Windsor Great Park, and Surrey Pubs

Posted on February 19, 2014

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I grew up near Windsor Great Park, a beautiful spot near the royal castle that has vast grounds.  We often went for weekend walks, sometimes with family picnics in the summer, or with sledges if we were lucky enough to get snow in winter. Changing into wellies in the car park, long, muddy walks have been a staple of family life, now with tables turned and the next generation of children in tow.

IMG_5139As a child I was a little nonchalant about the royal family, often seeing them walking or driving through. The Queen mother had a house there and  could be spotted with her Corgis, and it’s the home Polo ground for all the Princes – where I was once physically removed from the princes side by their bodyguards (I just wanted to get a good view and they were about the same size as me – it was an honest mistake in the yes of a nine year old). 

If you are visiting London and have a night or two spare to visit Windsor Castle is worth a stop, and the Great Park is a good introduction to the English countryside. Some of the highlights include:

  • The Deer Park and long walk from the Copper Horse to Windsor Castle
  • Virginia Water lake is a favourite at any time, except Sundays when half the county seems to be out doing the 4.5 mile circuit
  • Guards Polo Club (fixtures from April to September, check out Cartier in August)
  • In spring don’t miss Savill Garden (paid) and Valley Gardens (free)

And of course after a long walk, energy needs to be replaced. I have two favourite places to go for a good pub lunch at different gates of the park. Both produce good, fresh food – mostly traditional some times with a twist – at decent prices.

1. The Bailiwick offers lighter bites as well as solid pub food. I love their trio of beetroot salad. This gastro pub is child friendly, welcomes dogs in the bar area and has a water bowl outside

2. The Fox and Hounds goes one step further to having dogs in the bar… it has room to tether and water your horse outside, handy if you’re out for a hack. I am a big fan of their home made soups and crusty bread if you need something lighter than a full dinner.

For the runners amongst you the Windsor half marathon in September goes through the park. And now you know where to go to reward yourself 😉

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Posted in: Destinations, Europe, UK