose garden opened by the Queen in 2010. Wick Ln, Englefield Green, Egham TW20 0UJ tel: 01753 860222
- Changing of the Guard - The Changing the Guard is one of the highlights of a visit to Windsor and the days on which they march are scheduled by the British Army and change every month. A band usually accompanies the guards, although this is subject to weather conditions. The guards march from Victoria Barracks on Sheet Street, up the High Street and into Windsor Castle. The best places to see them are on Windsor High Street or on the Corn Exchange under Windsor Guildhall. To watch the guards march up the High Street takes only 10 minutes; to watch the actual ceremony inside the Castle takes about 30 minutes (but you need a ticket for the castle ceremony). The Guard March takes place all year round, late morning, dependant on the weather but never on a Sunday.
- Thorpe Park is a theme park located between the towns of Chertsey and Staines-upon-Thames in Surrey. Rides and slides for all ages. Thorpe Park Resort, Staines Rd, Chertsey KT16 8PN
- Legoland Windsor - Thrill rides, Lego statues, a child-orientated theme park and resort in Windsor, themed around the Lego toy system. The park opened in 17 March 1996 on the former Windsor Safari Park site as the second Legoland after Legoland Billund in Denmark. Winkfield Rd, Windsor SL4 4AY tel: 0871 222 2001
Where to Eat
- The Thatched Tavern Pub with timber-beamed ceilings, an open fire and a secluded garden, serving an English gastro menu. Cheapside Rd, Ascot SL5 7QG tel: 01344 620874
- The Belvedere Arms - Chic country pub with stripped floors, chunky tables, a central fireplace and a Modern British menu. London Rd, Ascot SL5 7SB tel: 01344 870931
How to get there
Windsor & Ascot are just 12 miles from London Heathrow Airport and easily accessible from London’s other airports.
The Royal Borough of Windsor is just 30 miles west of London with Heathrow Airport even closer, just 15 minutes away. Luton and Gatwick Airports are both within an hour's drive.
The whole of the Royal Borough is easily accessible via the major motorway networks of the M3, M4, M25 and M40.
There is a direct bus from London Victoria and two train stations connecting to London and the West Country.
Our Accommodation for this riding break is in Ascot, very close to the Park ride and the stables just outside Windsor – if travelling by public transport you will need to rely on taxis.
Trains to Ascot. The nearest train stations are either Ascot or Sunningdale Rail Station. There is a frequent service to the Ascot area from Reading and London Waterloo, with the average journey time totalling less than 30 minutes from Reading and approximately 45 minutes from London Waterloo.
Windsor is served by two train stations, Windsor and Eton Central and Windsor and Eton Riverside. Both are situated within a few minutes' walk of Windsor Castle and the town’s other attractions.
Great Western Railway operates services between London Paddington, Reading and Oxford, as well as destinations across South Wales and the West of England. Change trains at Slough to catch the branch line service to Windsor and Eton Central. The journey from London takes between 25 - 50 minutes depending on stopping patterns and connections.
South Western Railway operates direct services from London Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside station. The journey time from London is approximately 55 minutes.
Ascot Cars 01344 297297
Ascot Radio Taxis 07701 007196
Windsor Great Park
A small part of Queen Marys Dolls House
St Georges Chapel
The riverside at Runnymeade
The Punch Bowl at Savill Gardens
Changing of the Guards
One of the Latest Scenes at Legoland