Now, I’d been the ultimate eager beaver in the lead up to this experience! Since my dad grew up in Windsor, my childhood consisted of many weekend trips to the beautiful town, and it created many happy memories to look back on. Consequently, I was incredibly excited to return!
Windsor, well-known for being home to Windsor Castle, has attracted tourists for centuries due to its Royal inhabitants and medieval cobbled streets - but the town has so much more to offer than what you would first imagine! Read on to find out exactly what Gemma and I got up on our sightseeing bus tour.
Our day began with an early start to catch the train from Brighton to Windsor & Eton Riverside Station. This took us a pleasing travel time of just under 2 hours. As we approached the station’s exit, we were pleasantly surprised by a proudly stood pub called The Royal Windsor. The menu looked mouth-wateringly delicious, so Gemma and I immediately decided where lunch would be!
It was now time to set off to bus stop one for the tour to begin! Windsor Sightseeing Bus Tours take passengers around Windsor and its key medieval sights every 30 minutes for a full hour of fun, facts, and incredible views – get your camera ready! The hop on, hop off service generates day tickets valid for 24 hours meaning you can have a full day at your luxury, touring specific points and jumping back on board whenever it suits you!
We whipped out our ‘The Original Tour – Windsor’ map and commenced down the street towards Windsor Castle where the stop was located. The route can be a little confusing at first, but as long as you have the pub on your left and bear left up towards the Theatre Royal, then you’re on the right track!
Stop one is situated directly outside of Windsor Castle, and it’s a great spot for a photo. The Union Jack double decker buses were incredibly photogenic themselves and looked extremely British in front of Windsor Castle (see header image!). As the bus arrived, we pulled out our tickets to present to the driver, collected our free earplugs for the journey and eagerly walked up the stairs onto the top deck of the bus. As we chose our seats, we couldn’t resist taking a few photos of the beautiful castle - and unquestionably Gemma as well!!
Once we had popped in our earplugs (there are 11 languages available), the tour was set to commence! As we travelled down through the busy Windsor streets, you’re quick to realise just how large and varied the range of available shops is; from restaurants and souvenir shops to quirky vintage stores.
After you emerge from Windsor’s town centre, you’ll arrive in Datchet, a small Royal Windsor Borough village. The commentary is informative and extremely up-to-date giving in depth details on the history and particular buildings in the area. At this point, we’d met up with Kirsty, a member of The Original Tour, who was extremely helpful and very easy to talk to. Her passion and enthusiasm about the Windsor Bus Tour was great to hear, and being from the countryside herself, you could tell she felt right at home!
Next on the tour was Eton College. This was probably the stop I was most interested in learning more about due to its rich heritage and royal students (who doesn’t love a nose on the royals - especially Prince Harry!). The buildings are magnificent and much cleaner than first anticipated despite their long years of standing. We were able to see views of the main college archway, the halls, the library, and the lantern monument where students first meet their lecturers.
We decided to hop off the bus at this point to get a few close-up photos and enjoy a wander up Eton High Street up towards Eton Bridge. Arriving at Eton Bridge, you’re stunned by the beautiful view overlooking the River Thames, boat cruises and Windsor Castle.
Once back onboard the bus we began preparing for our next venture, ‘The Windsor Farm Shop’. Interesting fact - the Duke of Edinburgh came up with the business idea of selling goods from the Royal Estate back in 2001 to help local businesses in the area. How exciting is that? Eating the same food as the queen herself! The farm shop is very open plan with plenty on sale from chutneys and cakes to meats and dairy products. There’s also a small gardening and ornamental area, along with a coffee shop with indoor and outdoor seating. And yes, of course, we had to purchase a classic victoria sponge cake to take back to the office with us (would highly recommend, mmm!).
It was now onto the final stop of the day, ‘The Long Walk’. Debatably, the most iconic viewpoint of Windsor and where many royals have paraded down. Today, it was Gemma and I who took center stage and put on our best walk (get your best trainers out – its further than you think!). Located in Windsor Great Park, the Long Walk is great for family photographs, picnics, dog walks and of course to see the glorious copper horse statue.
We decided to continue walking along the path back towards the front of Windsor Castle where we were able to complete our tour and finish the day off with a wonderful steak sarnie!! A huge thank you to The Original Tour and Kirsty for meeting with us on the day, taking part in a partner interview and taking us round the fascinating sights!