When visiting England on your travels a trip to royal Windsor can be a great day out. As well as the castle, take a tour of shops selling everything from antiques to lava lamps with its magnificent castle and links to the family of the same name, Windsor is a Mecca for tourists, but the pretty Berkshire town also has plenty to tempt shoppers and judging by the number of crests hanging over shop doorways, it’s clearly a favourite place for the royals to browse, too.
As well as the big high-street names, there are small specialist shops, quaint boutiques and, of course, souvenir shops. Easy to reach, with the M4, M25, M40 and M3 all dose by, Windsor also benefits from good rail links the journey from London takes about 30 minutes by train. If you’ve ever wondered how the royals live, you can get a glimpse of their lives through the centuries at Windsor Castle. Among the rooms to view are state apartments and a grand home in miniature inside Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. Here are some mind mapping ideas that should help you with your travels to this historic village.
Start at the station
Windsor’s compact size makes it easy to visit most of the shops in a single day. Even if you don’t arrive by train, the shopping centre at Windsor Royal Station is a great place to start your trip. For a wide range of contemporary accessories at reasonable prices, head for Dickens & Dolphin where wine racks and wonderful painted treasure-chest boxes are particularly good buys. Lava lamp lovers should visit Storm, while Azur stocks a great selection of pretty painted glass objects.
For unusual knick-knacks with a sense of history, visit Ancient Art, where prices start from as little as £5. There is also a branch of Crabtree & Evelyn, selling gourmet foods and home fragrances.
Once you’ve exhausted the shopping centre make your way to the High Street, opposite the Castle, which is where most of the larger stores are based. It’s a great hunting ground for tableware. The Token House stocks a wide selection of pottery, china and crystal. And as it’s one of the 60 or so shops in the town that has a royal warrant, you can also have fun trying to guess which pieces the Queen might have picked out!If you start your shopping early enough and get to the stores at around 11 am, you will be able to see the Queen’s soldiers parade past.
Next, head down to the recently pedestrianised Peascod Street, where you’ll find Daniel, the second of Windsor’s three department stores (the third is Fenwick in King Edward Court). Whittard China is also worth a look and there’s a branch of Laura Ashley Home nearby. Bargain hunters should make a beeline for Kitchen Kapers, which specialises in cooks treats leading brands such as Le Creuset can often be found at a discount here. For contemporary-style glassware and fragrant candles, check out Highdere, while nearby florist Martyn Crossley stocks a great selection of tableware and accessories, as well as topiary and candles.
For more unusual ideas head for St Leonard’s Road, a continuation of Peascod Street Fans of ethnic style will love the wonderfully named Chicken Bus, which sells Mexican, Indian and Moroccan craftwork, including tiled mirrors and brightly coloured throws, while the Dynasty Oriental Emporium stocks all things exotic, including ornaments, cooking equipment and Far Eastern potions.
Just off Peascod Street is King Edward Court, where you’ll find two branches of Days Gone By, both packed to the rafters with furniture bargains. Across the road, Art & Home sells bowls, frames and vases. There’s also a branch of Cargo Home shops, which is always a reliable place to find good-value furniture, tableware and cooking utensils. If you head for Book Fun, don’t expect to just stock up on fiction you’ll also find a great selection of brightly coloured home-related goods.
Places to eat
After all that shopping, you’ll need to refuel. Sally Lunn’s, on Peascod Street, and The Crooked House Tea Rooms, on Guildhall Island, are both good for traditional winter meals, while Cafe Blu, also on Peascod Street, and Cafe Rouge, at Windsor Royal Station, serve bistro-style food. And anyone with a sweet tooth shouldn’t leave without visiting The Fudge Kitchen on Thames Street.