For a family visit with a serious dose of history, Windsor rolls out the red carpet. Read on for Junior’s truly regal Windsor itinerary, including arriving in a puff of smoke on board a vintage train, having a Willy Wonker moment at a bespoke chocolate making class and painting the roses red in The Queen’s magnificent gardens. Royal waves at the ready!
6 Great Things to do with Children in Windsor
All Aboard the Royal Windsor Express Train by Steam Dreams
If you want to roll into Windsor in stately style, then there’s only one way to do it – on board a fantastically romantic vintage steam train! New for 2021, the London Victoria to Windsor route runs three times every Tuesday until mid September, and it’s an absolute joy for families.
Once on board, the beauty of the train’s restored 1950s Pullman dining carriageseasily rivals that of the passing scenery. With linin tablecloths and waiting staff ready to attend to your every need, it feels like stepping back into the golden era of travel. Sink back into the plush seats and with the toot of the train’s whistle, you’ll soon be chugging leisurely towards Windsor on this 90-minute Hogwarts Express style adventure.
Although it may look like the setting for a glamorous Agatha Christienovel, families with children are made to feel incredibly welcome by the attentive staff. And the dramatic clouds of billowing steam, light dusting of soot flying in through the window, plus the pit stop to top up the train’s water levels, are all sure to keep young train enthusiasts entertained!
The Royal Windsor Express might just have nabbed the crown for 2021’s most majestic family travel experience!
PRICING & HOW TO BOOK:
- There are three different carriage classes available, from standard with the option of either purchasing snacks on board or bringing along a picnic (adult £39, child £25, family of four £99) to first class, which includes complementary tea and coffee served on crisp white linin (adult £59, child £39).
- For a real treat, snap up tickets for the Pullman style dining cart, where you’ll be served eggs royal with champagne (juice for the children) or for the afternoon service there’s a traditional cream tea to devour (adult £89, child £69).
- Note that the Royal Windsor Express route is one way only from London to Windsor, so you’ll need to travel back on the normal train line, with adult tickets costing around £11 each.
- Book tickets here >> Royal Windsor Steam Express
A Royal Invitation to Visit Windsor Castle
First stop on your royal visit to Windsor should of course be Windsor Castle, which has been housing royalty for almost 1000 years and is still an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen. If you spot the Royal Standard flag flying, it’s a sign that the Queen is home, so everyone on their best behaviour, please!
New for 2021 is a display of the ‘pantomime pictures’, a collection of 16 paintings of fairy-tale characters, created during WW2 when The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) and her sister Princess Margaret performed pantomimes. There’s also a self-guided multimedia tour that leads you through the castle, spotting treasures such as Queen Mary’s dolls’ house, which is the largest in the world and includes flushing toilets, running water and electricity, no less.
Another recent addition is the opening of the East Terrace Garden, where weekend visitors can stroll around the large formal gardens. Windsor Castle has also organised activities for children throughout the summer in this stunning garden, including painting sessions, which are included in the standard entrance ticket price.
PRICING & HOW TO BOOK:
- Adults tickets are £23.50, children (aged 5-16) £13.50, family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £60.50, and under 5s free.
- Book tickets here >> Royal Collection Trust
Right on the doorstep of Windsor Castle is Dr Choc’s Windsor Chocolate Factory. As luck would have it, this quaint chocolate emporium ties in perfectly with Windsor’s regal heritage, as chocolate was once only available to royalty.
Dr Choc’s is a family run micro-factory, shop and cafe offering child-friendly chocolate-making workshops, where even toddlers can try their hand at crafting bespoke chocolate creations. The express class is ideal for younger children or the time-strapped. In the space of just 15 minutes, you’ll pour your chosen chocolate into mounds and decorate with scrumptious fillings, ready to take home as an edible memento of your Windsor visit.
Budding Willy Wonkers can take things to the next level with the mini chocolatier session, which lasts 30 minutes and alongside chocolate bars includes dipped caramelised fruits and truffles, plus a hot chocolate on a stick to take away. It’s a fun and quick activity for the whole family, and you’ll walk away with some melt-in-the-mouth delicious chocolate goodies.
PRICING & HOW TO BOOK:
- Express workshop £14.95 per person, mini chocolatier workshop £29.95 per person.
- Book tickets here >> Dr Chocs
Flying High at the Awesome New Mythica Land at Legoland Windsor
Legoland Windsor has long been a crowd pleaser for families, but their newly opened Mythica: World of Mythical Creatures land offers up the perfect excuse for a return visit. This hotly anticipated land, which has been designed in collaboration with children, is like stepping inside a seven-year-olds imagination; think flying lions, hungry trolls and giant unicorns made out of Lego bricks.
The highlight of Mythica has to be the freshly unveiled Flight of the Sky Lion ride, which boasts the title of the UK’s first flying theatre. Hold onto the edge of your seat as this augmented reality experience flies you through a paralleluniverse, swooping and ducking through fantastical landscapes. This seriously impressive ride is heavy on the wow factor and well worth waiting in line for (note that the minimum height is 1 metre to ride).
Elsewhere in the park, keep things monarchical with a visit to the Knight’s Kingdom land to soar through the sky on the dragon coaster, or take things down a notch with a relaxing submarine voyage through shark-infested waters on the Lego City Deep Sea Adventure.
The Duplo Valley area recently received a makeover, so there’s even more on offer for pre-schoolers. It’s worth investing in Legoland Windsor’s reserve and ride ticket upgrades, to swerve the queues and max out on the rides.
PRICING & HOW TO BOOK:
- Legoland Windsor tickets from £29, children under 90cm go free.
- Book tickets here >> Legoland Windsor
Take to the Water with the French Brothers River Cruise
Factor in a little downtime with a cruise along Windsor’s tranquil waterways. French Brothers boathouse is situated in the centre of Windsor; just a hop and a skip from Windsor Castle.
Tickets can be brought on the day from the promenade and don’t forget to buy a bag of bird feed before boarding to feed the glide of swans that flock around the boat. You’ll get beautiful, reflective views of the castle and cruise past Windsor Racecourse and Eton College. This is also a good all-weather activity for families as the boats are covered and depart come rain or shine.
PRICING & HOW TO BOOK :
- Adult tickets from £8.65, children (aged 3-13) from £5.80, under 3s free.
- Book tickets here >> French Brothers
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt in Eton
Those with a little more time to play with should meander across the bridge to explore neighbouring Eton. Stop by at the Eton Information Centre at the entrance to the High Street, where for £2.50 they’ll provide a map of a family walk taking in Herschel Observatory and the famed Eton College. Little legs might be better suited to the teddy bear hunt, spotting hidden bears in the shop windows lining Eton High Street.