Windsor is a place that deserves a whole weekend or even a week to really explore all of its famous places. On my visit, however, I only had two hours to do a whirlwind tour. I was standing outside Windsor Castle wondering how best to use my time when a castle guard approached me and asked if he could help. 'The Long Walk is the best thing. You will not regret it', he suggested. The following is The Long Walk, as specified by the friendly guard at Windsor Castle. It's perfect for the time-constrained traveller or really for any visitor that enjoys walking in nature.
From Windsor Castle (on Castle Hill) walk down either High Street or St Alban's Street to Windsor Parish Church. If you take St Alban's Street you will see the church on the right-hand side from the back. Walk through the churchyard and enter from the High Street entrance. The church doesn't take much time to visit, but it does have some features worth stopping for a few minutes, such as The Last Supper painting (a gift from George III), special stained glass tributes, and medieval stones. See Windsor Parish Church for more information.
Address: St John the Baptist, Windsor Parish Church, High St,
Turn left out of the church and walk to the bottom of the High Street until it connects with Park St, which very shortly terminates in Windsor Great Park. This is the real beginning of The Long Walk, which is the official name for the straight tree-lined path that joins Windsor Castle with Snow Hill. Walk through the iron gates and you will be treated to a view of Windsor Castle behind and the 4800 acre expanse of the Great Park in front.
The Long Walk (Windsor Castle in the distance). Photo by Erin Connelly
The entire length of the walk from the castle gate to the hill is 2.64 miles. For those not wishing to walk that distance, the path is crossed about halfway down by Albert Road (A308). If you turn right on Albert Road, it will take you through Old Windsor and back to the High Street starting point. From the High Street you have the option of walking further to Eton High Street, which crosses the River Thames and leads to Eton College, or many other attractions as time allows.
The great thing about The Long Walk is that it can be customised to suit the needs of every visitor. You can walk the whole distance, just enjoy a picnic in the park, or choose your own route to explore. As a side note, these directions refer to a very small area, which is easy to navigate and well sign-posted, even if it doesn't seem like it at first glance. If all else fails, the area between Windsor Castle, the Great Park, and Eton College is packed with guards, police, and friendly locals accustomed to visitors who can always point you in the right direction.