There’s no need to go stir crazy between Christmas and New Year. Royal Windsor’s attractions are open for winter garden walks, a sneak peak at festive Windsor Castle, calorie burning on ice or a gallery’s cultural inspiration.
And while you’re out try a festive pint of local ale or lunch involving something other than turkey and sprouts.
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. It has been the family home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years.
You can pay a visit to see the State Apartments transformed with festive decorations. In the State Dining Room, a beautiful table of glittering silver-gilt from the Grand Service takes centre-stage and the spectacular six-metre Nordman Fir Christmas tree from Windsor Great Park dominates St George’s Hall. Closed 25th-26th Dec then open to 31st Dec, 10am – 4.15pm.
The Savill Garden
Blow away winter cobwebs and enjoy fantastic walks with vivid pockets of colour and scent around 35 acres of The Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park. It’s one of our favourite open spaces to visit.
One of Britain’s finest ornamental gardens includes The Queen Elizabeth Temperate House with seasonal interest and a relaxing spot for cold and wet days. Poinsettias provide festive cheer in the lead up to Christmas and hyacinths and scented narcissi fill the Temperate House with perfume through to January and February.
The national collection of Mahonias, sweet scent of witch hazel and intense perfume of the winter beds, challenge the conventional view that winter is a barren time. The Savill Garden closes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day only and is free to visit during December 2014, January and February 2015, open 10am – 4.30pm. (Normal car park charges apply).
Set high above the Thames with far-reaching views, Cliveden‘s gardens and woodlands capture the grandeur of a bygone age. Tackle the Cliveden Maze, 500m of paths and a re-creation of a maze designed and built for Lord Astor, the former owner of Cliveden, in 1894.
Or venture beyond the formal gardens to secluded glades, tree-lined avenues and picturesque riverside on the miles of woodland walks. The estate closes for Christmas Day but the gardens and woodlands are open again from 26th to 31st December, 10am – 4pm.
Windsor on Ice
Now in its fifth year at Alexandra Gardens, Windsor on Ice offers a nice family day out regardless of the weather. It’s a temporary ice rink with a covered main rink and an outside ice skating track so skaters can still enjoy the views. The Ice rink is open daily (except Christmas Day) until Sunday 4th January, and 45 minute sessions start from 10am and finish at 8pm.
Stanley Spencer Gallery
Dedicated to one of the most original British painters of his generation, the Stanley Spencer Gallery stands as a lasting memorial to the man who became synonymous with the village of Cookham; housing the world’s largest collection of his works in the former Methodist Chapel he attended as a child.
In 2011, a poll of 1,000 British painters and sculptors named Spencer as one of the top ten most influential British artists of all time and ArtFund recently named it as one of the top five unmissable small UK galleries. Open Thur – Sun (closed Christmas Day) from 11am – 4.30pm.
Get more info about Windsor and the Royal Borough at www.windsor.gov.uk.